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Boehner’s latest budget stunt shows his fiscal conservatism was always just words

WD
-The article was originally published at Rare.

On Friday, Politico described House Speaker John Boehner as having “defied conservatives” and “gone bold on [the] budget.”

And just what did the speaker do that was “fearless before danger,” “intrepid,” “showing or requiring a fearless, daring spirit?”

He pulled a legislative maneuver to pass the House Budget Committee resolution that will result in $20 billion being added to the federal debt, and is pushing for a “doc fix” that will add over $100 billion more.

Though the “doc fix” initiative is still being figured out, the dishonest budget maneuver worked:

After Boehner and other leaders huddled with Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) for an hour on Thursday morning, leadership went with another plan — move the resolution through the Budget panel first without the additional defense money, and then add the Pentagon funding back via the Rules Committee, before the proposal hits the House floor next week.

Disappointingly, reputed fiscal conservatives like Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, and Price stood by it:

Price was then able to pass the budget resolution through his panel with unanimous GOP support, and united Democratic opposition. The vote was 22-13.

While I would like to have sympathy for Boehner — politically, he’s in a tough spot — this latest stunt is just more evidence that claims to his fiscal conservatism are just words.

The House Budget Committee’s resolution doesn’t start reforming Medicare for years. It completely ignores Social Security reform, expands the Defense Department’s overseas slush fund, and is weak on tax reform, the elimination of corporate welfare, and other important areas of necessary change.

It’s also problematic that Price, who has a fiscally conservative reputation and voting record, let this sort of thing happen in his committee.

I have some pity for the speaker; I sure wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. He’s a moderate who has to deal with a variety of political realities, including the likelihood that Senate Democrats will gum up the budget process (as they did from 2010 to 2014), House military hawks who seem to think throwing money at the Department of Defense is responsible governance, and a media that can’t wait to declare that Republicans can’t govern.

Alas, none of that justifies Boehner’s transparent willingness to throw proper governance and fiscal sanity out the window. Rather than take up substantive budget cuts and reforms, he pulled a bait-and-switch.

Perhaps worst of all, by voting for the resolution, conservatives on the Budget Committee gave Boehner their explicit support for this oddly transparent sleight-of-hand. Which indicates more problems may be on the horizon.

Dick Durbin Built A Wall For Estrada And Gonzales, Shoved Condi Rice To The Back Of The Bus

WD
-The article was originally published at The Daily Caller.

Ah, politics. Such a lovely game of egos, manipulation of facts, and dishonesty.

Remember when the Senate fought and successfully stopped the president’s judicial nominee over his ethnicity? They didn’t claim racism, of course — instead, a memo said they merely opposed his nomination because being Hispanic would give the president and his party electoral and judicial advantage.

But we all know the reason. Ethnicism and racism were clearly the motives.

That was back in 2001, when Senator Dick Durbin and other Democrats stopped Miguel Estrada from becoming a judge. They feared his possible nomination to the Supreme Court, as well as the public image of a Republican nominating a Hispanic.

That’s not the only time when a minority nominee of Bush’s was vociferously opposed by Durbin, however. There was also the time Durbin opposed the nomination of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State, and he was a key figure in opposing Bush’s Hispanic nominee for Attorney General — Alberto Gonzales.

I would never argue, of course, that Senator Durbin was being racist in his opposition. That would be presumptuous mind-reading, as well as an uncharitable assessment of why a Democrat might have legitimate political, philosophical, and policy reasons to oppose the nominee of a president of the other party.

But in light of Durbin’s recent comments about Republicans allegedly forcing President Obama’s Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch, “to sit in the back of the bus,” it is only logical to assume that Durbin’s view on race has changed dramatically in just one presidential administration.

Or maybe he was just playing politics then, and is playing politics now. Which is almost certainly the case — and also why the media should have never reported his comments about Lynch.

After all, what educational or government watchdog value does reporting Durbin’s comments bring? All it does is provide more evidence that mainstream media is just another arm of the Democratic National Committee, dedicated to the defeat of Republicans.

Is Durbin actually racist? The answer is almost certainly “no.” But his transparent, cynical political ploy should have been completely ignored by the media, rather than given credibility that can only cause harm.

This is especially the case given that it is Durbin and his fellow Democrats who are holding up the trafficking bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said will have to pass before Lynch’s nomination can be complete.

Note: Durbin’s office did not respond to my multiple requests for comment about his quickly changing positions on minority nominees. Given his record of shoving black Republicans to the back of the bus, and building political border walls for Hispanic Republicans, I can understand why.