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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Republican's running themselves off a cliff...

Cantor Says Congress Won’t Pay For Missouri Disaster Relief Unless Spending Is Cut Elsewhere


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, said that before Congress approved federal funds for disaster relief, it had to offset the spending with cuts to other programs. The Washington Times reports:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.
If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.

All while Paul Ryan keeps pressing the end of Medicare: 

Politico has an interesting piece about how the lemmings came to jump off the cliff — how the GOP came to stake everything on the Ryan plan. But there are a couple of points that I don’t think come clear in the story.

First, I suspect that there’s a legend in the making — one that will come to dominate the conventional wisdom if the GOP does badly next year — which goes like this: Republicans were too noble. They committed themselves to a serious, well-crafted policy plan, but were oblivious to the political realities.

What I hope regular readers of this blog understand by now is that the Ryan plan is, in fact, a self-serving piece of junk. It doesn’t add up — in fact, it would probably make the deficit bigger not smaller. And far from representing some kind of sacrifice of political interests in the service of the greater good, it’s a right-wing wish-list on steroids: sharp tax cuts for corporations and the rich, savage cuts in aid to the poor, and a gratuitous privatization of Medicare. And again, it’s technically incompetent along the way.

So nobility and seriousness had nothing to do with it.

But what about that political misjudgment? How could they have thought this piece of junk would fly?

What I think Politico misses is that while the ideas in the Ryan plan poll terribly with the general public, there was very good reason to expect them to poll well with the punditocracy. For a year before the plan was unveiled, Ryan was the absolute darling of Beltway insiders; any suggestion that he was in fact a flim-flam man was greeted with anger. And let’s remember that for about two days after the plan was unveiled, it was greeted rapturously, even by some alleged liberals.

So what I suspect is that Ryan and his colleagues expected to float through on a cloud of pundit love, which would allow them to bypass the public’s fundamental dislike of everything they were proposing.

Exactly why they thought this could happen despite the very similar story of Bush’s attempt to dismantle Social Security is another question.

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