Anne Applebaum writes in Slate about the “amnesia” among Republicans regarding their past history of running up deficits--she realizes that the Obama administration has done far worse, but because the GOP is the party of small government, she thinks it has more to answer for than Democrats do:
Before the Republican Party can have any credibility on any spending issues whatsoever, Republican leaders need to speak frankly about the mistakes of the past. They also must be extremely specific about which policies and which programs they are planning to cut in the future. What will it be? Social Security or the military budget? Medicare or the TSA? Vague "anti-government" rhetoric just doesn't cut it anymore: If you want a smaller government, you have to tell us how you will create one.
Apparently she hasn’t read Congressman Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future, which answers every one of her questions, in great detail, with plenty of charts and graphs. He spells out proposals for slowing the growth of Medicare costs, getting Social Security back on track, and offers specifics on how he’d cut the deficit in half. If Republicans win the midterm elections in the House, he’ll be the Budget Committee chair and if any Republican has credibility on spending issues, it’s Ryan.
Yesterday’s Washington Post front page had a long profile of Ryan, which said that Ryan’s Roadmap makes his fellow (unnamed) Republicans “wince” because it has created so much “tension” within the party. While I’m sure some of the longtime GOP incumbents who were there for the Bush years may be a little uncomfortable with Ryan’s ideas, I suspect he creates a lot more “tension” among Democrats than Republicans. Here’s the best part of the article, in which he talks about the voters:
Ryan said he does not think that voters would punish the GOP for shunning attack politics and for speaking plainly about the country's problems. He notes his own political success: He won reelection in 2008 with 62 percent of the vote despite coming from a district and a state that voted for Obama.
"It's really important, I think, not to run campaigns on some vague platitudes and rip down the other party, to hopefully win an election by default," he said. "You have to win an election by acclamation, by aspiration, by telling people who you are and what you are going to do, and then go do it once you get there."
Quotes like that show why people like Paul Ryan. His ability to speak plainly about the country’s problems, and to propose specific common-sense solutions, are becoming the alternative to President Obama’s big-spending, highly partisan, unlimited government agenda. That’s why he makes Democrats, not Republicans, in the House so nervous.