The Republicans’ brand is spending cuts. Cutting spending has appeal in the abstract, but has no appeal in the detail. All spending items benefit somebody, and therefore all spending items have a constituency somewhere among the electorate.
That is why there is no Republican agenda in the public domain that specifies what specific spending Republicans want to cut. Republicans don’t want to make anyone mad, and so they say that it is the president who has to develop and take to the public an agenda of specific spending cuts sufficient to meet Republican goals.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, the last time the president did such a thing, the Republicans dishonestly demagogued the issue, suggesting that the president was in favor of “gutting Medicare” when in fact he was speaking favorably about savings achievable in that program that were included in Paul Ryan’s Republican budget.
There is no question that the president and his supporters recognize the need for spending cuts and that the president is ready willing and able to support significant spending cuts. But it is the Republicans who, in light of their past behavior, will have the burden of bringing to the floor of public debate the program of specific cuts Republicans sponsor as proper and sufficient to achieve their budgetary goals.
Alfred Y. Kirkland Jr.
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