House Republicans had a meeting with President Obama to discuss the deficit, a day after decisively voting down the President’s frequently expressed demand for an unconditional increase to the federal debt ceiling.
How did the meeting go? House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said it was “frank” and “productive,” according to Fox News. However, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said, “unfortunately, what we did not hear from the President is a specific plan of his to deal with the debt crisis.”
No surprises there. The Democrat strategy is set: terrify seniors by claiming Republicans want to kill them, demand unlimited federal debt, and blame the results of their irresponsible spending on the people who speak of fiscal sanity.
Offering a concrete plan with specific proposals that could be tested, and subjected to criticism, would be very unhealthy for the Democrats’ political strategy. That’s why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recently said, “There’s no need to have a Democratic budget, in my opinion. It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.”
Senate Budget Committee chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) told reporters last week he would “defer” planning a budget for next year “indefinitely.” Keep in mind Conrad is what passes for “a leading Congressional deficit hawk” in the Democrat Party, according to his official bio.
Why would anyone expect this strategy to abruptly dissolve during a calm discussion with President Obama? He’s supposedly waiting for Vice President Joe Biden to finish working with Congressional leaders to come up with “specific cuts in excess of $1 trillion over the next decade.” That’s a pointless, time-wasting side-show, not a serious discussion about dramatic reforms to avoid fiscal catastrophe. It’s an improvement in the sense that Democrats used to claim $38 billion in cuts during one year was the equivalent of a bloody murder spree against seniors and women, but we don’t have time to wait for the Democrat Party to finish slowly growing up. We’re far past the point of holding delicate negotiations to slightly reduce the manic speed of government growth.
Republican Jeff Landry of Louisiana skipped today’s White House meeting entirely. “I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a president whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt,” he explained. “Until the president produces a responsible deficit reduction plan, I’m not going to the White House to negotiate with myself.”
Decorum compelled the rest of the Republican caucus to trudge over to the White House and pound some sand today. By all accounts, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave a bravura performance in defense of his Medicare reform proposals. He was performing for a President who spent the time daydreaming about new ways to tell people that Ryan wants their grandparents to die.