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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

The Great Divide

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Interesting that the Tea Party is getting the blame for the looming gridlock but as of last night every Democrat in both the House and Senate is on record opposed to the debt plan advanced by Speaker Boehner. Obama has no plan at all.  Charles Krauthammer makes one final case for the Boehner plan. 


I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House.

Lincoln is reputed to have said: I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. I don’t know whether conservatives have God on their side (I keep getting sent to His voicemail), but I do know that they don’t have Kentucky — they don’t have the Senate, they don’t have the White House. And under our constitutional system, you cannot govern from one house alone. Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.

Given this reality, trying to force the issue — trying to turn a blocking minority into a governing authority — is not just counter-constitutional in spirit but self-destructive in practice.


​And for good measure, Bill Kristol poses a good question.


Can the pro-Obama right explain how defeat for Boehner on the House floor would redound to conservatives' benefit, to their ability to do more and to go further?

They can't. Read their statements (here, here, and here). They don’t even pretend to explain how defeating Boehner would produce a better policy or political result for conservatives—in the near or medium or long term. Because they can’t explain how defeat will produce victory. Defeat will produce ... defeat. There is no path to a better conservative outcome that follows from Boehner going down on the House floor this week.

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