I still find myself in total agreement with Robert Stacy McCain on his take on the Ryan Budget
House Republicans did the smart thing yesterday, and don’t let worry-wart Allahpundittell you any different.
Not a single Democrat voted for it, and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel’s boast that this will help Democrats recapture the House is nonsense. Let the Democrats spend the next 18 months trying to demagogue entitlement reform all they want — the pressure is now actually on Senate Democrats for 2012.
The willingness of the House GOP to lay down a marker — take a vote on a definite proposal for fixing the entitlement mess — shows they’ve learned the lessons of 2005-06, when Republicans botched the entitlement-reform debate.
Here’s what most people miss about that: The Republicans controlled the House, and Tom Delay could have rammed through any proposal that the White House wanted. But the GOP wanted to play defense, so it was decided that the thing to do was (a) to send Bush out giving a lot of speeches about entitlement reform, and (b) let the Senate do a lot of debating about entitlement reform.
Talk, talk, talk — and the Senate never passed anything, so there was never any specific plan on the table, with numbers and stuff, that people could look at see what was actually being proposed. Democrats got an opportunity to do their usual demagoguery — “Those evil Republicans want to take away Granny’s Social Security check!” — without ever being forced to vote up-or-down on anything.
The House vote to approve the Ryan budget changes that. Now the Democrats who control the Senate have before them a specific plan, already approved by the House, upon which they can now be pressured to act. And with Democrats defending lots of vulnerable Senate seats in 2012, the question becomes: Where’s Harry Reid’s budget?
No more “talk, talk, talk,” you see. Reid can’t just kick the can down the road like he did last year, when he and Nancy Pelosi decided not even to pass an FY 2011 budget, because they wanted to play politics instead. Paul Ryan and the House GOP just called Harry’s bluff.
Stacy, like myself has seen too much soft ball from Republicans, too many times they RNC has tried to sell us candidates that are, well, sucktastic, as McCain might say. I have called this the diminished expectations strategy. The “leadership” of the GOP too often expects us to back candidates or political strategies, that are less than the best. They try to sell us pragmatism. Take what you can get they say. While I have no problem with taking some, rather than none, I also think we ought to at least try for more rather than selling out core principles right out of the gate. As the old saying goes, it is indeed better to try and fail, than to fail to try.
It also makes perfect sense to me that it is easier to get more of what you aim for when you state your principles, stick to them, and lead! That is what Ryan and the House GOP did with this budget vote. They LED! They offered a clear, and striking difference between their fiscal vision and that of the Democrats. And that, I believe, is a winning strategy, which sure beats a strategy of diminished expectations any day!