The much-vaunted Paul Ryan Budget got its most famous trial-run in American politics last year, during the presidential election. As much as the Team Romney side tried to bury Ryan’s Ayn Rand Tribute Budget, saying that Mittens would be the one making all the decisions anyway, the fact is that Rep. Ryan’s budget is his one and only claim to fame. The problem for Ryan is that it’s such an obvious ideological circle jerk of a budget that no one on the left will get near it for fear of alienating the poor, sick and elderly folks that the Ryan Budget casually casts aside in favor of injecting A-Rod levels of steroids into the Defense budget. Now, though, it seems that moderate Republicans (I know, it’s hard to believe any exist) may actually be a little tired of the austerity-backed draconian budget that House leadership has foisted on the GOP for the last three years or so.
Though many did vote for his budget in the Spring, the impact of the sequester’s cuts has made some moderates on the right realize that the slash-and-burn way of doing budgets isn’t going to do anything but make the base happy. But Republicans can’t win in non-gerrymandered national elections with just the base, and it seems some in the party have figured it out. Maybe that’s why Senator John McCain has gone back to his traditional role of “maverick” within the party. You had to figure that at some point the Republicans in congress who did still want their party to one day occupy the White House again would start to pull away from the cliff’s edge that the Tea Party represents, it was just hard to tell when.
If it’s moderation running the Republican Party that you desire, you’re going to have to desire a while longer though. The fact is that as good as it is to see Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations saying things like it’s time to work in a bipartisan way with Democrats to find “a realistic spending level to fund the government in a responsible – and attainable – way.” It’s great to read that actually, but there are still the Darrell Issas of the Republican Party. For every one Harold Rogers, you have fifteen Louie Gohmerts. The point being that watching Republicans balk at the Ryan budget actually being put into place is a great development for those of us who believe fiscal responsibility doesn’t have to mean harming the working poor, but moderation is still not the voice of the Republican Party.
Just over this past weekend Gohmert and Donald Trump were the biggest “Republican” names on the Sunday talk show circuit. If the GOP were serious about cleaning up their image, they’d be putting people like Rep. Rogers on national TV, telling the American public it’s time to work with one another and not against. If moderation were going to rule the day in the GOP, leadership would have muzzled Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) long ago, but as of this weekend, he too was still beating the drum for de-funding Obamacare.
What no one in the Republican Party leadership seems to understand is that they don’t just have a messaging problem. They’ve gone over the backside of simple messaging problems and landed squarely in a pile of distrust and disgust. Many, many Americans are watching the GOP do nothing to help the working class, focus on phony-scandals that wouldn’t even be scandals if George W. Bush were still in office, and generally just behaving as if unless you are conservative, white, heterosexual, and male, they have zero desire to help you, or worse yet, to simply protect you from discrimination and abuse.
No, Paul Ryan is still very much a big voice of the Republican Party, but clearly those days are numbered. I figured myself that after being one-half of one of the worst presidential tickets of all time would deep-six his future presidential hopes, but it would appear that as the country sours on Ryan’s Randian Sycophancy, so too is the Republican Party souring on Ryan’s budget, which is a bigger development than them souring on Ryan himself. Deep down, I’m sure they all wish they could take the Ryan Budget and expand on it, but clearly there are some within the party now that are growing tired of not only being the minority party, but being the ever-dwindling, unpopular, anti-populist party.
…and that is a good thing no matter how you look at it.