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The Two Big Battles

Monday, February 21, 2011  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new Washington Examiner column reviews the stakes in the two big domestic battles underway in Madison and in D.C.

Scott Walker doesn’t look the type who is for turning and he realizes he will never be stronger than right now. But that isn’t true of all the GOP state senators, and if more than one or two crumble, the governor’s task becomes much more difficult. It took just three Republicans in the United States Senate to inflict the stimulus on the country, and probably just as few in Wisconsin to throw away a crucial moment.

Rather than backpeddling, the legislators should be looking at the idea forwarded to me and put into my column: If teachers stay away, their students should instantly become eligible for vouchers.

The Beltway Republicans are hard to predict, and they certainly do not have a communications strategy in place, apparently for fear of being charged with shutting down the government.

They would not be, of course, shutting down a government. The House has passed a new funding resolution, one that barely scratches overall federal spending, but which the president and Democratic senators can turn into Waterloo if they want. If they do so, they will be shutting down the government, and as we are seeing in Wisconsin, the taxpaying public –the makers, not the takers– have had it with being blackmailed by special interests.

The political class is now busy debating —see the New York Times this morning— whether the GOP is “overreaching,” another display of epic cluelessness about the situation in a country with near double-digit unemployment and where some regions are facing double-the-national-average in joblessness.

The key difference between 1995 and 2011 is that people know we are broker and they know the special interests are asking for us to borrow billions and billions more so they don’t have to experience the austerity the rest of the country has already endured three years. The Republicans are doing the right things –the things they campaigned on– in D.C. and across the new House CR. If they don’t defend them now, when will they ever do so?

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