A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
After the Republican party took rough hits from the White House, congressional Democrats and the media for its Playskool alternative to the president’s budget proposal, they promised to come out with a grownup version — now with real numbers! — next Wednesday.
I feel bad for the GOP congressional aides. They’ve got to give up their weekend just so their party will have a better prop with which to posture next week, right before both chambers are expected to vote on the real budget that Friday. In other words, the Republican alternative should arrive in time to have no impact at all in the budget negotiations. Perfect. That’ll make it easy to criticize Obama’s budget later, without actually having to be involved in the messy process itself.
After hearing quite a bit about the negative aura surrounding the “Party of No” of late, I thought I’d do a little analysis. I lifted all the language from the alternative, titled “The Republican Road to Recovery,” to the budget and put it in two categories: anti-Democratic blustering, and actual Republican proposals (however vague they might be).
(A note on methodology: I excluded any language that was neutral; a quick and easy job. In fact, if you look at the document itself, it’s quite neatly divided into categories that could be titled “What is totally lame about the Democrat budget” and “Why Republicans are magical money trees.”)
To put this in perspective: If the president had dedicated that much space in his budget criticizing the right, the Office of Management and Budget would have had to print off 226 pages, instead of the current 140.
Not only does the GOP budget proposal have no numbers to speak of, it has neither solutions nor new ideas. The same failed policies, such as cutting taxes on the rich and drilling in ANWR, are trumpeted as godsends.
The budget alternative also appropriates themes that GOP operatives must have noticed were popular in the 2008 campaign season. Of course, they’re Democratic Party themes, but never mind that. “Universal access to healthcare” is promoted in the document, with no solid sense of how to run and pay for such a system. And, apparently, all it will take to save Medicare is “common sense reforms.” Who knew it was so easy?
After years of obeying the oil industry, all of a sudden the GOP wants to support the “development of new renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.” Not that that means we’re going to stop propping up Big Oil. But my, doesn’t this sound impressive:
Put simply, our energy policy is aimed at more energy — not less; at cheaper fuel bills — not higher; at more jobs — not fewer; and at increased energy independence — not less. We want to save consumers money, create jobs and grow the economy, and decrease our reliance on regimes that are not our friends, and the Democrats are telling us no.
Wow, that’s awesome! And you can do all that without raising taxes or the deficit? Those darn Democrats ruin everything; maybe we should start calling them the Party of No!
Whoa, sorry. I must’ve lost consciousness for a minute. Well, for my own health, I’d better not get started on the GOP’s Wall Street bailout plan. It’s like they think they invented the term “stress test.”
Though the Republican Party is doing its best to present a unified front, this oversized press release of a document seems to be testing their collective will and there seem to be cracks developing in the façade. Glenn Thrush reported at Politico that there are some GOP staffers who are openly frustrated with the proposal, quoting one here:
“In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically [Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee] 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.
With such comments being off-the-record, it’s tough to gauge the true opposition to such childish behavior within this traditionally disciplined party. However, I found it a little strange that only ten House Republicans signed the proposal, and that Ryan, the guy who is supposedly writing up Wednesday’s budget alternative (with numbers this time) was not one of those ten. It‘s not that you can actually see any of the cracks. It’s more like that feeling of tension in the last class of the day when everyone knows there’s going to be a fight on the playground after school.
So, while it seems to be true that the GOP has turned into the Party of No, it’s important to note that they’re regressing as well. Not only do they have no new ideas of their own, but they cannot even say “no” without in the same breath saying, “You suck, also.”
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS