At the conclusion of six interviews with various GOP House members yesterday –three freshmen and three from leadership– Texas Congressman Jeb Henserling told me that “there’ll be a High Noon moment, and I believe we’re going to end up being Gary Cooper and not the other guys.”
The transcripts of the conversations with Henserling, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy are here. Read them for a sense of the gap between the public demanding deep cuts now and the new House GOP. They have lots of arguments about why the course they are on makes sense, lives up to the Pledge and is just the beginning, but neither I nor the listening audience was convinced that the new GOP has shaken off the Beltway pull that forfeited the majority in 2006.
The good news is that all three plus the freshmen –Bob Gibbs, Jim Renacci and David Schweikert– were willing to come on and answer pointed questions from one of their supporters as opposed to another round of MSM inquiries thrown up from a deep pro-spending, pro-Obama bias. The more the House GOP leadership engages with new media and talk radio, the more they will figure out that there is enormous support for stringent measures to return the government to responsible fiscal policy. The Beltway acts as a sound shield that cuts off the opinions of the millions of people who sent the Republicans there and who are urging them to cut deep and cut quickly. The key is for the GOP to stay connected to the voters providing that huge energy so they are not surprised by it when their own town hall meetings arrive this spring and summer.