This morning on c-span’s Washington Journal, for the first segment they were asking for opinions only from republicans about the House approving the clean debt bill.
The calls from the Republican base were angry and completely misinformed. It’s clear that the Republican campaign against raising the debt ceiling since they took control of the House in 2010 has served only to confuse their own base about what the debt ceiling actually is.
For example, one Republican from Tennessee called proposing that the debt ceiling be cut in half. That would result in a zero deficit, according to the caller, in 34 years. Besides not having any mathematical foundation for this proposal, it shows that he does not understand what the debt ceiling is.
Cutting the debt ceiling in half as he proffered would only mean that the U.S. pays half of the bills that have already been accrued. The debt ceiling doesn't determine how much money the nation will spend in the future. It is the authorization required from the House of Representatives to pay the debts that the country already owes.
It is a political move on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner of Ohio, but it is also the right thing to do. Boehner and Republicans in general suffered enormous backlash last year from the nation as a whole after the Republicans forced a government shut down over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The law went forward and the Republicans in the House appropriately received the blame for causing the shut down. Their last stand did nothing to forward their objective of stopping the law and worse, resulted in worse than ever poll numbers for an already historically unpopular Congress.
By avoiding another debt ceiling fight, Boehner has spared the GOP another national backlash. Instead, their base has reacted in an all out campaign to end John Boehner’s speakership. Several callers said that they no longer want to belong to the Republican Party because of this vote.
When the c-span moderator asked one caller who said Boehner should be kicked out of his speakership, who should replace Boehner, the caller responded by saying that Michelle Bachman should replace Boehner. The moderator interrupted him to inform him that Bachman is retiring from Congress this year. The caller asked quizzically, “Is she?” When asked again whom else should replace Boehner, the caller suggested “a Black Republican.”
Those are the people who constantly complain about government and how useless it is. But good government begins with an informed electorate. It’s not good enough to just vote, though that is the other pillar; participation. Voters must also be informed.
This is not North Korea. There is not some nameless faceless government over which Americans have no control. The people elect the government every two to four years. If voters continually vote for people as reckless as Senator Ted Cruz who says, credit be damned, the republic be damned, let’s all drink the poison together, then Americans will continue to have a government that can’t tie its own shoes.
Many Republican callers lauded Ted Cruz as a hero. Now that he’s vowed to undercut the responsible House vote by requiring a 60 vote threshold in the Senate to pass the debt ceiling bill, the base will continue to sing his praises for “standing up to Obama,” consequences be damned…until they start to see the consequences like they did last November.