Morning Briefing: January 2nd, 2013


By Steve Deace

Sometimes after a long vacation you worry it will take you a while to get your groove back upon returning. Luckily (or tragically), Republicans disappointing us and selling us out has become a constant, so we can pick right up where we left off.

The latest example is the New Year’s Eve vote (89-8) in favor of the fiscal cliff compromise engineered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden (which is more evidence of how entirely ineffective Harry Reid is). All but five of the Republicans from this lame duck session voted for it: Marco Rubio (FL), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Richard Shelby (AL), and Charles Grassley (IA).

According to the Club for Growth scorecard, Lee and Paul have a 100% lifetime rating for fiscal conservatism while Rubio is at 97% so they’re stalwarts by the organization’s standard. Shelby and Grassley are only at 77%, which is essentially average for a Republican. But that also means several Republicans who have at least a 94% lifetime score from Club for Growth voted for the McConnell-Biden fiscal cliff compromise the organization is currently urging House members to vote against.

Those Republicans include Ron Johnson (WI), Tom Coburn (OK), James Inhofe (OK), Kelly Ayotte (NH), Pat Toomey (PA), Dan Coats (IN), and Jon Kyl (AZ).

Toomey, in particular, is an interesting case because he’s been outspoken the past two presidential primary cycles against the candidacies of social conservatives Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, claiming each was not strong enough for small government. So should either run again in 2016 and Toomey re-emerge to sanctimoniously lecture conservatives about their candidacies, perhaps we should remind him of this terrible vote and just ignore him henceforth.

Regardless, Red State says Toomey, Johnson, and Coburn “should be ashamed” for their vote in favor of the McConnell-Biden fiscal cliff compromise bill.

Exactly what should Toomey, Coburn, Johnson, and the rest of their peers be ashamed of? To wit:

  • A violation of their pledge not to raise taxes. The at least $600 billion tax increase would be the biggest in at least 20 years.
  • The tax increases include an income tax increase on those making more than $400,000/year, a payroll tax increase on all Americans, and an increase in the  “death tax.”
  • Taxes that discourage wealth creation like dividend taxes and capital gains taxes would also be higher in 2013 than they were in 2012. The very sort of taxes the economy needs the least of right now.
  • A violation of their 2011 pledge to cut spending.  The McConnell-Biden compromise spends $41 more for every $1 in revenue it brings in. By comparison, President Reagan agreed to raising taxes by $1 for every $3 in spending cuts, and President H.W. Bush agreed to raise taxes by $1 for every $2 in spending cuts. The agreed-upon spending cuts never occurred in either case, by the way, in case you were wondering.
  • A violation of the “Budget Control Act” passed last year, which mandated at least $1.2 trillion in cuts. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says this bill will actually add at least $4 trillion to the $16.4 trillion and counting national debt.


These are just some of the reasons why many top conservative groups oppose the McConnell-Biden fiscal cliff compromise. This bill actually has fewer spending cuts than John Boehner’s “Plan B” rejected by the GOP-controlled House before Christmas. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled House passed it anyway on Tuesday night with 85 Republicans voting to violate their word. Among them was so-called emerging conservative superstar Paul Ryan, who after previously voting to raise the debt limit and abandoning his pro-life conviction to back-up Mitt Romney last year is really just another GOP establishment “yes man.” Ryan has yet to stand up to the party on anything. Remember that if he tries knocking on your door come 2016.

We’re used to getting sold out by Republicans like John McCain, Orrin Hatch, and Lindsey Graham. But when the likes of Toomey, Coburn, and Johnson join the Democrat dog-pile on the Constitution and our children and grandchildren’s future prosperity for this dog with fleas bill, you realize just how little these men got in exchange for selling their legacies and violating their pledges and sworn oaths of office.

Esau would be proud.

(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow)