The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Ryan Budget

Posted on | April 16, 2011 | 11 Comments

I’m tempted to call it “The Savage Young Ryan Budget,” but seriously, folks: House Republicans did the smart thing yesterday, and don’t let worry-wart Allahpundit tell 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.

Obama’s gimmicky and unrealistic “framework” for deficit-reduction won’t work as actual legislation. Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate are going to have to come up with an honest-to-goodness budget, and the House is going to be sending over appropriations bills that will require senators to take votes, if the federal government is to be funded for FY2012.

Actual legislation. Actual votes.

The fun-and-games of just talk, talk, talking is over. And I’m convinced that Harry Reid can’t match the determination of the House Republicans, so there’s no way the Democrats can “win” this part of the process.

The American people aren’t as stupid as Democrats think.


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