As MoveOn, Planned Parenthood, and others try to distract the country by insisting the House Republican leadership’s most important issue somehow involves redefining rape (they weren’t trying to, but they’re now taking away the distraction), Paul Ryan is offering the House GOP’s plan to cut non-security (and — going beyond the Pledge — with a surprise $60 billion in security spending, too) discretionary spending to pre-stimulus levels for the remainder of the fiscal year. A first substantial step, is what a senior House aide called it.
There is a (three-pronged) culture war going on, but not quite the way MSNBC describes it. This new House has been transparent about their agenda; it’s about big-picture sustainability and who we are. You could even say it’s about winning the future.
But scare tactics can be powerful, and the Left means business. Earlier this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted 19 Republicans, some of them freshmen. These members are getting hit hard because they want to cut spending — you know, the reason they won in the first place.
As the House gets to work, Ryan is taking on a national role, not only as Budget Committee chairman but also as a political player who educates, communicates, listens, and supports those of his colleagues who are willing to do the same. This Tuesday night, he held a tele-townhall — some excerpts are online here – via the Prosperity Project, his political action committee. A source familiar with his political plans comments that Ryan knows he is looked to as pointman on the economy and the budget, and knows that the DCCC is going to “fight tooth and nail for every last government program.”
One potential Senate candidate told me yesterday, “You don’t always get a second chance, and Republicans in Washington have one now, in large part thanks to the tea party.” John Boehner has been talking for a year now about how Republicans should be kicked out if they don’t keep their Pledge promises and do better than they’ve done before. I think you see a real seriousness here. As one Ryan observer put it, the Wisconsin congressman knows his “new responsibility to his colleagues, to his caucus, to his country. He wants to win arguments and educate on these critical economic issues.”
We’ve seen him do that before, of course. But look for “increasingly robust” efforts on his part, I’m told.