Ok, I get it. The freshman all came in high on power, believing that they had a mandate to ruthlessly slash government spending. But how hard would it have been for Boehner to point out that they’d just won their seats because they’d convinced a bunch of elderly people that Obama was trying to kill them by destroying Medicare? Oh, and by the way, if they want to stay in office they’d need those elderly people to vote for them again?
Boehner’s freshmen are a handful, no doubt about it. But it’s his job to manage that and he made a mistake with this one. He allowed them to alienate seniors, the one group they desperately need to keep if they are to be competitive. He sets the agenda and he should have chosen something far less politically damaging to feed to his slavering freshman vultures. It shouldn’t be hard. They hate everything about government. They couldn’t find something other than the government’s most popular programs right out of the gate?
The article says they are trying to figure out how to save the situation. They clearly haven’t done so. Last week they forced Newt Gingrich to grovel and squirm for days for insulting their plan and former Tea Party dreamboat Scott Brown twisted himself into a pretzel finally deciding today that he wasn’t going to support it, writing:
“The sooner Congress addresses this, the less painful it is likely to be — but more difficult adjustments will be required if we delay,” he wrote. “We should start by making improvements to the traditional Medicare plan.”
(I can just hear Newt whining, “How come he gets to say that?”)
This is a huge political problem for the GOP. It could fade if the Democrats allow them to take it off the table. (The Politico article says that Joe Biden’s bi-partisan group may do that, but it’s hard to see how they can unless Democrats are total fools. Oh wait ...) But there’s nobody to blame except for Boehner, Cantor and Paul Ryan for this mess. And I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll pay for it with their jobs. The Democrats may be fools, but the Republicans are ruthless when their leadership fails them. Just ask Newtie. He knows all about it.