Led By Pence, Republican Budget Alternative Pretty Thin Gruel
Congressman Mike Pence, R-IN, was becoming known as the great hope of fiscal conservatives during the last Congress and with the last president.
A budget alternative released today by House Republicans, and reportedly primarily authored by Pence, shows just how little the once formidable GOP has to offer in the public policy arena – and how even once thoughtful conservatives such as Pence are flailing about, adrift.
The major Republican problem is that the current slate of emergencies facing the country – financial crisis, recession, Iraq, Afghanistan – is of their doing. Granted, the financial crisis finds its roots in Clinton era permissiveness regarding Wall Street and the traditional roles of bankers, insurers and brokers. But let’s not forget the greatest Republican icon of the once booming economy, Alan Greenspan. Let’s not also forget that for several years, as Wall Street piled excess upon excess, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
Recent polling shows Americans still put these problems at the feet of Republicans. What’s more, the Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll from March 3, shows most Americans believe Republican efforts against President Barack Obama’s agenda are more for political gain than for standing on principle. Today’s Republican plan, released this morning, became a blueprint by the end of the day. Why? Because it doesn’t even answer the basics, like where will the deficit be down the road.
Glenn Thrush over at Politico has a great post today about the Republican infighting over the budget and Pence and Minority Leader John Boehner’s rush to make a political statement rather than offer a real alternative. In their rush, they seem to have stepped all over fellow Republican leaders Eric Cantor’s and Paul Ryan’s efforts to build a real alternative plan.
If this sort of thing keeps up, I predict a fractured Republican Conference and changes in leadership before there’s ever a substantive change in the makeup of the House of Representatives.