Over the last few days, the Flash Report has been critical of Republican Asm. Brian Nestande and former Republican-turned Independent Asm. Nathan Fletcher for their votes to raise taxes (or fund middle-class scholarships, depending on how you look at it). FR Publisher Jon Fleischman was among the first to point out that Nestande’s vote contradicted his position as Chairman of the Assembly Republican Caucus.
The Sacramento Bee’s Dan Morain explained that Nestande and Fletcher may have supported the bill in order to achieve CEQA reforms. Former Assemblyman Ray Haynes writes in a thoughtful piece on today’s main page why Republicans should be wary of trading votes. He argues that the GOP must be pro-free enterprise, not pro-business.
Fine. Leaders should represent their party philosophy. But, parties should be consistent in their application of the purity test. That’s why Speaker of the House John Boehner should resign his leadership post. On Wednesday, he attacked the majority of his caucus for their votes against TARP.
VAN SUSTEREN, FOX News: People think of him as hawkish on the budget, on expenses, but he voted for TARP. He voted for the auto bailout, voted for two stimulus in ’08, voted against the ’09 — February ’09 President Obama stimulus. How does — I mean, how does he explain those, or I mean, how does — politically, how does he sell that?
BOEHNER: I mean, I think that he’s a practical conservative. He’s got a very conservative voting record, but he’s not a knuckle-dragger, all right? He understood that TARP, while none of us wanted to do it, if we were going to save — save our economy, save the world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn’t have to do it, either, but he understood that. (H/T: Real Clear Politics)
To clarify, Boehner’s deputy chief of staff said what the Speaker really meant to say:
Whether you supported or opposed TARP, we all can agree the crony capitalist philosophy of forcing responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior – perpetuated and perfected under President Obama – has wrecked our economy, and has to end. (H/T: American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer)
Boehner orchestrated TARP, the biggest welfare check in American history. Boehner voted for and coerced other GOP members of Congress to vote for “the crony capitalist philosophy of forcing responsible taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible behavior.” It wasn’t perpetuated and perfected under President Obama. It was perpetuated and perfected under President George W. Bush and Rep. John Boehner.
If Nestande was forced to step down after one tax code change, why does John Boehner get to remain as Speaker? And while we’re at it, why does Rep. Paul Ryan get a pass on his TARP & auto bailout votes?
“Because we’re not going to fuck up defeating Obama by hammering Mitt’s veep,” is how one GOP leader explained it to me.
Republicans are energized. Republicans just want to win. Consequently, Republicans refuse to acknowledge the major faults of the GOP ticket and current congressional leadership. President Obama’s defeat looks possible. But, Obama losing isn’t the same thing as winning. For all his faults, Obama didn’t draft TARP. Obama didn’t author the auto bailouts. Obama wasn’t even the first to come up with a government health insurance mandate.
Why do Republicans hope that when Obama loses these policies will change?