GOP: Trade cuts for time

In the Middle East, Israel is being urged to trade land for peace.

In Washington, the GOP should swap cuts for time. When House Republicans go to the Senate asking for cuts, they should present it with a menu:

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• For $100 billion in cuts, they can get a continuing resolution (CR) that lasts through the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2011.

• But for $60 billion in cuts, they only get a CR that lasts through June 30.

• And for $30 billion, they only get a one-month CR.

Likewise on the debt limit.

• For defunding ObamaCare, they can get a $1.5 trillion increase in the debt limit.

• For block-granting Medicaid and rolling it back to 2008 levels, the Senate and the president can have a $1 trillion increase in the debt limit.

• But for lesser cuts, they only get a debt limit increase of $300 billion that will last a few months.

Republicans want to cut spending. But, more than that, they want to make Obama fight spending cuts day in and day out for two years. The key to Obama’s reelection is, in his words, “not to re-fight the battles of 2009 and 2010.” That’s because he knows how they come out. He loses like he lost in 2010.

In our new book, Revolt!: How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs — A Patriot’s Guide, my wife and I write that the way to stop Obama from triangulating and moving to the center is precisely to force him to re-fight all these battles. By repealing ObamaCare, defunding its provisions, blocking the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon and the National Labor Relations Board from banning secret ballots in union elections, Republicans force him to re-fight all these battles, keeping the nation focused on Obama’s liberal excesses.

If Obama wants to move to the center, he cannot afford these weekly skirmishes in which he plays the role of the big-spending liberal. The only way out of them is to agree to Republican cuts. If he demands fewer cuts, he gets less time on his CR and his debt-limit increase and has to fight and re-fight these battles over and over again.

That’s the barrel Republicans have Obama over.

Republicans should not shut down the government. If the Senate and the president prove totally uncooperative, let the House vote for one-week CRs, one at a time. Let them raise the debt limit by the roughly $40 billion the feds borrow each week, week after week. The ensuing cliff-hanging tension will dominate the national dialogue and force Obama ever more to the left. Unless he gives in.

Meanwhile, the nation is moving to the right, led by its governors. The union demonstrations in Madison, Wis., are a massive mistake because they focus national attention on the unions’ excesses and the need to curb them. By demonstrating against having to pay half as much for their health insurance as the rest of us pay, they do not win our sympathy. Instead, they mobilize those who want better schools by ending teacher tenure and seniority-based pay. They energize those who want school choice. And they doom themselves as powers for the future. Their union leaders look like the thugs they are as they use ’60s radical tactics like sit-ins in the state capitol to extort their benefits.

And Obama loyally backs them, further belying his move to the middle. He wants to appear a centrist, but reality keeps getting in the way.

Morris is a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton. Go to dickmorris.com to order advance, signed copies of his new book, Revolt! How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs — A Patriot’s Guide.