For the third time in four years, Rep. Paul Ryan is releasing the same budget that will essentially gut most government-funded social programs. We’ve heard it all before, in fact the Republicans can probably blame some of the budget for their political losses of 2012, for the unpopularity that the “Path to Prosperity” (i.e. Austerity) owns.
The budget wonkery can easily be explained by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein so there is probably no need for me to get involved with breaking down the numbers. Nonetheless, the “repeal” of the Affordable Care Act is included in the unlikely to be passed and signed into law budget.
We’ve been through this before, Paul Ryan has emerged as a party leader for the GOP so his ideas hold a lot more weight than some no-name backbencher. Still, haven’t we had this debate several times only for it to blow up in the Republican’s faces? To many, Paul Ryan is still the guy who will take away your Medicare and privatize your Social Security. He’s the Republican Party’s main man with numbers but in terms of the mainstream, he’s seen as someone who slashes the budget and your health.
But is there a point? This bill will not get passed nor put into law. It’s unlikely to be a stepping stone to a “grand bargain” that will inevitably come to fruition. If anything, the Republican Party has shown that it does not learn from its mistakes. Obviously the reason for releasing its budget is that the GOP wants to be the party that “does something” and the fact they continue to point out the lack of budgets proposed by the Democrats only intensifies their point.
Still, what has this accomplished for them in the past? There is no growth, there is no transformation, there is no change and there is only one straight direction in which they are moving in. It’s not too different than the 2012 primaries when there best candidates were all retreads from another election or era. They use the same candidates, the same issues, the same controversies, the same soundbites and now, the same budgets.
Paul Ryan might have a reason to continue doing this. Ryan appears to be a wonkish guy who wants his agenda being passed but given the Congressional gridlock, he might be getting rather frustrated with the way things work in Washington. He got a free taste of national exposure by being Mitt Romney’s running mate last year, so everyone in America is mostly familiar with him now. He has the benefit of being well-known.
You can’t help but think that the only name Ryan is trying to promote is that of his own. He’s ambitious, young and has plenty of time to continue to carve out his national profile. He might be one dimensional (draconian slayer of Medicare) but he at least has a dimension.
Still, as tiresome of everyone is over 2016 speculation, you can’t help but get the feeling that the jockeying is still continuing. Everyone wants to be the face of the GOP but no one is gaining any traction.
Which is excellent news for the Democrats.