The day after Election Day is never a good time to do substantive analysis. The win seems bigger to those who won and those who lost usually are more despondent than the situation warrants.
That's the situation this morning: Democrats are crowing about permanent new demographic shifts in the electorate while the GOP is doing the standard soul searching by those who didn't accomplish what they had hoped.
As far as the federal budget is concerned, this will all change tomorrow when the caffeine induced highs and lows of the election are replaced with the realization that some very big fiscal cliff deadlines are now just seven weeks away.
Here's the situation:
1. At some point very soon -- probably around noon today eastern time -- the mood will change as the House GOP realizes that it is the last bastion when it comes to taxes and spending.
I've come to the conclusion that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is going to have a very difficult time making any deal with the Democrats during the lame duck session on taxes and spending – that is, on preventing the fiscal cliff – and still remain as speaker in the next Congress. That means that avoiding the fiscal cliff will be far harder than any analysis of the situation has dared to conclude.
Yes, this assumes that Republicans will keep the majority in the House next year and, therefore, that the GOP will be picking one of its own as speaker. But just consider what would happen if the following occurs.
Whatever you want to call it -- heartburn, anxiety, agita -- the GOP's got it and, as my column from today's Roll Call explains, it's getting steadily worse as the October 1 deadline for a continuing resolution gets closer by the day.
Need for October CR Creating Serious GOP Angst
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
July 17, 2012, Midnight
There’s increasing nervousness on Capitol Hill these days about the one thing that has to be done on the budget before voters go to the polls.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is one of the names being mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney. In addition to being the governor from what is considered an important swing state, McDonell supposedly has strong credentials as a fiscal conservative that would help Romney wit the GOP base.
But you really have to wonder whether McDonnell deserves the reputation as a conservative after the decision he announced yesterday to spend millions of state dollars to upgrade the Washington Redskins' practice facility in Ashburn, VA. Keep in mind that:
1. The Redskins aren't just a privately-owned team, they are one of the most profitable teams in all of professional sports.
2. This is the Washington Redskins, not the Virginia Redskins.
3. The team plays its games in a stadium located in Maryland.
Over at TPM, Brian Beutler has a story about House Republican efforts to cut the budget of the Office of Management and Budget.
The story is sad and ridiculous: it shows that House Republicans have become just like the kid in the schoolyard who throws a tantrum and threatens to take the ball and go home if what he or she wants isn't done immediately.
The bottom line: The House GOP says its going to reduce OMB's budget by $9 million from 2012 to 2013.
Never mind that there's no indication that OMB is overstaffed or inefficient in any way. In fact, I haven't been able to find a single written analysis or congressional hearing where OMB's efficiency was seriously questioned. In other words, this decision isn't based on facts; it's all political.
Never mind that $9 million doesn't even qualify as a rounding error when it comes to the federal budget and that the cost of the GOP's deciding to reduce OMB's budget by this amount probably wiped out a significant part of the proposed reduction.