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A Trap of Their Own Making

If you think the Republican budget proposal written by Paul Ryan was bad — gutting Medicare and giving tax breaks to the rich — consider that it could have been worse. The Republican Study Committee (RSC) wrote an alternative budget that was Ryan on steroids, all but destroying the social contract and giving even larger tax breaks to the wealthy. Of course, if this budget ever actually passed it would be hugely unpopular and would destroy the reelection chances of many Republican Congress-members.

So when the RSC budget came up for a vote in the House, the Democrats did a crafty thing — instead of voting no, they voted “present”. The RSC has 176 members, so the Republicans suddenly had enough votes to pass this suicidal budget. Watch as pandemonium breaks out as the Republicans realize that they have walked into a trap of their own making:

What do the Republicans do when given the choice of sticking up for their declared principals or chickening out? In the end, a bunch of RSC members had to publicly flip-flop and vote against their own proposed budget, and it was narrowly defeated 119 to 136 (with 172 Dems voting “present”).

UPDATE: Paul Ryan is booed at a town hall meeting in his district when he tries to defend tax cuts for the rich.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Politicians on both sides playing games while we’re in a crisis. Wonderful, just great.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    I disagree. I think exposing the political games being played by the RSC is not itself a political game.

    I also find it hypocritical that some people who accuse the Dems of being spineless then turn around and condemn them when they do stand up to the GOP.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  3. Jason Ray wrote:

    I couldn’t agree more, PSGT. The RSC budget does draw the line pretty starkly, however, as it describes exactly what the extreme conservative leadership wants to do to America. While I support people having strong opinions on both sides and feel that we need a conservative viewpoint as much as we need a liberal one, there is a difference between principled disagreement and inflexible idiocracy. The Republicans are rapidly throwing themselves back under the bus – they are proving to be even worse than the Democrats painted them. Frankly I don’t want to live in a country that went to EITHER extreme.

    What is truly saddening is that I would wager if we got all the House members in a room – one at a time – and talked about many of our challenges we would find broad agreement on objectives, and even some bi-partisan agreement on solutions. The combination of primaries being owned by the extremists of both parties and the party leadership and political machines in Washington being rigged for maximum conflict makes it difficult if not impossible to let wiser heads be heard.

    I was just on a No Labels call with Evan Bayh, the former Democratic Senator from Indiana, and he was discussing exactly how rigged the game is – if you, as a Congressman or Senator, don’t toe the party line and “show solidarity” supporting things you seriously oppose, you are systematically blocked from having any influence (your bills don’t get read, you don’t get on committees, etc.) and they target you in the next election to replace you with someone more biddable. That’s true for both parties, although the Republicans are especially virulent and making sure everyone stays on the same talking points.

    I think our citizens are starting to realize how bad the situation is now. Thanks to 12 years of mismanagement under the Republicans trying to implement their agenda we are in the grip of the worst national crisis since World War 2 – in terms of having the future of our nation at risk. And the Democratic leadership (with the sometimes exception of Obama) has been focused on their agenda instead of the crisis. We all need to demand that our public servants listen to us and rise to the occasion, and stop wasting time while all of our lives are in real jeopardy. We should all talk to everyone we know and make sure that as much as possible everyone gets to the ballot box in 2012 (ESPECIALLY in the primaries) and makes sure we send some people to Washington that are truly concerned about us, will focus on solutions not rhetoric, and will tell their leadership to shove it when necessary.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I’m not calling them spineless, they passed HCR no matter what, yes. I want them to come up with a plan and stop sniping at the only people that seem to be trying (however wrong we may think it is) to come up with a plan. Whats the DEM plan, aside from the president who at least had the guts to also through a plan into the ring. Whats the Pelosi/Reid plan since they are still the leaders of the house minority and senate majority.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink
  5. Jason Ray wrote:

    And keep in mind there are only 545 people responsiblke for all our problems.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    Jason, there is an entire country responsible for the problems that we face. The electorate has the elected leadership that it elected. Pogo was right.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  7. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I only saw one side playing games. I saw the other side call them out on it. Maybe I read a different article!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  8. Jason Ray wrote:

    @Don – correct, we put those 545 people in place so we all share some collective responsibility. That’s why everyone needs to get engaged and vote, especially in the primaries, for the best people to represent their views and that will focus on actually solving problems.

    At the end of the day, thoguh, Reese’s point is still correct – everything that’s been put in place can be changed if we have the right majority of those 545 people.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    But the Republicans want to go back to the days when the rules to vote are so hard, people can’t vote. I recently read Rosa Parks “My story”. She tried three times to pass the literacy test before they would offer her a voting card in the South. (The White were all Democrats then) She, herself, because she was so bright had attended a very strong school run by some white women from the North until they were run out of town. Plus her mother was a school teacher and taught Rosa on her own.

    The Repugs in the South who used to be the Democrats of George Wallace party are going to require Photo IDs and do everything they can to keep the poor from voting in the 2012 election.

    And we go back to the middle ages.

    I am shocked at people’s reaction when I mention Obama’s name to people. It is sort of like “Oh, he’s a politician, you can’t trust him.” They know nothing about him.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  10. C-Dawg wrote:

    Overheard from Boehner after the vote: “Guess I better check the voting math in the future before I let those RSC dipshits bring any more legislation to a vote”.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  11. Congress really is just a giant football game. But that’s generally the way that the FF designed it. Inefficient government was the idea. Unfortunately, they didn’t predict the kinds of convoluted intricacies that would spring forth and break government the way that they have. What happens when an inefficient government has to fix itself? We’re witnessing it.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink
  12. Patricia wrote:

    Just when you feel like you should “fall on your sword” things change! Check this out — conservatives smell a rat in Ryan’s budget plans:

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  13. Mike wrote:

    Politicalirony is probably getting money from labor unions to attack any attempt to be fiscally responsible.

    Labor unions like the NEA give out huge grants to websites that air their anti-Republican views.

    The NEA gave $110,000 to Thinkprogress for example:

    “Center for American Progress: $110,000”

    The NEA is also in bed with the corporate oligarchy. In 2008 they urged their supporters to contact their representatives to encourage them to vote for the $700 billion bank bailout, the largest transfer of wealth from the general population to the banking oligarchy in US history:

    Friday, April 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ha ha ha ha. The only thing I get any money from is Google AdSense, and that is usually around $2 a day.

    You don’t have to pay me to point out rank hypocrisy, no matter which party it comes from.

    Friday, April 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  15. Skiff wrote:

    “I only saw one side playing games. I saw the other side call them out on it.”

    That is what I saw too. And it worked brilliantly.

    Friday, April 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

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