Thursday, May 26, 2011

GOP Over-Reach

E.J. Dionne writes in The Washington Post that the outcome of the special Congressional election in New York's traditionally Republican 26th district suggests that the influence of the Tea Party may be both over-stated and waning.

How closed are Republicans to dissent from the sacred scripture of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan? When David Gregory asked Newt Gingrich on “Meet the Press” what voters would make of turning Medicare “into a voucher program where you give seniors some premium support,” Gingrich said they’d see it as “right-wing social engineering.” Poor Newt. He’s since had to repent in humiliating ways for telling the truth.

Then came Tuesday’s thunder out of western New York. Democrat Kathy Hochul won her surprisingly comfortable special-election victory in the very Republican 26th Congressional District, largely because of the early endorsement her Republican opponent, Jane Corwin, gave to Ryan’s budget and its Medicare proposals.

I agree with Dionne that the GOP has badly over-estimated public support for reducing government. Conservative blogger David Frum has questioned the wisdom of radically reforming a very popular program like Medicare while simultaneously advocating for more tax cuts for the wealthy. With the GOP painting itself into this policy corner plus a weak field of potential 2012 opponents for Barak Obama, it is hard for me to see how Obama won't win big without a complete collapse of the economy or some awful scandal.

--Ballard Burgher

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