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3/27/2009
GOP BUDGET BALONEY
CATEGORY: Government, Politics

My friend Jennifer Rubin, true to her kindly and expansively beneficent nature, is  being generous to a fault when she says of the GOP’s overly generalized spending proposals released yesterday that it proves there is life in the Grand Old Party:

While they have yet to spell out exact figures or provide the comprehensive budget itself, the “Republican Road to Recovery” does preview their plan and goes some distance toward shooting down the Democrats’ spin that Republicans have “no ideas.”

Calling the document a “preview” is like going to a PG-13 rated movie to watch the sex scenes: There isn’t much to see and what’s there is usually shrouded in darkness or hidden by the sheets.

It’s nonsense, of course, as Ezra Klein rightly points out:

If you’re having a bad day, I highly encourage you to spend some quality time with the Republican budget proposal. It’s reads like what would happen if The Onion put together a budget. “Area Man Releases Proposal for 2010 Federal Spending Priorities.” (Though, to paraphrase William F. Buckley, it turns out that I’d prefer a federal budget written by an area man than the first six names on the House Republican Leadership roster.)

Ezra, unlike Jennifer, can be wickedly ungenerous and downright mean when he wants to be. In this case, however, he may be on to something. He highlights the fact that this “plan” is something akin to the million monkey theory of government - and the monkeys never were able to figure out arithmetic:

There are no numbers. Let me repeat that: The Republican budget proposal does not say how much money they would raise, or spend. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “budget” as “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.” This is not a budget. It talks about balancing the budget but doesn’t explain how. It advocates tax cuts but doesn’t estimate their costs. It promises to cut programs but doesn’t name them. The threat going around the Capitol is that some impish Democratic chairman will ask the CBO to try and score the Republican proposal.

In fact, the backstory on this idiocy is even more entertaining than a budget with no numbers. There is, in the works, a Republican budget alternative that will apparently be offered by ranking minority member on the Budget Committee Paul Ryan next week and whose staff has been slaving for weeks pulling together credible numbers and receiving input from many sources. It is designed to be a detailed and realistic alternative to what the Democrats have put out there so far.

But the Ryan amendment was being crafted on a parallel track with the “Road to Recovery” document which is nothing more than political pablum - and rancid oatmeal at that. The R to R was apparently a GOP leadership project pushed by Mike Pence who is pushing something else as well - his own personal presidential ambitions:

Ryan, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, plans to introduce a detailed substitute amendment for the Democrats’ spending plan next Wednesday — and still intends to do so.

But he and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats’ charge they were becoming the “Party of No,” according to House GOP staffers.

The 19-page document, prepared by Pence’s office, was distributed two days after  President Obama criticized Republicans for trashing his detail-crammed 142-page budget outline without producing a credible alternative.

“In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan,” said a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy.

“I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas,” the person added.

Tellingly, Eric Cantor is also objecting to Pence’s vapid effort at “blueprinting” what Ryan’s staffers are getting eyestrain trying to make into a serious legislative document.

Cantor and Ryan were reportedly “embarrassed” by the document — believing it was better to absorb a week of hits from Democrats than to be slammed for failing to produce a thoughtful and detailed alternative.

The goal, aides say, was to make Obama’s team eat their words by producing a “killer” alternative with far less spending and greater tax cuts.

I’m not even a real Republican anymore and I’m embarrassed too. By releasing this empty suit of a budget proposal, the GOP has cut the legs from underneath Ryan and doomed his alternative by making it irrelevant.  Not that it would have passed. But given the times, I daresay it would have at least gotten some kind of a hearing by the media who would have been forced to report on GOP projections for spending and revenue as a serious counter to the Obama plan.

But thanks to Pence and the leadership nervously jumping the gun by wrongly believing that getting something out there - anything - was better than waiting for Ryan’s staff to finish their work, they have condemned the amendment to little more than a cursory inspection by the media and hence the public. Ryan’s amendment will be old news next week since the outline of what will probably be in there (since the two sides didn’t coordinate their efforts, God knows what differences there might be) has already been released and laughed at.

