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Another Day Wasted: The GOP Did Nothing On Tuesday To Focus The Debate. How About On Wednesday?

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John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Did you see any of the House GOP leadership making any arguments yesterday about the debt ceiling and the need for entitlement reform?

I briefly caught Greg Walden on the phone with Neil Cavuto just prior to the start of my radio show, but that was it and the head of the NRCC wasn’t talking about driving a debt ceiling/entitlement reform bill through the House to put on Harry Reid’s desk. (Cavuto’s program, btw, is the most serious on daytime television when it comes to policy talk.)

As I explained yesterday, and I discussed last week with Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other key Republican legislators, the GOP cannot move the debate on the debt limit and spending reform without a vehicle to focus public opinion on, a vehicle with specific entitlement reforms. 

The debt ceiling/entitlement reform debate is fighting for time with the nomination of Chuck Hagel and the various gun control proposals.  I spent time on both subjects yesterday –-transcripts of my interviews with Bill Kristol and Bret Stephens are here on the subject of Hagel’s extremist views—and the pull of these headline grabbers is enormous.

The debt limit by contrast is remote and difficult to understand.  The public needs a means of getting the debate over it framed in terms that can be understood.  That takes repetition and focus. 

Apparently House leadership is taking the week off.  Then they’ll have a “retreat” that is largely closed to the press.  Then they will debate what to do behind closed doors.  Then they will wonder why the score is 21-0 in favor of the president.

The House GOP is playing the president the way Notre Dame played Alabama, and probably with the same result.  Hope that it changes, soon.

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