Thursday, May 26, 2011

All In

The Senate Republicans voted for Paul Ryan’s budget.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday stood by a GOP plan to transform Medicare, one day after the party lost a conservative House district in Upstate New York amid a strong effort by Democrats to make that proposal the central issue.

The measure was defeated in the Democratic-run Senate on Wednesday.

But the unity among Republicans — with only five out of 47 voting against it — served as an important sign that party leaders remain wedded to a deficit-reduction plan that is a loyalty test for many GOP voters but is widely unpopular, according to polls.

I guess it all comes down to what’s more important: show party unity or actually come up with something that will work. It’s no surprise they went with the former.

It’d not really a surprise, either, that they stuck to their position even after the election in New York state that turned a solidly Republican district over to the Democrats. Nor is it a surprise that the GOP would stick with the Ryan plan even though enough economists on both sides of the spectrum have said that the plan is based on fantasy and ideology rather than practical math.

But that’s how they do things in the GOP. They would rather stick with an idea, no matter how whacked it may be, rather than admit to the possibility that they could be wrong. Compromise or reconsideration — usually a sign of maturity and realistic awareness of one’s surroundings — is a sign of weakness to them. (This in spite of the fact that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have done more flip-flopping in the last few weeks than Cirque de Soleil.) To some people, that’s a sign of strength and determination. To the rest of the world, it’s desperation.