Okay…First came this...(Via Politico.)
The top House Republican campaign official broke with other GOP leaders Wednesday in criticizing President Barack Obama over his “chained CPI” proposal.
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Obama was “trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors” with the plan, which would change the way Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are calculated.
Now, before Liberals start jumping up and down and scream “Fuck yeah, Walden”, let me remind you that he did vote for the Paul Ryan budget last year which had math fuzzier then a bucket of Tribbles and in the words of Paul Krugman…
After 2020, the main alleged saving would come from sharp cuts in Medicare, achieved by dismantling Medicare as we know it, and instead giving seniors vouchers and telling them to buy their own insurance. Does this sound familiar? It should. It’s the same plan Newt Gingrich tried to sell in 1995.
Translation, Walden was fine with the Republicans balancing the budget on the backs of Seniors. He’s just not crazy about Obama working their side of the street.
Walden isn’t an idiot. He knows the Chained CPI isn’t playing well and and he’s smart enough to know the seniors in his district will rise up and start throwing jars of Metamucil and soiled Adult Diapers at any congress person stupid enough to back this thing. And no Congress person wants to be pelted with soiled diapers. (Well, maybe David Vitter. But still…) It’s a cynical move by Walden but it’s not an incorrect one. As Krugman points out, the point of this budget is for the Obama Adminstration to look like grownups.
Since the beginning, the Obama administration has seemed eager to gain the approval of the grownups — the sensible people who will reward efforts to be Serious, and eventually turn on those nasty, intransigent Republicans as long as Obama and co. don’t cater too much to the hippies.This is the latest, biggest version of that strategy. Unfortunately, it will almost surely fail. Why? Because there are no grownups — only people who try to sound like grownups, but are actually every bit as childish as anyone else.
After all, if whoever it is that Obama is trying to appeal to here — I guess it’s the Washington Post editorial page and various other self-proclaimed “centrist” pundits — were willing to admit the fundamental asymmetry in our political debate, willing to admit that if DC is broken, it’s because of GOP radicalism, they would have done it long ago. It’s not as if this reality was hard to see.
So Walden is being a cynical bastard. But the bitch of it is that in this case, the cynical bastard is completely in the right.
Which is probably why what happened next, while not being totally unexpected, is sticking in his craw like a half chewed dinner roll.
The Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax, anti-spending group, said Thursday that it was looking for a primary challenger against Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, after he spoke out against President Barack Obama’s plan to cut social security benefits.
“We always knew Greg Walden had a liberal record, but he really cemented it with his public opposition to even modest entitlement reform,” Club for Growth president Chris Chocola said in a statement. “Greg Walden has voted for bailing out Wall Street, dozens of pork projects, and against cutting the spending from the Obama stimulus. He even voted against blocking taxpayer subsidies for Viagra. Greg Walden should be held accountable for his anti-growth voting record as well as his anti-growth rhetoric.”
So, Walden gets primaried by a Tea Party candidate. At which point he’ll either lose or he’ll have to tack hard to the right to win. And then possibly get clobbered in the General by the Democratic candidate for all the crazy right-wing stuff he had to say in the primary.
The question is how much he can get clobbered and survive? Greg Walden has had the seat since 1998 and in that time, No Democratic candidate has ever gotten above 35% of the vote against him.
But the thing is that Walden has always been a back bencher who’s kept his head down. It’s only been the last couple of years that he’s ventured out into the national stage because of his rise in the NRLC. And the question becomes can he handle the bigger audience. (However, anyone hoping for a Todd Akin moment from him should let that dream die now. He’ll vote for crazy but he won’t speak crazy.)
The other big what if is what if the guy who primaries Walden actually manages to win the Seat. Ashland is solid blue but we are a speck in a huge sea of red. And while Walden is GOP, he’s nowhere near being the worst of the bunch. (Which at this point, mind you, is akin to being the leper with the most fingers.) And the odds are that we could end up with a “Michelle Bachman/Sharron Angle commingled in a transporter accident” lump of crazy.
On the other hand, if we are even to have a chance to pull out of the death spiral we are in now, we need to take back the House. And that means we have to fight for every possible seat.
And if that means we have to hope the the Club for Growth can loosen this particular jar, so be it.