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Then Start Talking

Thursday, March 3, 2011  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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From this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican House whip, said his party needs “to have a conversation with people” before moving forward on jarring changes to federal entitlement programs.

Let me translate: We are afraid to put into the FY 2102 budget what we all know needs to go into the FY 2012 budget because the MSM and liberal interest groups will scream that we are killing children and putting old folks on icebergs.

This is very dispiriting, especially the stuff about “a conversation with people” which is exactly what most of the House GOP leadership will not do. Those who come on to talk radio and cable television want to tell you all they have done rather than discuss what choices are on the table and what level of spending reduction has to draw back from the cliff of the fiscal stroke we are courting.

They want to pretend that the $60 billion in cuts is really $100 billion promised by the Pledge and that it is a significant amount. They don’t want to agree that the “limiting amendments” are crucial non-negotiables because they intend to negotiate on them.

But most won’t ecome near an extended interview on budget matters because they simply do not know what to say or not say because House Leadership doesn’t have a plan yet –four months after November 2.

The new GOP Majority is frittering away its November mandate by acting on a schedule and with a lethargy appropriate to a small town in the midwest sitting on a surplus and wondering whether it can make it through another winter with the old snow plow.

The conversation with the people begins with a plan on tackling spending and entitlements. Mark it “draft” and send Ryan on the road to listen to people react to it –just listen, not proclaim. Do six townhalls over six nights in six different cities and let cameras in to each one. Spend 30 minutes talking through the plan and then open the microphones.

The Speaker, Leader Cantor and Whip McCarthy must have the same set of details and must live on talk radio, taking calls especially, listening to reactions. They need to plant themselves in Bennett’s studio, Gallagher’s, Ingraham’s, Prager’s, Hannity’s, Medved’s, Levin’s and mine –and of course Rush and Beck– and talk about the crisis, not appear with Wolf Blitzer for 15 minute of chat with D.C. liberal elites.

Hiding in the Capitol and keeping graphs under cover on tables in back rooms is exactly the wrong way to proceed.
Talking to D.C. elites about high concepts instead of of with Tea Party activists about black-and-white numbers is a mistake. No collision of ideas was every won by backing away from the start.

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