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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Pope Erick’s Bull

As we all wait around to see if Republicans will go along with a debt limit solution that doesn’t involve total surrender by Democrats in time to avoid all sorts of financial and economic chaos, it’s worth watching what the ideological commissars of conservatism are telling their folk. RedState’s Erick Erickson has a remarkably strident take on what he’s saying to GOP officeholders. Gaze in awe:

In the past 48 hours I have had call after call after call from members of the United States Congress. They’ve read what I’ve written. They agree. But they feel the hour is short and the end is nigh.
So some are calling looking for alternatives. Some are calling looking for energy. Many are calling looking for absolution.
And so I address them and put it here so you can see my advice.
I can give no absolution for what you may be about to do. I can offer no alternatives….
You went to Washington to change Washington. You went to Washington because you said it was broken and you worried about the future for your children and grandchildren.
And now, at the moment of crisis you are worried and second guessing yourself and looking for alternatives, ways out, and most of all a clear conscience. Cut, Cap, and Balance is the only plan that can save our credit rating and our financial integrity. I can offer you nothing else, nor should you waver from fighting for it alone. You should, however tired you may be of hearing me say it, hold the line.
But what you think will give you a clear conscience — the alternative you seek — is what has been done before. You punt. You kick the can down the road. You take the chimera and convince yourself it is real and you have done good.
A generation before you, men and women went to Washington saying they were going to turn the tide, stop the out of control spending, and stop the growth of Washington into our lives. They were going to do it for their children and grandchildren.
Now you sit where they sat. Now you do what they did….
In 1856, Abraham Lincoln said that the reason this country was great was because in this country unlike any other “every man can make himself.” When you cut your deal and clear you conscience, the American Republic is not going to die, but the ability of men to make themselves will.
Here and now, this fight — this is the last best hope to turn back. The choice is yours. There is no absolution.

I don’t know what’s more remarkable about Erick’s rant: the identification of conservative fiscal priorities with the pre-Civil-War moral posture of Abraham Lincoln, or the framing of his post as a denial of “absolution” for Republican pols considering the wicked path of avoiding a financial and economic meltdown.
I fear Erick’s papal bull on the debt limit increase is not really that much of an inflation of the influence of conservative activists on the GOP. Many Republican members of Congress are terrified to do what they are being told to do by Wall Street, their own leadership, and public opinion polls. For that reason alone, the rest of us should not be that confident they will do the obviously right thing. What’s a mere financial and economic collapse as compared to the opportunity to promote the Tea Party’s demands for a U-turn in every step of social progress achieved since the 1930s?

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