Opinion

David Rohde

The sanity caucus

David Rohde
Oct 17, 2013 21:39 UTC

Our government has failed us — again. Given the debacle over the last 16 days, it’s hard to praise anyone in Washington. Or anything.

The shutdown cost the United States $24 billion, according to Standard and Poor’s. Consumer confidence dropped by the largest amount since the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. Our partisanship is undermining our international standing and slowing our economy.

Worst of all, it starts again in January. Unbowed by poll numbers that show their unpopularity, hard-line Tea Party conservatives are vowing to fight on.

“If the American people continue to rise up,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) declared in the Senate Wednesday after the deal was announced to avoid default and reopen the government. “We’re going to stop the number one job killer in this country that is Obamacare.”

We need to applaud the Republicans who stood up to Cruz this week: the so-called “sanity caucus.” A civil war is underway in the Republican Party. Democrats can vilify Cruz and the Tea Party all they want, but it is only fellow conservatives who can undermine their legitimacy in crimson states and congressional districts.

A new Paul Ryan?

David Rohde
Oct 11, 2013 21:22 UTC

This week, Representative Paul D. Ryan (R-Wi.) may have made himself a leading Republican presidential contender in 2016. By proposing an end to the budget impasse that did not include one word — Obamacare — Ryan may have outmaneuvered Senators Rand Paul (R- Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R- Texas).

Multiple proposals are under consideration in Washington. If Ryan’s plan becomes the basis for a bipartisan budget agreement, it will boost his standing and be a body blow to the Tea Party.

Ryan is clearly trying to position himself as a fiscal conservative who is serious about addressing the country’s deficit problem — without destroying the U.S. economy in the process. He is trying to win the support of the moderate Republicans and mainstream business leaders increasingly exasperated by the Tea Party’s flirtation with default.

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