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‘A Somewhat Sinking Feeling’

7:52 PM, Aug 1, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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I’m glad for the long-suffering John Boehner. I respect those who stood with him and their attempt to do the right thing as they saw it. I hope the deal—for as long as it lasts—turns out to benefit the country and advance conservative principles. I will curb my annoyance at those who triumphantly want to claim it represents “a fundamental change in governance.” I hope the deal proves to be a step in the right direction.

But as the vote wound down on the House floor, I received an email from a friend and political comrade-in-arms that captured my sentiments almost exactly:

I must say I have a somewhat sinking feeling in my stomach about this agreement. The message to Americans seems to be that we have a (defense) spending problem—and the addition of that parenthetical substantially changes the whole sentence. I have a hard time saying what we really even got out of this deal. I suspect, however, that Obama is satisfied and will sleep well tonight, having gotten the one thing I think he really cared about: to be free of having to do this again before next November...  

This whole experience—especially the default to defense cuts—is a further reminder that we'll never get anywhere without a Republican leader who can make the case for real entitlement reform (Obamacare repeal, Medicare reform).

I’d add: A Republican leader who can make the broader case for limited government and national strength. The deal of August 1, 2011, brings home even more starkly the fundamental importance of November 6, 2012.

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