The GOP Message: Deep Cuts Everywhere But Defense
The furious attempt by Democrats to spin the debt talks impasse reached new levels of absurdity in the two emails from Democratic staffers that Mike Allen reprinted in Politico today:
–Email from a top Democratic aide, re last night’s White House meeting: “First off, a number of folks in the room were struck by the fact that Cantor did virtually all of the talking for House Republicans, while Boehner basically just sat there. Second, Reid expressed frustration that every time we try to do something big on the deficit, Republicans walk away from the table. He cited the fiscal commission (when the 7 Republican cosponsors voted against the commission’s findings), Coburn walking away from the Gang of 6, Cantor walking away from the Biden talks, and now Boehner walking away from the big deal in the latest round. Differences over substance aside, his point was about process – we’re never going to get anything big done for the country if Republicans keep walking away from the table every time talks get serious.”
–Another top Dem. aide emails: “To date, Congressional Republicans have voted no on the Simpson-Bowles commission, pulled out of the Gang of Six, abandoned the Biden-led talks, and rejected the President’s ‘grand bargain’-style offer. The more they keep rejecting compromises for averting a default, the more likely the public is to hold them accountable for the consequences.”
Notice the attempt to push out a coordinated message? Which goes to show why the GOP shouldn’t negotiate in multiple forums with Democrats who arrive determined to raise taxes, as these various charades are just theatricals designed to punish the GOP via the Manhattan-Beltway Media Elite chatter after the show is over.
The GOP push back is simple enough and will be devastatingly effective if any senior GOP leader will but make the effort to speak clearly and directly:
“We aren’t raising taxes, but we need to cut trillions in spending immediately. We aren’t cutting national defense, period, so that means $2 trillion in domestic spending. When the president brings us a list of at least $2 trillion in cuts he will support, we will meet again. If he doesn’t bring us that list, we won’t raise the debt ceiling.”
This is an easy message to convey. The president and the Senate Democrats haven’t done a budget and haven’t proposed any cuts. They are essentially children, refusing to deal with the reality before them, demanding that serious people join them in another fantasy round of tax hikes and spending and massive deficits. The GOP has to say no and no again and again, and keep pointing out that all the president need do is produce a list totaling at least $2 trillion in cuts.
This would have the effect of returning the public’s attention to the epic fail that is the Obama presidency and the Democratic Majority in the Senate. If fiscal chaos is ahead it is because the president and his colleagues insisted on it.
I point again to my column in today’s Washington Examiner. If the House GOP leadership cannot manage this very simple communication strategy, then the Conference ought to put someone into a new job who can. This message isn’t that hard to communicate, especially the “no cuts to defense” and “no new taxes” parts.