Many of us never thought that the Republicans would hold tough long enough to get President Obama and the Democrats to agree to a budget deal that does not include raising income tax rates. But they did — and Speaker of the House John Boehner no doubt desires much of the credit for that....
Now that the Republicans seem to have gotten the Democrats off their higher taxes kick, the question is whether a minority of the House Republicans will refuse to pass the Boehner legislation that could lead to a deal that will spare the country a major economic disruption and spare the Republicans from losing the 2012 elections by being blamed — rightly or wrongly — for the disruptions.
Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don't get your heart's desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.
The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one's power. Nor is it selling out one's principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.
That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.
As Fred Barnes tweets, "If Tom Sowell is for the Boehner plan, who can be against it?"
Sowell also warns legislators that they shouldn't govern as if they're pundits. "Writers can advocate things that have no chance at the moment, for their very writing about those things persuasively can make them possible at some future date," Sowell writes. "But to adopt the same approach as an elected member of Congress risks losing both the present and the future."