Ryan budget saves Republicans from themselves
The Ryan-Murray budget compromise that no one on our side seems to like may be the best outcome on the fiscal battlefield -- not only for Republicans, but also for the conservative cause.
Democrats are desperately seeking any distraction from the cascading ObamaCare train wreck and their own impending political downfall. Another fight over a defunding shutdown would give the Obama Democrats the opportunity to seize the pulpit and turn the Republicans on themselves, at least temporarily erasing ObamaCare from the headlines and easing the Democrats' pain.
The earlier defunding shutdown strategically underlined the Democrats' ownership of ObamaCare, as Thomas Lifson recently observed, but a second Pickett's charge at a fiscal shutdown would simply allow Obama and the Democrats to escape their own quicksand.
Broad opposition to the Ryan bill among conservatives, combined with a range of Republican senators opposing the bill, has left Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) in a rather lonely position, defending his own compromise budget despite its overwhelming bipartisan passage in the House.
Financial columnist Larry Kudlow, writing at National Review, is one strong conservative supporter, however, of the Ryan-Murray compromise budget. Kudlow's column title, "Ryan Saves GOP from Itself," sums up his argument:
If the GOP wants to retake the Senate and hold the House in 2014, the key issues must be the catastrophic pitfalls of Obamacare and better economic growth. A shutdown would be a distraction. It would take the heat off Obama and Obamacare, and all the Democrats who falsely promised that if you like your insurance and doctor, you can keep them.
Obama's "like it, keep it" promise was just named the lie of the year in the annual PolitiFact survey. Reminding voters of that lie is much more important than a government shutdown - which would be blamed on Republicans anyway.
Kudlow weighs the fiscal pros and cons of the bill but observes in the end that the reality is that the Ryan compromise is a "political solution, not a fiscal one" (emphasis original).
The Hill's Alexander Bolton contends that the resounding bipartisan House majority vote for the bill this week, which Bolton calls "a strong rebuke to conservative groups such as Club For Growth and Heritage Action that had urged lawmakers to oppose it," portends passage in the Senate.
While many Republican senators have expressed opposition to one facet or another of the bill, a "Senate insider" quoted in The Hill says of thoughts about blocking the bill:
If they had any thought of it, it was evaporated by the vote in the House.
Kudlow's column concludes:
Fortunately for Republicans, the Obamacare disaster erased the political downside of the shutdown. Paul Ryan understands this. And the really strong Ryan budget - which he put forth in recent years, and includes entitlement and pro-growth tax reform - would have a lot better chance if Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and then claimed the White House in 2016. A small watering down of budget caps seems like a small price to pay on the road to controlling Washington.
Ryan says he has the presidency in the back of his mind. Well, fine. But meanwhile, in the run-up to next year's election, he may have saved the GOP from itself.
Standing on its own, the Ryan-Murray budget is a holding action at best. But as a tactical move on the battlefield to save the country from ObamaCare and the Progressive agenda, the Ryan bill clears the field for the Democrats' worst ObamaCare nightmare to play out in full public view.