Really irritating, and I say that knowing it’ll damage my cherished RINO cred. From his letter tonight to Reid and McConnell:
I am disappointed that despite passing six different FY 2011 Continuing Resolutions, each with the understanding that passage would move bi-partisan negotiations further along, that we are once again faced with the likelihood of a government shutdown. A government shutdown absolutely serves no purpose and is in no one’s best interests. I stand ready to work with each of you, to do what it takes—and to put politics aside—and work on behalf of a greater good to ensure that Congress reach a bi-partisan compromise for FY 2011 and avoid a government shutdown.
Our collective work begins by having a clear understanding of the seriousness of our budget crisis and what is at stake if we fail to address it. We can all agree that we simply cannot continue on this reckless, unsustainable course. Reducing and eliminating needless spending and programs are appropriate, but a wholesale reduction in spending, without considering economic, cultural, and social impacts is simply irresponsible. We must also be mindful that many of the proposed spending reductions would disproportionately affect the neediest among us, including housing and heating assistance. Likewise, some of the proposed cuts would be economically counterproductive, negatively impacting our ability to innovate and invest in research and development.
Deficit reduction is a necessary goal for our country. But deficit reduction should not be achieved in isolation of our priorities as a government and a society.
Translation: “Dear Massachusetts voters — just a reminder that I’m basically an independent now.” I don’t know what annoys me more, the sheer vacuousness of the let’s-cut-but-let’s-be-reasonable bromides or his suggestion that GOP deficit hawks are blindly slashing spending without regard for how it’ll affect people. The baseline Republican demand of $61 billion in cuts would remove a bucketful of red ink from a giant reservoir; even a fiscal conservative as stalwart as Rand Paul is limiting himself to cuts of $500 billion, just a third of this year’s deficit alone. If you’re going to blanch at “cultural impacts” when the GOP breaks out its safety scissors, what’ll happen when Ryan and company break out the scalpel and go after entitlements? And incidentally, Brown himself is a co-sponsor of the new Balanced Budget Amendment (as are all 47 Republican senators). He realizes, I hope, that if that were to pass, the hard choices he’d be forced to make in appropriating federal spending would be way, way tougher than the chump change we’re talking about right now.
Here’s Pence at this morning’s tea party rally outside the Capitol making the counterargument. Say this much for Brown, though: As a retail politician, the guy knows exactly what he’s doing. According to Democrats’ own internal polling, his approval ratings stands at 73 percent. Six months after Republicans were destroyed in Massachusetts, even amid a red wave nationwide, no prominent Democrat in the state polls within 10 points of him head-to-head. And of course, the more tea partiers grouse about him, the more it polishes his indie cred for centrist Democrats. There’s actually a small chance that, in the bluest of blue states, with Obama at the top of the ticket, the Dems won’t even bother running a top-flight challenger against him next year for fear that it’d be a lost cause. Simply amazing.