Saturday, April 4, 2009

Strife Inside the Party of No

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Infighting on the inside of the GOP spilled out on national television yesterday when a hastily released pamphlet raised more questions than it answered. In a press conference, Republican reps John Boehner and Eric Cantor waved the 19 page pamphlet around calling it their "budget". When, in fact, it was simply an attack on President Obama's plan. After reading the pamphlet, I have discovered the Repubs ground-breaking proposal to bring the economy around, replace millions of jobs and save the banking system...cut taxes.

Yes, that's it. That's the GOP's plan. They propose cutting the top income tax rate by 10 points from 35% to 25%, cutting tens of trillions of dollars out of our revenue stream, virtually guaranteeing bankrupting the country in nothing flat while claiming that this will magically fix all things underwater. This is how the GOP is responding to the President's plan which has been presented to the public so adults can actually debate its merits. The GOP, trying to respond to their new label of the Party of No, lead by Chairman Rush Limbaugh, resorted to a poorly organized press conference that rolled out their non-budget budget which simply cuts taxes.

But the story here is what is going on behind the scenes. Apparently, Paul Ryan, representative from Wisconsin, has been sequestered for weeks with his staff drafting a Republican budget proposal. A notable signature missing from yesterday's pamphlet? Paul Ryan's. That's correct. Paul Ryan, who has been leading this effort, is nowhere to be found in the stumble-out of the GOP tax cut "plan". Politico is reporting that he and Cantor actually opposed this hasty roll out, pushed by Mike Pence, Republican Conference Chair. Glenn Thrush quoted a staffer about the disagreement:

“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."

Ryan, of course, tried to put a nice face on the disagreement, but when Thrush asked him why the press conference was held before his proposal was ready, Ryan referred him to Mike Pence's office,

"You've got to ask the conference this question, I can't answer that question."

After the Repubs' performance the last 2 months and their kowtowing to Rush Limbaugh, the label is sticking. With a modification. As Robert Gibbs said yesterday,

"I think the 'party of no' has become the party of no new ideas."

So true. And what we've seen so far, it will continue to stay that way.

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