Timid Republicans Backing Off Ryan's Medicare Proposal
Just when do congressional Republicans stand and fight? Evidently, no time soon. In the last couple of days, news reports have it that both House and Senate Republicans are wavering on Paul Ryan's proposal to reform Medicare.This coming after the recent phony 2011 budget victory touted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Another red flag is the likelihood that Republicans will rollover again on a debt ceiling increase vote. The debt ceiling vote is expected sometime this summer.
TPM reports that Representative Dave Camp, who chairs the important Ways and Means Committee, sees the Ryan Medicare proposal as a nonstarter, given objections to it in the Senate among Democrats and Republicans.
The Hill quotes Camp as saying:
"I'm not really interested in laying down more markers," said Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.). "I'd rather have the committee working with the Senate and with the president to focus on savings and reforms that can be signed into law." [Italics added]
Seems that focus-group and survey research driven Republicans would rather work with Senate Democrats and President Obama to arrive at small, largely cosmetic, budget cuts and formulas than lay down "markers" that boldly contrast GOP positions on spending and the role of government. Voters deserve to know that there are stark differences between the parties - if, in fact, stark differences exist.
Congressional Republicans are making a huge political miscalculation with their "Let's join hands with the President and Democrats and work together" approach. This may seem to satisfy voters in the short run, but come 2012, when the GOP needs to present a record of strong contrasts between Democrats and themselves, nothing meaningful will exist. A record of timid budget cutting and mere baby steps (if that) toward governmental reform provides cover for spendthrift Democrats that they don't merit.
As Larry Kudlow writes at National Review Online:
If today's Republican party vacates the pro-growth position of flat-tax reform and clear spending reductions, it will lose the high political ground.Let's hope that congressional Republicans aren't shaping up to be latter day Ramsey MacDonalds - you know, British Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald, who Winston Churchill described famously as the "Boneless Wonder."