Political Animal


August 15, 2012 1:04 PM Buyer’s Remorse

By Ed Kilgore

Now this is rich: according to Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, Speaker John Boehner had to hold an evening conference call with Republican House members concerned that Paul Ryan’s presence on the ticket would end up “tying them” to his “controversial plan to rework the nation’s entitlement programs.”

Unless the jittery Members were among the four House Republicans (one of whom is retiring) who voted against Ryan’s budget resolution earlier this year, instead of the 235 who voted for it, then it seems a little cowardly of them to complain about being “tied” to a bill they voted for so recently. Since the bill represented pretty much the entire GOP agenda for this Congress, I can’t imagine they didn’t think it would come up on the campaign trail, with or without Ryan on the ticket. Boehner apparently advised them to get right on those talking points about Obama’s massive cuts to Medicare, without mentioning they had voted for that, too, in the Ryan budget.

Accountability’s tough, ain’t it?

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • TCinLA on August 15, 2012 1:22 PM:

    Too bad Colonel Graf Claus von Stauffenberg wasn't at the meeting with his briefcase.

  • greenfairy on August 15, 2012 1:22 PM:

    Accountability? There's no accountability unless the Dems get off their butts and get their message out to enough voters.

  • Josef K on August 15, 2012 1:25 PM:

    Unless the jittery Members were among the four House Republicans (one of whom is retiring) who voted against Ryan’s budget resolution earlier this year, instead of the 235 who voted for it, then it seems a little cowardly of them to complain about being “tied” to a bill they voted for so recently.

    You expected actual courage from these guys? I'll be amazed if any of them show their faces in public any time before November 30th.

  • Rugosa on August 15, 2012 1:33 PM:

    1) They knew the Ryan budget didn't stand a chance of passing the Senate, so voting for it was cheap grandstanding to the Tea Party base without the risk of being held accountable for the consequences if it had passed.

    2) They hoped/expected that a few months down the road no one would remember that they voted for it, so there would be no risk of accountability.

  • MuddyLee on August 15, 2012 1:35 PM:

    You have to assume that congressional republicans (not worthy of capitalization) just didn't know what was in the Paul Ryan budget - because like the ACA it had "too many pages" in it. Maybe if Obama started talking about killing Medicare and Medicaid the repubs would do a 180 and decide they had to try and save these programs.

  • jsjiowa on August 15, 2012 1:37 PM:

    I imagine it's one thing to take a vote that your opponent can use against you (if the opponent takes the time to look for bad votes)-- a lot of voters don't pay attention to that kind of campaign dialogue, though; it must be another thing entirely for these guys to contemplate the down-ticket effect of bad Presidential campaign which is making national headlines.

  • Ronald on August 15, 2012 1:42 PM:

    Recent poll showed congress approval rating down to 10%.
    I think some people are paying some attention.
    Additionally, in several special elections recently, the Democrat used the Ryan Budget vote extensively against their opponents and won with that.
    There's a reason Boner and the Republicans are scared.

  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2012 1:56 PM:

    John, John, John:
    You live with your "base," and you die with your "base."
    Especially if your "base" is so base.

    And who are the 10% of Americans who approve of this Congress?
    Can they have this many friends, family members, cronies, and rich people they're indebted to?

  • Patience on August 15, 2012 2:15 PM:

    TCinLA, that's a horrible statement to make, even if you thought it was in jest.

    Anyway, I continue to be amazed by the gall of the GOP-- voting for the Ryan budget, attacking Obama for making cuts in Medicare which are enshrined in the Ryan budget, and then wondering how to disassociate themselves from attacks on Ryan which might bring up the Ryan budget which they voted for. They could teach Epke Zonderland things about backflips.

  • boatboy_srq on August 15, 2012 2:21 PM:

    @Rugosa - what we're seeing here is the same sort of buyers' remorse that FL is experiencing under Gov. Voldemort.

    Hey, folks, this is what you said you wanted....

  • stormskies on August 15, 2012 2:21 PM:

    It is amazing with these Repiglican creeps ..first they must be victimized by everything so as to have the necessary scape goats to blame for that which they are responsible for, and now they need to make themselves victims to them self .. it's fucking incredible ...

  • Peter C on August 15, 2012 2:23 PM:

    Apparently, not all Republicans like the idea of 'doubling down'. Too bad, eh? That's what the Ryan pick was - doubling down.

    The essential questions at this point are:
    will lies and voter suppression be enough?
    will negative ads depress turnout of independents enough?
    will all the Republican sabotage to the recovery succeed in dampening it sufficiently?
    will 'low-information-voters' remain sufficiently uninformed?
    will Obama and the Obama campaign make some horrible error?

    I agree that by picking Ryan, Romney has given us the chance to make this a landslide Democratic victory. We know that if they win by only one vote, they'll declare they have a 'mandate' and that'll be all she wroet for us. Obama is an excellent campaigner. But, we've all got to do our part.

  • Mitch on August 15, 2012 2:29 PM:


    "And who are the 10% of Americans who approve of this Congress?"

    My guess is the 10% breaks down like this:

    0.5% are those Americans who happen to be friends/family/backers of people in Congress and do not want to speak ill of their associates.

    9.5% are the people who suffer from Severe Obama Derangement Syndrome and can't hate Congress because they are too busy hating the President.

  • Lar 5 on August 15, 2012 2:53 PM:

    Romney and Ryan scare the heck out of every senior I know. They are able to live fairly well because of medicare and social security. Take apart that safety net along with medicaid and a lower standard of living and possibly bankruptcy could be their future. The rich and worry free Ryan and Romney are ignorant of the real world and struggles of senior life.

  • Ronald on August 15, 2012 3:09 PM:

    @c u n d
    Interesting enough, dislike for congress is across the board. Approval ratings for congress is 9% for Dem, 10% for Rep, and 11% for independents.
    So it's not just the faux news crowd

  • T2 on August 15, 2012 3:56 PM:

    @Ronald - yes "both sides do it". I can't count how many times I've heard the Republicans in the House and Senate vote down a Dem or Obama plan or nominee (and some of his plans were good ones) and picked up the paper the next morning to read the following headline: "Congress Rejects Obama Proposal". Then you get to the article and it says "the House voted down Obama's plan on a straight party line vote with all Republicans voting NO".

  • Doug on August 15, 2012 7:25 PM:

    Mr. Kilgore used the word "accountability" in the same post as "Republican"?
    Come to think of it, that's about as close to being accountable as any Republican thinks they have to be nowadays...

  • Renai on August 15, 2012 11:53 PM:

    It's too bad the polls can't single out the Congress culprits. Using the generic Congress is roping a lot of good people in with the bad.

    Republicans are greased pigs, they manage to slide out from under responsibility at every turn, as if God really is on their side...or if not He, then some equally helpful deity running to and fro across the earth.