UnNews:Obama dashes Republican hopes, takes oath of office
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20 January 2013
Republicans, who declared last week that they will let the federal debt ceiling rise to cover another four months in hock, and helped pass a hurricane relief bill full of the pork-barrel spending they spent last year campaigning against, seem to have pinned all their hopes on the chance that Mr. Obama would decide he didn't want another four years. Speaker John Boehner, who would become President if both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden just got tired of the job, used a bugle to call off the fight on the debt ceiling, the only issue on which Mr. Obama needs Republican votes. "We'll stand and fight on that hill back there," Mr. Boehner said, as Republicans will somehow acquire beliefs and become persuasive and united...in May. The very term "strategic retreat," favored by analysts like Larry Kudlow, hints that Republicans do have a strategy, somewhere.
Network polls show that, if the Republicans passed a bill and Mr. Obama vetoed it, Americans would blame the Republicans by a margin of 3 to 1. Even those Americans without monthly Permanent Disability checks and free Obama-phones would support the President. Most of these believe that, if Mr. Obama grabbed Mr. Boehner by the lapels, it would be Mr. Boehner's fault for wearing wrinkled clothing. Thus Republicans have adopted a low profile, such as guiding the recent tax bill to go easy on small business, but simultaneously claiming to have "no fingerprints" on it, except the fingerprints of the 50% of Republicans who voted for it. Mr. Kudlow wants Republicans to insist on spending cuts, "and no gimmicks," except a new "chained" index of inflation that reflects the fact that, when the price of toilet paper doubles, Americans can effortlessly switch to newsprint.
The Republican stance was shown most clearly in the Party's reaction to Mr. Obama's attempt to impose new taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," triggered not by being either, but by just earning $200,000. Mr. Boehner himself offered the brilliant strategem, "$400,000 and it's a deal!" Reportedly, the GOP will carry the day in 2014 with the inspiring slogan adapted from Animal Farm, "Two hundred grand bad, four hundred grand good."
One flash point remains this winter. The previous Congress wrote a Final Solution to the deficit, a Super-committee of six vain Democrats and six vain Republicans to decide everything. The bill, in the totally unexpected case of a 6-6 tie vote, called for the budget to increase by mere shovel-fuls for a decade, rather than the wheelbarrow-fuls previously planned; half taken from Welfare and half taken from Defense. This brilliant Republican strategem had only one flaw: Who knew that the ones who would howl the loudest would be Republicans?
In separate news, Mr. Biden made it all the way through his own oath of office without tripping, swearing, or asking a paraplegic to stand up. The oath was administered by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is female and a self-described Wise Latina, with Jeopardy! voice-over artist Don Pardo introducing her by saying, "First time in that category." Justice Sotomayor did Mr. Biden the favor of abbreviating the oath for him to repeat, as she had to get to New York City to autograph books.