What a pathetic exercise. And these guys think they’re going to waltz to victory in 2010 on the ruins of an Obama economy?

They don’t deserve anything except a seat on the back bench.

By: Rick Moran at 6:24 am
18 Responses to “GOP BUDGET BALONEY”
  1. 1
    Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » The GOP’s Alternative Budget: One Massive FAIL Pinged With:
    7:39 am 

    [...] Moran isn’t pleased: By releasing this empty suit of a budget proposal, the GOP has cut the legs from underneath Ryan [...]

  2. 2
    yo Said:
    8:08 am 

    If no numbers is embarrassing, but a budget with numbers, like the dems, which will almost certainly guarantee calamity in the future is more acceptable, then i would suggest a “do over” in your thinking.

    Obama’s trillions cannot be paid back in anything like current dollars, and there is a very high likelihood that we won’t even be able to sell all the debt. When a massive treasury auction fails, you’ll certainly wish you’d done a do-over in your thinking about the awful republican response.

    It is possotively hilarious that people who now think the housing bubble was obvious cannot see that running up massive trillions in debt, while at the same time making the business environment less friendly, and thus the ability to pay debt back, are willing to swallow this thing whole.

    open eyes

    Where in God’s name do you see me saying I find Obama’s budget “more acceptable?” I tout Ryan’s alternative, nitwit.

    Idiots who put words in my mouth generally don’t last long as commenters here.

    ed.

  3. 3
    Sal Said:
    9:18 am 

    Why can’t we elect Republican Leaders with brains?

  4. 4
    Barry Said:
    10:32 am 

    I think the GOP’s “budget” proposal is simply the latest indicator that it’s a party in denial. I’m to the left on most things, but I’m happy to debate the merits fiscal responsibilitya and the role of government. But during the Bush years, those cornerstones of the GOP were dragged away from the foundation. What is left is hysterical, paranoid ravings about socialism, religion and the black helicopters coming to take away guns — advanced by loons like Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly. I don’t want to pay any more taxes than necessary and wholeheartedly embrace capitalism, but what on earth does the GOP have anything to do with that these days?

  5. 5
    EBJ Said:
    11:59 am 

    It seems to me that the choice is the same as always. The big government Republicans vs the humongous government Democrats. That hasn’t changed a bit. The closest thing to a big-small government choice is divided government. Keep the thieves at each other’s throats instead of the people’s.

  6. 6
    bsjones Said:
    3:36 pm 

    The Republicans also have a plan for re-inflating the housing bubble.

    http://bubblemeter.blogspot.com/2009/03/republican-housing-plan-renters-should.html

    Unfortunately, the plan demonstrates that the Republican leadership does not believe in free markets.

  7. 7
    JOHNNEGANGE Said:
    2:23 am 

    you are an atheist.

    have you any children?

    just own up.
    \
    \I will take care of the rest.

  8. 8
    Political Blog Weekly: 27 March 2009 | U.S. Common Sense Pinged With:
    5:03 am 

    [...] "GOP Budget Baloney" Originally published:  27 March 2009 Submitted by:  U.S. Common Sense Summary:  Looking into the content of the counter budget proposal brought forth by the GOP this week. [...]

  9. 9
    sus Said:
    9:41 am 

    That “Budget” deserves mocking. What a farce.

  10. 10
    Eric Florack Said:
    1:07 pm 

    Sorry, Rick; I’m going to side with Jen Rubin on this one:

    Republicans are aiming not to win the budget battle, but to re-establish the differentiation between the parties. Having lost their image of fiscal sobriety during the Bush years, Republicans now are struggling to re-establish their brand. At the very least they are offering a choice: free market health care vs. government-run, nationalized care; bailouts vs. getting failing companies off the dole; and higher vs. lower taxes. Without the necessity of rounding up votes they have the luxury of painting the stark differences in political philosophy between the two parties.

