Spectator alumnus Phil Klein takes a moment to acknowledge the achievements of both the Tea Party and the GOP in passing Paul Ryan’s budget in the House:
Traditionally, the obstacle to getting either party to embrace entitlement reform was that there was a risk to going on record as wanting to change these popular programs , while doing nothing was safe. However, at least for Republicans, that dynamic has shifted, and doing nothing is politically risky. And the credit for that development goes to the Tea Parties for putting pressure on Republicans to get serious about spending.
The Ryan budget will not become law in its current state as long as Obama is president. While the prevailing wisdom is that this vote could make Republicans more vulnerable in 2012, the flip side is that if Democrats pull out all the stops to demagogue the issue, and House Republicans hang on and the GOP even gains Senate seats, it will end the third-rail status of these entitlement programs that, if unchanged, will rob future generations of the American Dream.
There will be a lot of opportunities to criticize GOP leaders going forward, but today, they deserve a pat on the back.
In addition to everything else, it takes away the Democrats’ main talking point of the 2010 midterms, which was that Republicans wouldn’t raise taxes on the rich but refused to outline spending cuts. Now Republicans have spending cuts to point to, cutting off that line of attack.