If I’ve learned anything after 30 years on Capitol Hill, it’s this: you can never trust what politicians say. We all know that actions speak louder than words, and nowhere is that more true than in government.
The same applies to the budget battle going on in Congress. Everybody on the left and the right has been posturing for months now, spewing rhetoric that they think voters want to hear.
But once the rubber finally meets the road, all of that posturing means nothing. Let me tell a little story to explain…
Last night, at about 9:30pm, my phone rang.
Mary Beth, my wife of 30 years and veteran of countless campaigns, picked up; but then she handed me the phone.
I was surprised to hear a congressman on the other end. It was late, and his call was unexpected. I won’t divulge my friend’s name (we’ll call him “Bill”) because he’s a great source of inside information. If I shared his name, he’d likely deny what I’m about to tell you because he dropped a bomb.
First, Bill tried to tell me that the drop in Obama’s poll numbers would surely make him compromise on the budget.
I couldn’t help but laugh. I said, “If you think a temporary drop in poll numbers will send the White House into retreat, you don’t understand Obama and the people around him.”
See, in my opinion, the Obama administration has only begun to fight for their budget. And I also reminded Bill that all of the House members are up for re-election next year, whereas Obama never has to run for office again.
He then agreed to share his secret with me. He said that the Republican caucus is preparing to compromise with Harry Reid and the Senate on the budget.
After all of the congressional cat fighting, all the rhetoric, and all the posturing, the House Republicans are ready to throw in the towel.
And the worst part is the reason they’re caving. You see, Republicans believe that compromise will cause the least disruption before the 2014 election.
You read that right. They’re only thinking about the election. John Boehner knows that most of the Republican caucus won’t support the compromise. Instead, Boehner is counting on Democrat votes to get a budget deal done.
If Bill hadn’t said it so clearly, even I, as cynical as I am, wouldn’t have believed that our representatives could be this crass. But there it is, straight from the mouth of a congressman. Proof that the reason a budget deal will get done has nothing to do with the country or governing America properly.
Instead, the Republican leadership will compromise with Obama so that Democrats can’t hammer them on the budget in the next election.
Now we know that all the promises to balance the budget, keep down taxes, and repeal the Affordable Care Act are just rhetoric to get our votes and secure their jobs. But, on a positive note, at least my friend said he’d vote against the budget compromise.
This article originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.