In all likelihood, the Republicans will retake the House in November. There are those who will say they won’t get the 39 seats they’ll need to make John Boehner the Speaker of the House, but don’t believe them. The GOP is ahead by 10 points on the generic Congressional ballot at present, which is a number almost unprecedented in modern times.
It’s going to be a blowout.
So now the real question is, what does it mean if the Republicans get control of the House? Will this be the Newt Gingrich GOP majority, or the Denny Hastert GOP majority? In other words, will the Republicans actually offer a vision put forth by talented people, or will the coming majority be bogged down by hack leadership?
It’s hard to say which of the two possibilities we’ll get. So far, the latter seems somewhat likely.
But that’s not to say there aren’t some good people bubbling up in the party. On the most important issue facing the country, namely the atrocious shape of the public fisc and the complete refusal of the federal government even to acknowledge the problem, Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the best to come down the pike in decades. Ryan has put together a program to completely revamp federal spending, scored by the Congressional Budget Office to do exactly what he says it will do, and is vigorous and compelling in its defense.
Take, for example, this clip of the Congressman as he educates media dunce Chris Matthews on fiscal policy yesterday…
You would think a guy like Ryan, who is not trying to run for president in 2012 and is only really interested in putting the country’s fiscal house in order, would be front and center for the GOP this year. But he isn’t. In fact, the party seems to be running away from Ryan at present, for fear that engaging in substantive discussions of major issues will jeopardize the easy win in November. That some of Ryan’s ideas – medical vouchers for Medicare recipients so as to reintroduce consumer choice and market forces to medical care, or private accounts in lieu of Social Security for workers 54 and under, as examples – can easily be demogogued by the other side doesn’t help. But it’s a fundamental disrespect for the American people not to present ideas and solutions, even though they might be controversial before being fully explained, in advance of an election. And that’s a shame.
One of two criticisms of Boehner and the Republican leadership can be made. Either they are, as the Obama administration and its Democrat lackeys in Congress claim, “the party of no,” lacking in ideas or solutions – in which case there is a certain merit to giving them the leadership anyway so as merely to stop the worst of Obama’s abuses going forward – or they’re guilty of what Nancy Pelosi was rightly villified for in the health care debate when she infamously said Congress had to pass Obamacare so that we could then see what was in it. If the GOP wants to practice a stealth campaign on the American people without offering at least some specifics on a plan of governance, they really can’t claim any moral superiority over the liars, crooks and tyrants they seek to replace.
Ryan has offered such a plan. Furthermore, it’s attractive stuff. The 45-and-under crowd isn’t invested in the Social Security religion the way previous generations have been; surveys show more of that generation believe in UFO’s than the idea a Social Security check will be there in our old age. And since Medicare is going broke even faster than Social Security, there is no reason to believe it’s going to survive to 2030 or so either. So for the party to fail to embrace his structure is a shame. It speaks to a Denny Hastert level of mediocrity which ultimately doomed the party to deserved minority status in the first place.
For those of us who see America sliding into the abyss thanks to an overweening, unlimited, arrogant and all-consuming federal government, a return to the flaccid incompetence of the Hastert House is not acceptable. If Boehner wants to truly deserve his office, he had better begin listening to the people on his team who have actual talent rather than meaningless seniority. The country is begging for disciplined, principled leadership. Freezing a bright young talent like Ryan out of the discussion shows the GOP isn’t as ready to provide that leadership as it advertises itself to be; meaning that while it’s still quite worthwhile to vote to fire Nancy Pelosi in November, the expectations beyond such an action should be held to a very meager level.