In an interview with The Associated Press, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan says that the GOP will “lead with their chin” and soon propose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in an effort to balance the budget:
In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, the Wisconsin lawmaker and chairman of the House Budget Committee said the House Republicans’ budget proposal for the 2012 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 will propose fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid, the giant health care programs that cover 100 million Americans and whose combined costs rival the defense budget.
Ryan offered no specifics, saying details are still being hashed out…
…Endorsing reduced Social Security checks for future seniors or raising the retirement age is viewed by many Republicans as well as Democrats as political suicide without cover from President Barack Obama. And some see the effort as futile when Republicans control only the House and a presidential election just over the horizon.
Whether or not you agree with the idea that Medicare and Medicaid need to be cut, you have to give some kudos to Ryan for acknowledging that any serious attempts to balance the budget are going to require more than just soundbytes about “cutting government waste.” With that said, the political reality of what Ryan is saying can only lead to disaster for the GOP in 2012.
We’ve talked for months about how the GOP has painted itself into a corner by promising a massive budget cuts to the Tea Party. Republicans are in a no-win situation of their own creation, because following up on that promise can only be done by really angering the vast majority of voters who most certainly do not want to see cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And as The Huffington Post notes, any such proposal by House Republicans will almost certainly be stopped cold in the Senate, allowing Democrats to say that they saved the popular programs.
Republicans can do what they promised, making the Tea Party happy but giving Democrats an incredible message and likely ensuring defeat in a general election…or they can stay away from unpopular cuts, thus defaulting on campaign promises and risking Primary challenges from the right. Hence the old saying that “leading with your chin” is a good way to get knocked out.