Looking a conservative gift horse in the mouth

LOOKING A CONSERVATIVE GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH…. As budget developments unfolded late last night, one of the prominent Tea Party group declared that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was “selling out” far-right activists. The group vowed to launch a primary campaign against him.

Even on Capitol Hill, high-profile conservatives actually sounded unhappy about the Republican victory.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, applauded Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) work on a last-minute budget deal to avert a government shutdown, but he was not happy with the content of that deal.

“We’re impressed with his effort, we just didn’t like the final product,” Jordan said.

Jordan said he expects “significant” opposition from conservatives, both to the short-term fix and the long-term spending bill. He said he will vote against both. He also expressed disappointment that a rider defunding Planned Parenthood hadn’t been included. “We wanted more advancement on the life issue,” Jordan said.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was also quick to blast the budget agreement.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Look, I realize the right didn’t get literally everything it demanded, but Republicans managed to play a very weak hand and win a handsome prize. Democrats control the White House and the Senate, polls showed strong opposition to the priorities the GOP wanted to pass, and Republicans still got a favorable deal. For the right to whine about it now is absurd.

As for the practical implications of far-right discontent, there’s almost no chance the budget deal will be derailed — but the House GOP leadership’s goal of passing this without needing Democratic support is a long shot. Remember, Boehner suggested this week that his priority was getting the deal through the House, not just with 218 votes, but with 218 Republican votes. With a 241-member caucus, the Speaker would need to lose no more than 23 GOP votes to reach his partisan goal.

At this point, however, the party believes it may face as many as 40 Republican defections, but leaders will “work strenuously to keep the number below 30.” Either way, Boehner will need some Blue Dogs to cross the finish line.

But before we move on, it’s my sincere hope that right-wing cries do not skew the perspective on this, at least not too much. It’s easy to imagine the media, for example, saying that opposition from the far-right to the plan, coupled with criticism from lefties like me, must mean it’s a good agreement. After all, if the left and right are complaining, this must be a “win” for moderates.

That’s lazy thinking, and it’s wrong.

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