Yesterday, Allen West gave John Boehner's plan the Tea Party cred it badly needed. Now movement conservative hero Fred Thompson, who has bucked the Republican establishment before, has a message for the House Republicans: "[A]ccept a well-won victory and move on."
A number of House conservatives oppose John Boehner's plan. And this morning Jim Jordan, an opponent of the Boehner plan and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters that "I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan." But voices like Thompson and West diminish the chances of a full-blown insurrection on the right over Boehner's plan.
Thompson argues in an open letter to the GOP posted on National Review Online that Republicans have accomplished about all they could have realistically hoped for in the debt ceiling negotiations. "I respectfully suggest that you rake in your chips, stuff them in your pockets, and tell the dealer to deal the next hand," Thompson writes. "'Is this the best deal we could have obtained?' you might ask. I suggest that you don’t run the risk of finding out." He goes on:
Yes, it’s true that the White House is using overwrought and misleading implications, and we’re still a long way from default. But do you really want to spend the next several months going on record as to which discretionary-spending programs (including the military) the administration should cut as much as 20, 30, or 40 percent? This is not the way to downsize. The political process won’t tolerate it, in part because this approach would require you to ask the American people to put aside their proclivity for divided government and trust Republicans to govern for the next couple of decades, which is what it will take to get us out of this mess. Taking huge, unnecessary risks like this is not consistent with long-term political success.
Yes, perhaps S&P and Moody’s are being manipulated and apparently have newly found religion regarding our long-term fiscal prospects. But by their own criteria, they should already have downgraded the United States, because until now, we have not shown the political will to address entitlements. No one knows what a downgrade will cause. The behavior of bond and stock markets is based in large part upon perception. Historically, even relatively small financial events have had unforeseen consequences. So have large ones. Conservatives, especially, should be mindful of unintended consequences.
Finally, you might point out that things are still in flux. The final deal could come in one phase or two, and we don’t know the exact numbers. My point is, it does not matter that much. A deal will incorporate your — our — fiscally conservative principles, and set us on the right path for our country’s long, necessary journey.
Thompson's final point is that the only way to get our debt under control is entitlement reform. "We will never achieve entitlement or tax reform with a doctrinaire liberal in the White House," he writes.