If you want a sense of how far right the Republican base is right now, even with the GOP’s huge victory on the debt ceiling, look no further than the Republican presidential candidates and their statements on the agreement reached last night.
For erstwhile moderate Mitt Romney, the deal is a non-starter:
As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced – not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute. While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.
Tim Pawlenty is similarly sober:
This deal is nothing to celebrate. Only in Washington would the political class think it’s a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot be sustained by our children and grandchildren. While no further evidence was needed, this entire debt ceiling fiasco demonstrates that President Obama must be replaced.
Michele Bachmann takes a different approach, and invokes the “American people” with her opposition:
“Mr. President, I’m not sure what voice you’re listening to, but I can assure you that the voice of the American people wasn’t the ‘voice that compelled Washington to act.’ It was you that got us into this mess, and it was you who wanted a $2.4 trillion dollar blank check to get you through the election.”
The only candidate to come out in support of the deal is Jon Huntsman, and he has minimal support among the Republican rank and file. The rest have denounced the agreement, despite the almost $2.5 trillion in spending cuts.
This is the tide Democrats are struggling against, and given that, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which stronger negotiation skills on the part of the president would have made a large difference.
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