Valentine: Republicans need to find better leader

Friday, April 15, 2011

Well, I hate to say 'I told you so' but the Republicans, predictably, caved in the budget standoff. They ran in November claiming to trim $100 billion from this year's budget if we'd just put them back in charge. That was hardly a dent in the deficit but it was a far cry from the out of control spending we were getting from Pelosi and the gang. They first compromised down to $60 billion and the final deal ended up at around $39 billion.

Paper cuts.

It certainly beats an increase but this is not what we signed up for. To put it in perspective, the federal deficit for March alone was $189 billion.

When I tried to warn people after the November election that John Boehner was not the right guy for the speaker's job I got all sorts of calls and e-mails from people saying I was not a true conservative. It's Boehner who's not the true conservative.

Let's walk through what should have happened.

The Republicans are in charge for one simple reason. The American people put them in charge to make dramatic cuts to the budget in order to eliminate deficit spending and start paying down the debt. If you're Speaker of the House that's all you need to know.

What do you do? You balance the budget. The American people don't really care how. They just want it done. You first go back to a year when you were spending about what you're now bringing in. That would be 2006. In 2006 we spent about $2.6 trillion. In 2012 we're estimated to bring in about $2.6 trillion. You go back to 2006 spending and the budget is balanced instantly.

Now, I know it's not that easy but that's the starting point. That means $1.2 trillion in cuts this year, not $100 billion. We're a trillion-and-a-half in deficit this year alone. We don't have time to mess around with $100 billion in cuts. And all we got was $39 billion.

Paper cuts.

Don't misunderstand. My dissatisfaction with the Republicans is with the GOP leadership. There's no way we turn the House back over to Pelosi. Good grief, you think things are bad now. No, what we need are people who truly understand the problem we're facing and are bold enough to tackle that problem.

I nominate Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as the next Speaker of the House. Unlike Boehner, King is actually a tea party guy. Boehner talks about the tea party as "them" and "those people" and "I like the tea party." How about "I AM the tea party?" It's not some secret society you have to join and wait for the decoder ring in the mail. It's a movement. Either you're part of the movement or you continue to be part of the problem.

I'm not saying that you have to attend tea party rallies. It's a basic belief that government is too big and spends too much. That we need to get back to the founding principles that made this country great. That we, as a country, are on a path to financial ruin if we don't change course. It's time to start making the hard choices, put Americans back to work and cut the budget.

That's all there is to it. Many elected officials like Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn have embraced the tea party movement. Boehner seems to be pulling back the velvet curtains of the Speaker's office and looking down upon them with grave concern.

If you're a true deficit hawk then there's nothing to be concerned about.

Phil Valentine is an author and syndicated radio talk show host. His website is