Well, that was unsatisfying. The President gets his tax increase "on the rich", the Bush tax rates--derided for a decade by Democrats--are confirmed for over 98% of the public without so much as a "thank you" to the Republicans who made that happen, and the "fiscal cliff" does nary a thing about runaway spending or entitlement reform. I was disappointed to see Paul Ryan vote for the measure, but happy to see Marco Rubio vote against it. I have a feeling this fact will come up again someday.
The GOP is in disarray, there is no doubt about it. I am mad as hell at the Tea Party faction for their tactical near-sightedness, scuttling Plan B (only to get a much worse deal in the end). I am however, left with the sense that the Tea Party positions on government spending and taxes are where the Republican Party needs to go. These positions are the reason Republicans gained the majority in the first place, and in the long run, they are electoral winners.
Don't misunderstand me, friends. I know Barack Obama won the election. He did not however, win the election because of a preference for anti-Tea Party ideas. He won the election because he cobbled together a meticulously planned electoral majority that capitalized on many issues, not the least of which were social issues that do not work to the favor of Republicans.
The Tea Party came to ascendance advocating for smaller government, constitutionalism, and the restraint of spending. What I admired most about them was the relative silence on abortion and gay rights. They realized that both of these questions were incidental to the great problem of our age, which is debt. Republicans went awry in the last election not by adhering to Tea Party ideology, but by deviating from it and swimming out into the cesspool of social issues.
Republicans must be seen as the Party of making bad government smaller and good government better. Republicans must be seen as the Party of Growth, the Party of Business (not the Party of Finance), and the Party of Success---putting forward a positive message of real opportunity.
I believe John Boehner is damaged goods, and he needs to go. Even though he cast an unwise vote on this deal, Paul Ryan should be the new Speaker of the House. Obama owned Boehner in this negotiation, and Obama played the press better than Boehner. The House GOP needs new and better leadership.