Over the past two days I have interviewed Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and John Campbell –four budget hawks with decided opinions on the looming debate over the debt ceiling. Most of the transcripts of those conversations are here, and Congressman Campbell’s may yet appear. (His key point: The House intends to draft, pass and send to the Senate a bill linking a debt ceiling hike to specific entitlement reforms.)
This is the message that the GOP needs to begin hammering –now, and every day, on every platform available to it, and especially from the “Big 8”: From the House Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, and Ryan. From the Senate, McConnell, Cornyn, Thune and Hatch. (Ryan and Hatch are the senior GOPers on the key budge/finance committees.) Every other Republican member of the House and Senate need to make this simple message part of their every appearance.
If a day goes by without you seeing, hearing or reading a message from one of these eight, the Hill GOP is failing to conduct the battle for public opinion as it must be waged, and as the president wages it.
If the House quickly drafts and passes the House bill which includes a debt limit hike and the entitlement reforms it must have as part of the deal –and these are going to be very obvious, including a raise in the retirement age for Social Security and eligibility age for Medicare as well as a block grant of Medicaid and a chained CPR wherever necessary), the debate will quickly focus on the president’s refusal to do anything about the fiscal crisis approaching. These are necessary steps, and everyone knows it. Everyone also knows there are no more tax hikes coming. So get on with the messaging, GOP. For once, do it right and do it again, and again, and again.