Raise your hand if you are sick of the “Fiscal Cliff”. Okay, let me count … 1 …. 2 … OK, there are a lot of you. I guess that I shouldn’t write about the Fiscal Cliff then. You’re back at work on 2 January like I am and we have a lot of stuff to do, right?
So, how about that House vote that … no, wait, I mean how about them Vikings, get to play the Packers at Lambeau! AP is just on fire, I’ll bet they have a chance. Anything to blur away the early hours of the first day back into the swing of things and avoid talking about Congress (the logical antonym of “progress”).
Sorry, folks. I have to. The House vote has not yet taken place as I write this, but the story is probably already written. We waited all day for this to com e to a vote because it could not be voted on until it was sure it would pass. Negotiations went on all day amounted to a lot of nothing in the end. Or did they? Something is up, I am sure. Let’s think this through.
First of all, we have only delayed “sequestration” for two months. The debt ceiling has also been reached, meaning that this will also have to be voted on very shortly by the new Congress. The “deal” that has taken so long is mostly a punt, to go back to football talk. When you can’t score it’s the only wise thing to do. This is more or less what any of us expected.
But this is a new year, and a new Congress is starting up the day after tomorrow. Something is up, and I’m sure it’s not a pretty thing.
There were no real winners through all of this, and only one sure loser. That’s Speaker Boehner, the man who simply cannot deliver his own caucus. I have a feeling that Eric Cantor is either going to make a play for the Speakership or, more likely, increase his power in the #2 slot that he occupies now. The number of Republicans who vote against this package in a few hours will tell us how powerful he is.
The House Republicans are in disarray as far as anyone can tell, but Democrats should not take any glee in this. They still hold power and can at the very least muck things up. Any kind of insurgency, especially if it never tries for real power, is an instrument of chaos. Now that we know that tax increases are definitely part of our future as we move towards something like a more balanced budget the House Republicans who are against them in any form are battling against the system itself. They have nothing to lose.
What’s more traditional at the start of the year than this nonsense are predictions. Here is my prediction for the next year – Congress will only become more chaotic, obstructionist, and horrible. This fight is far from over in many, many ways.
Where it gets interesting is how the Republican Party itself responds. That is a bit harder to predict, but I expect the House to be more isolated somehow. Whether or not that leads to the ultimate heresy, bipartisanship, is something that only a fool would predict. But this ain’t over by any shot.
Have a good 2013, everyone! More predictions will come later. First we have to see how the big game turns out. Not the vote in the House or even a potential challenge to Boehner – I’m talking about the Vikings again. That’s much more interesting.