Some Americans might be under the impression that they just watched a lame duck Congress engage in a lame-o budget fight. But Senate Republicans’ stunning defeat last night of the Democrats’ omnibus spending bill was anything but boring.
What our great nation just watched was the Democratic Party preview its political strategy for the next two years. It also watched a united Senate GOP defeat that approach, though not before a handful of Republicans considered walking straight into the Democratic trap. The whole episode was an early peek at the GOP’s biggest challenge going forward.
That challenge is, as it always is, spending. Republicans lost in 2006 primarily because of their profligacy, and they won this year primarily because they swore off that profligacy. It’s that simple—and don’t think Democrats don’t know it. President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi understand that the surest, quickest and most delicious way to undermine their opponents is to tempt them into renouncing their own promises of fiscal responsibility. The added beauty is that Democrats continue to get exactly what they want: bigger government.