Political scientist Dr. Sean Q Kelly has put forth a bold and refreshing idea as some already begin working towards the 2016 presidential elections. He presents a solution that would push politicians to work for the people and not have to pander to the parties.
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As the noise of the election subsides the nation faces considerable fiscal challenges. If the president and Congress fail to reach agreement the country will slide off the “fiscal cliff.” Without action tax rates for middle and high income earners will increase, and programs from defense to social services will face automatic across-the-board cuts.
Most experts agree that bringing the federal budget into balance will require a combination of “revenue increases” (including tax increases), and spending cuts.
Reaching a grand bargain on the mix of revenue increases and spending cuts faces stiff resistance on both sides of the aisle.
Republicans are unwilling to entertain the possibility of any tax increase. Many fear that they will draw a primary challenge from the right (funded by groups like the Club for Growth) in two years if they agree to increase taxes. The recent examples of ousted Senators Richard Lugar and Bob Bennett echo in the minds of Republican members of Congress.
Democrats fear entertaining the possibility of cutting spending (and for those in more conservative districts, tax/revenue increases), especially for domestic programs that are important to their constituents. If Democratic members of Congress support cuts sufficient to put a dent in the deficit they anticipate primary challenges supported and funded by the “professional left”—groups like MoveOn and ActBlue.
I am proposing the formation of a Super PAC: The We’ve Got Your Back PAC. This Super PAC will provide monetary and ground support to any member of Congress of either party who puts country before party by supporting a compromise budget plan that includes both tax/revenue increases (unpopular with the political right) and spending cuts, many of which are unpopular with the political left.
We’ve Got Your Back PAC will help ensure that politicians who make tough decisions will have electoral support (money, electoral intelligence, and ground support) come election time.
If we want to “turn Democrats and Republicans into Americans” (to steal from the subtitle of Mickey Edwards’ latest book) it will take the concerted efforts and the combined resources of the political center to protect politicians willing to make tough, potentially career-ending, decisions.
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This post was published a few days earlier on Dr. Kelly’s blog and has been republished here with his permission.
Sean Q Kelly is a professor of political science at California State University Channel Islands. Professor Kelly is a former American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow (1993–1994) and is a coauthor of three books with Scott Frisch, Committee Assignment Politics in the US House of Representatives (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press), Jimmy Carter and the Water Wars: Presidential Influence and the Politics of Pork (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press) and most recently Cheese Factories on the Moon: Why Earmarks are Good for American Democracy (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers). He is the editor of two other books Campaigns and Political Marketing (New York: Routledge), and Doing Archival Research in Political Science (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press). He is currently working with Scott Frisch on a book about the politics of congressional appropriations earmarks that is under contract to the University of Michigan Press, and an edited volume Politics to the Extreme: American Political Institutions in the 21st Century for Palgrave Macmillan. Professor Kelly is coeditor (with Scott Frisch) of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America book series.