On January 3, 2011, after being elected speaker of the House, John Boehner is going to have to stand before the American people and inform them how the Republicans are going to clean up President Obama’s mess. A consensus is emerging among economic policy wonks and private economists that things are so bad thanks to the massive spending of the Obama administration that it is going to be impossible to grow our way out of $1.5 trillion deficits without painful — and politically unpopular — cuts in middle-class entitlements.
The GOP is going to have to do something that neither party has demonstrated a capacity to accomplish: look the American people in the eye and give them the straight scoop about how bad things are, and what it is going to cost them to get the economy, the budget, and the country back on track. This is exactly what Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels have done during their terms in office and it has made them the most popular politicians in their states.
Might it not also work on a national level? Making the argument for repealing much of what Obama and the Democrats railroaded through Congress these last two years is easy. Telling seniors that Medicare needs to be cut and that changes need to be made to Social Security so that it survives long enough for their grandchildren to receive benefits is going to be a tough sell. Cutting other favored health and welfare programs will also hurt. Perhaps even military spending will have to be drastically curtailed.