Vote first, details later

VOTE FIRST, DETAILS LATER…. A few weeks ago, Linda McMahon, the wrestling company executive turned Republican Senate candidate, was asked how she’d approach entitlement policy if elected. McMahon replied that she’d like to talk about the issue, but “I just don’t believe that the campaign trail is the right place to talk about that.”

It’s an interesting approach to the political process. McMahon wants people to elect her to the U.S. Senate, and then she’ll tell the public how she intends to use the powers of her office. McMahon could answer questions now, but voters may not care for the answers. It’s preferable, then, to keep the public in the dark.

This attitude was on display yesterday on the Sunday shows, too.

Two Republican leaders defended the lack of specificity in the party’s new “Pledge to America” on Sunday, saying it was a starting point for identifying problems and then moving toward meaningful solutions. […]

“Let’s not get to the potential solutions,” [House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on “Fox News Sunday.”] “Let’s make sure Americans understand how big the problem is. Then we can begin to talk about possible solutions and then work ourselves into those solutions that are doable.”

Boehner added that he wants to “have this conversation first,” but that’s not quite what he meant — by “this conversation,” Boehner was suggesting the campaign should be built around pointing to problems, not proposing solutions.

So, on Thursday, House GOP leaders said they were presenting an agenda and providing a blueprint of how Republicans would use their majority. By Sunday, House GOP leaders were saying their agenda isn’t really an agenda, and it’s premature to “get to the potential solutions.”

When host Chris Wallace pressed further, looking for details on the kinds of cuts Americans can expect to see from Republicans, Boehner replied that specifics on this “invite all kinds of problems.”

Yes, “problems” like “losing.”

Look, we’re not dealing with a complete mystery here. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has released his budget blueprint — which has drawn support from a variety of far-right members and candidates — and it calls for radical cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It’s the only way Republicans could even try to pay for their trillions of dollars in tax cuts, and it’s an approach Americans would fundamentally reject.

Which is exactly why Boehner doesn’t want to talk about it. Instead, we’re stuck with GOP leaders trying to convince Americans to take a leap of faith — vote for the folks whose policies created this mess, whose numbers don’t add up, and whose agenda will remain deliberately vague until they’re in office and it’s too late for voters to register their disapproval.

And if the Democratic base is prepared to sit out the elections, Boehner’s game plan will likely work pretty effectively.