    Will it “work”? Well, it is not going to pass, of course. But that is not its aim. In a sense the Republican budget plan “works” by existing, by reminding voters that massive taxing and spending is not the only alternative. Provided the Republicans oppose the Obama budget en masse (which is highly likely), they will be positioned to argue in the years ahead, and most clearly in 2010, that Obama “owns” the budget and our fiscal outlook.

    The fact is, there would have been no difference whatsoever if they came in with a fully dressed budget ready to go. Even if they thought the Democrats were going to take any Republican budget proposal seriously, which you and I both know they will not, Consider that the democrats don’t even bother reading the bills that they know are going to get passed into law. What indication do we have that any of them would have read a proposal that would have had no chance whatsoever of passage?

    Jennifer is right on this one. Ryan’s alternative, such as it is, or such as that might have been, regardless, is already irrelevant. At least, irrelevant in terms of actually becoming law.

    Now, becoming a positional document going forward, that’s a whole ‘nother matter.

  11. 11
    bsjones Said:
    1:15 pm 

    Senator Judd Gregg explains why the Obama budget is not “A Road to Recovery” here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2Xk30-Kybs&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Ftpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com%2F&feature=player_embedded

    He believes that the individual American creates prosperity and good jobs not the government!!

  12. 12
    busboy33 Said:
    1:34 pm 

    @Eric Florack:

    The question is — do we need this?

    As a positional paper, the Repubs state officially that they are for tax cuts, shrinking the size of the federal government, expanded offshore drilling, and so forth. Was there anybody in America that didn’t know that already? These are the bedrock talking points of the GOP, and have been for years.
    Its nice to re-state them and all, but bringing it out the way they did was laughable and embarassing.

    @Sal:
    “Why can’t we elect repub leaders with brains?”
    Because they are politicans — the Dems hardly do any better.
    When the prez race started, I looked at the full field on both sides and wept. These were the best and brightest America had to offer? Jon Stewart made a quip about how we had enough candidates to hold a baseball game.

  13. 13
    funny man Said:
    5:25 pm 

    When the prez race started, I looked at the full field on both sides and wept. LOL

  14. 14
    Eric Florack Said:
    8:36 pm 

    Was there anybody in America that didn’t know that already?

    A reasonable question. But a declaration of values is seldom worthless, particularly in the realm of politics.

    I mean, look, somebody could logically asked the same question about the democrats. Is there any question that they’re going to be for higher taxes last offense and more government control on every possible discussion that comes up?

    Yet, I don’t see anybody complaining about the number of times and what they restate their position. There’s a reason that they do that of course; it is to reinforce their base. Seems to me, that’s where the republicans fell down in the last election ; their base simply wasn’t with them.

  15. 15
    Eric Florack Said:
    8:37 pm 

    Hit the button too early;

    These are the bedrock talking points of the GOP, and have been for years.

    No, that’s precisely the point , they have not been the talking points for years. Specifically for the last eight years, we’ve been steadily moving away from those talking points, and the values underneath those talking points. That’s exactly the point that this thing was supposed to begin to address. You I can discuss whether or not that was an effective move, but the logic behind it is sound.

  16. 16
    Frivolous Said:
    10:30 pm 

    Eric Florack, I think you’re being disingenuous. The budget proposal did much damage to the GOP’s credibility. I was looking forward to a detailed and thoughtful and deep counter-proposal to the Democratic budget. What we got could have been written by Jonathan Krohn.

  17. 17
    Eric Florack Said:
    6:48 pm 

    The budget proposal did much damage to the GOP’s credibility.

    Among whom, particularly?

  18. 18
    Nightly Ramble: The Bumpersticker Edition | BitsBlog Pinged With:
    7:45 am 

    [...] you come around: Nice to see Rick Moran understands what we were trying to tell him about the Republican budget.   That’s a bit less snarky than it [...]

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