Mike Huckabee issued the following message to his followers by email this week regarding the current budget deal on Capitol Hill.
Friday, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama gave new meaning to the term "11th Hour Deal," when they struck a budget deal to keep the government open just before the midnight deadline. Most people are relieved that there won't be a shutdown, and happy that Congress is finally starting to rein in spending. But as always, there are some on both sides who are furious that they didn't get everything they wanted.
Dr. Vester Wolber, one of my professors at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, used to say to us, "Don't use all your water on too small a fire." It's a lesson I've never forgotten, especially during almost 11 years of being a governor and about 20 years in politics and government. I watched closely the debate over the temporary budget deal, and urged the Republicans to declare victory and be the heroes for keeping paychecks going to military families and the national parks open for little kids on spring break.
My website, Facebook page, and blogs lit up with angry people who said I supported a retreat. That's not true. I just supported taking "yes" for an answer. The Democrats originally wanted NO cuts and then finally put $6 billion on the table as their final offer. The Speaker first put up $32 billion, later moved that up to $61 billion, but ended up with $38.5 billion. To get more than you first asked for, and over six times more than your opponent's final offer - sorry, but that seems a victory to me. But not to those who wanted all or nothing.
Here's a dose of reality: The Democrats control 2 of the 3 moving parts of this deal---the Senate and the White House; the Republicans only control the House. They were never going to get everything they wanted, and this temporary funding bill wasn't really about issues like Planned Parenthood. Cutting $38.5 billion is a victory for the Republicans.
Reframing the entire debate away from "how much more can we spend" to "how much more can we cut" is a victory. There are much bigger battles just ahead over raising the debt ceiling and passing the Ryan plan that cuts not just billions but trillions.
And instead of arguing for more stimulus spending, President Obama will address the nation Wednesday to outline his own deficit reduction plan. That sea change IS a victory for the budget cutters...whether they recognize it or not.
P.S. Punditry and politicking are easy. Governing is hard. In governing, you only get everything you want if you control everything there is. Until Republicans have the White House and a filibuster proof Senate majority, instead of complaining, they should thank Speaker Boehner for his skillful leadership.