Stop the presses. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) praised President Obama for reaching across the aisle and said Republicans should compromise on the budget by increasing tax revenues. McCain praised the President for changing “significantly” from his first term, by reaching out to Republicans for a compromise on the Grand Bargain.
In an interview on Political Capital With Al Hunt airing this weekend on Bloomberg Television, McCain said, “I’m open — have always been open — to closing loopholes, eliminating special deals for special interests. If you call that, ‘raising revenues,’ I’ve been guilty all my political career” of trying to cut special-interest loopholes.”
Watch here via Bloomberg TV:
Closing loopholes is a way Republicans can agree to raise revenue without appearing to be raising taxes. It’s can be seen as political cover for Republicans who signed the Norquist pledge; however, House Republicans balked at Boehner’s attempt to slide hidden revenues into the Grand Bargain in 2011.
This puts McCain at odds with the line House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is trying to sell the public, that Obama won’t compromise (translation: Obama won’t cave to Republican demands like Boehner has to).
The truth is that it’s absurd to try to balance the budget with cuts alone (would you try to get out of debt by quitting your job and refusing to raise any revenue to pay your bills, thinking you’ll just cut your expenses down until you can roll along on the lowest income since Eisenhower?), but this Republican led House will stop at nothing in order to attack the social programs of The New Deal. Obviously they aren’t too worried about actual spending, or they would agree to make cuts to the defense budget. Instead, they take aim at Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, etc.
Boehner doesn’t care that his House created sequester will leave veterans homeless; he can’t afford to care. Boehner can’t get the House Republicans to even consider compromise, and he’s not about to open himself to further embarrassment by allowing a vote on a sequester replacement.
Jason Easley explained the real reason we have no sequester replacement:
In May, 16 Republicans voted against their own party’s sequester replacement bill. The number of Republican defections jumped to 21 when the Republican sequester replacement option was passed again in December. Republicans currently have a 17 vote majority in the House, so the odds are that Van Hollen’s bill would pass if it came to the floor for a vote.
In Boehner’s eyes, better to let the country tank than to allow a vote on a Democratic plan that might pass.
President Obama has proposed a balanced budget that is much more fair than the Paul Ryan budget passed by the House yesterday. Obama already gave Republicans 2 trillion in cuts, and in his plan he balances spending cuts with increased revenues so that the poor do not have to bear the entire burden of the balanced budget.
McCain took on the intransigence of his party, “I am more than willing to give the president of the United States the opportunity to sit down and work with us… And we may have to make some concessions on our side…. Why are we doing all these things that only benefit the special interests who still have enormous influence here? Republicans have betrayed our base by allowing this kind of pork-barrel and earmark spending to go on.”
McCain has always had his own opaque ideas about principles, and watching from the outside it’s hard to tell what causes him to jerk from one side to another. But in this case, McCain has always had a hatred for pork. McCain clearly can’t understand why his party is refusing to compromise, but then, McCain must still believe in what his party allegedly stands for instead of admitting that it has become nothing but a corporate shill.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.