What Does a Republican Want?

So U.S. Rep. Martin Stutzman (R-IN) has become not only a poster boy for alleged Republican “nihilism,” but a punching bag for the president:

President Barack Obama didn’t mention the Indiana Republican by name during his Thursday morning speech to a Rockville, Md., construction company, but he did make sure to rub the GOP’s sentiments in the blue collar-crowd’s faces.

“Just yesterday, one House Republican said — I’m quoting here, all right, because I want to make sure people understand I didn’t make this up — one House Republican said, ‘We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this, and I don’t know what that even is.’

“Think about that. You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There’s no higher honor than that,” 44 told the assembled workers, who, according to media reports, both laughed and clapped for the ready-made punch line.

So per Roll Call’s Warren Rojas, Stutzman’s trying some damage control:

About an hour after being lampooned by POTUS, Stutzman’s press shop issued the following mea culpa:

“Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker Boehner’s work on behalf of the American people. Despite my remarks it’s clear that the American people want both parties to come to the table to reopen the government, tackle this nation’s debt crisis, and stop ObamaCare’s pain.”

Best of luck with the rest of your backpedaling, sir.

Well, it is likely Republicans want to “tackle his nation’s debt crisis (sic!)” which means cutting domestic spending (probably enough to accommodate some more tax cuts) and “stop ObamaCare’s pain,” and would reopen the federal government if they made progress on those two goals. But attributing this agenda to “the American people”–twice!–is an incredibly annoying and cowardly habit.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.