The House GOP’s fiasco

THE HOUSE GOP’S FIASCO… The rollout of the House Republicans’ not-really-a-budget budget has been a fiasco. But let’s not overlook the fact that it’s not just Democrats who think the GOP’s “Road to Recovery” document is ridiculous.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) raised objections to an abbreviated alternative budget “blueprint” released today — but were told by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) they needed to back the plan, according to several Republican sources. […]

Ryan, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, plans to introduce a detailed substitute amendment for the Democrats’ spending plan next Wednesday — and still intends to do so.

But he and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats’ charge they were becoming the “Party of No,” according to House GOP staffers.

A Republican Hill staffer described as being “heavily involved in budget strategy,” said, “In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan…. I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas.”

Glenn Thrush added that Cantor and Ryan were reportedly “embarrassed” by the document.

Stepping back, perhaps the only thing worse than the document was the strategy behind the document. Republicans were apparently deeply bothered by Democratic criticism about the GOP’s inability to craft a credible agenda of its own. Cantor and Ryan thought it was better to take the hit than play the Democrats’ game and offer up a new target of criticism. The leadership chose to ignore this. The result is a foolish document that will be the butt of jokes for quite a while.

Atrios raised a good point late yesterday: “It’s been sort of weird watching the Republicans flail about. Those of us who began our political lives in the 90s have, I think, been assuming that if there’s one thing the Republicans know how to do was be an opposition party.”

Exactly. Republican officials have certain strengths and weaknesses. They’re bad, for example, at governing. They’re supposed to be good at attacking those who are good at governing.

If yesterday’s fiasco is any indication, GOP lawmakers are slowly becoming bad at both.