Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget didn’t get the votes it needed in the Senate, and Republicans are now scrambling to settle on a strategy for moving forward on making good on their pledge to reduce government spending. The Washington Post gleefully covers this infighting as evidence of disarray and a GOP on the decline.
And that certainly may be the case. It is endlessly frustrating that while most Americans believe government spends too much, any time a true political leader puts forward a path to actually reduce spending (which means spending on actual programs) the public recoils. And when the polls fall, the politicians who were skittish in the first place start backtracking and looking for some compromise that they can claim represents progress, but really amounts to business as usual.
If Republicans want to continue to be seen as the champions of limited government and lower spending, they have to come up with a plan that they will continue to back regardless of the political winds.
Yet while The Washington Post and others will focus on the difficult situation Republicans find themselves in, the real story should be a Democratic party that is completely un-serious about cutting spending or reforming unsustainable entitlement programs. As our friends at SmartGirlPolitics wrote yesterday, it’s been two years since the federal government had a budget. When Democrats enjoyed large majorities in Congress, they didn’t even start the budget process. There wasn’t a Democratic budget because they didn’t want to reveal their plans to continue allowing the government to spiral toward bankruptcy, but certainly weren’t going to offer meaningful spending reductions.
Select Republicans clearly would prefer not to have to take a hard stand on this critical issue, but Democrats should be held to account for their absolute dereliction of duty in the budget process.