by Todd Beeton, Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 11:32:02 AM EDT
Wow. I guess the Republicans felt they needed to get a handle on this whole "party of No" meme, the sense that all they did was complain and obstruct rather than offer constructive alternatives. So today, they unveiled their budget alternative, which actually wasn't a budget at all, if by budget you mean, ya know, numbers and stuff. But never again let it be said that Republicans don't know how to bind 18 pages together into a presentable packet.
The lack of any statistical heft in their packet left the House GOP stumbling out of the gate as it worked to re-dub itself as the "party of yes," in the words of No. 3-ranked leader Mike Pence (R-IN). House Republicans unveiled an alternative plan for the foreclosure crisis yesterday, and they are continuing to tout their economic stimulus proposal (along with an erroneous claim that it creates more jobs than Obama's).
The GOP's "Road to Recovery" packet, divided into sections on spending limits, job creation/tax reduction, and debt control, is certainly replete with big promises. The plan commits Republicans "to ensur[ing] that the federal budget cannot grow faster than families' ability to pay the bill" ... though it doesn't explain what metric the party would use to measure the "average" family's debt burden.
Another section of the GOP budget packet describes "a new tax deduction that allows businesses with less than 500 employees to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income" ... though it doesn't explain how much the new tax change would cost, nor whether it would be offset to help avoid increasing the deficit.
After cutting away from the president's townhall this morning to cover the unveiling of the Republicans' packet, here is MSNBC's hilarious real time reaction (via e-mail):
Contessa Brewer: Mike Viqueira joins me now. I am very frustrated Mike because we've been waiting for this, we cut away from the President to hear the big build up: Republican have a plan, they have ideas, they're not the Party of No. And, all I heard in that news conference is what they don't like about the President's plan.
Mike Viqueira: Well Norah - Uh Contessa, not Norah, Contessa, I am going to pass that along. They did hold up this uh John Boehner hold up this budget book here and said now we have a plan here is our budget. What it is is, it is a plan in the broad sense of the term. It outlines what the President wants to do in the various policies areas like energy and healthcare and entitlement reform and things of that nature and it talks about what Republicans want to do in very broad terms. It does not have, in the sense of a traditional budget, numbers with estimates, an estimate for how much they would reduce the deficit things of that nature.
When asked about it at his daily press briefing this morning, Robert Gibbs quipped:
- Gibbs trashed the Republicans' budget proposal. "There is exactly one more picture of a windmill than there is of a chart of numbers...The party of no has become the party of no new ideas."
You gotta watch the awkwardness to believe it. Boehner is no showman and look how nervous Cantor looks. He knows they're about to bomb and bomb badly.
What's even sadder: they're actually touting that video over at Republicanleader.house.gov.
Update [2009-3-26 15:40:11 by Todd Beeton]:Sadder still: this diagram from their packet. Is this a joke?
He went on to say, The Republicans cannot produce a budget because to get to the spending levels that theyre talking about would involve cuts they could never support or increases in taxes that they could never support.
Update [2009-3-26 16:23:25 by Todd Beeton]:A-ha, no wonder Cantor looked so nervous:
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) objected to an abbreviated alternative budget "blueprint" released today -- but were told by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) they needed to back the plan, according to several Republican sources.
The argument, coming a week before the full House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the budget, underscores the minority party's woes in a mounting unified opposition to President Obama's $3.7 trillion FY2010 budget proposal.
Ryan, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, plans to introduce a detailed substitute amendment for the Democrats' spending plan next Tuesday or Wednesday -- and still intends to do so.
But he and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats' charge they were becoming the "Party of No," according to House GOP staffers.
This has got to be good for Republicans.