Obama's divide the GOP and conquer strategy
By Rachel Alexander
Obama has figured out how to force his left wing agenda through even though he was reelected with a divided country. He cherry picks issues which divide the Republican Party. The Republican Party ends up fighting within itself, diverting the public's attention to its chaos rather than Obama's agenda. The Republican Party is left looking unprincipled, confused and hypocritical.
Look at the most recent high-profile political battles. With the help of the complicit liberal media, Obama made extending the payroll tax cut to avoid the "fiscal cliff" one of the biggest issues. It is not a clear-cut Republican versus Democrat issue, because while Republicans are generally in favor of lower taxes, government spending is out of control. Every time the extension has come up for a vote, Republicans are split. If they vote to extend it, they look fiscally irresponsible. If they vote to end it, they look like they support a tax increase. Either way they will be skewered by both the left and the right for deserting their principles, and Obama skates away free to pursue his agenda with little scrutiny. The Democrats escape scrutiny on the payroll tax cut extension votes because they don't claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility or friend of the taxpayers. They merely claim to stand for murky concepts like "caring about Americans."
Republicans attempted to add deep spending cuts and a requirement to pass a budget to the bill, in order to get something they would never be able to get passed otherwise. The most recent bill to increase the debt ceiling limit included a provision that would freeze the salaries of members of Congress until they passed a budget. The Senate has not passed a budget since 2009, forcing Congress to pass temporary resolutions every six months. Called No Budget, No Pay, it divided the GOP. 199 Republicans voted for it, and 33 voted against it. Slightly more Democrats voted against it than for it, objecting to the No Pay provision as a "budget gimmick."
There was virtually no criticism of the Democrats by the liberal media for opposing this common sense corrective provision. Instead, the media portrayed the legislation in the worst possible light for Republicans. Rather than characterizing it as a "forced budget" bill, the media focused instead on the part that makes Republicans look bad, increasing debt spending, calling it a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
The Republicans' "budget gimmick" appears to have worked, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said the Senate will pass the No Budget, No Pay bill and finally settle on a real budget. Don't expect the liberal media to identify this as a significant victory for Republicans. Nor will the liberal media remind anyone that this isn't the first time Republicans achieved a victory over the Democrats by forcing a stand down vote. Republicans forced President Clinton into signing a balanced budget amendment to curtail spending by following through on a threat to shutdown the government in 1995-96.
A real budget is going to require deep spending cuts. It is easy to predict how Obama will use the budget bill to divide the GOP. He will find an area to cut that conservatives do not want to cut, like the defense budget, and make that the most important issue. Obama's plan is to put conservatives in a catch-22 and make those who oppose the budget look like big spenders, and those who support the budget look like they don't care about our military.
Instead of falling into his trap, conservatives have a way out. The Pentagon has a history of wasteful spending. Conservatives should figure out how to cut some of the Pentagon's budget as well as foreign aid, which studies have shown too often finds its way into the pockets of dictators and does little to improve the economies of poor countries. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) exposes wasteful spending each year in his annual government waste reports. He should take the lead on negotiating spending cuts for the budget bill. This will help shift the focus back to where it belongs, on the Democrats who want to continue wasting our money on outrageous pork projects like the Alabama Watermelon Queen Tour, advertising for caviar, and a robotic squirrel.
Republicans need to go on the offensive and quit letting Obama dictate which issues receive the most attention and how they are characterized. Instead of "fiscal cliff" and "raising the debt ceiling," Republicans need to use language like "going bankrupt" and "financial ruin." Why not turn the tables on the Democrats and use their own emotional rhetoric against them? If deep spending cuts aren't made, we won't be able to pay teachers and law enforcement.
Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. Rachel practices law and social media political consulting in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, and other publications.