Monday, August 23, 2010

How to get Republicans to toe the line on real debt reduction

Republican Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader and founder of FreedomWorks, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday.  His message to the GOP was simple, clear and precise: Get on board with the Ryan Roadmap, or get run over.

Armey’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” came just moments after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sidestepped a question about Ryan’s plan, which looks to balance the budget by reinventing slimmer versions of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the tax code. Ryan (R-Wis.) is the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

Ryan’s proposal is controversial for many Republicans who have attacked Democrats over their handling of the federal debt but don’t want to say that they would favor cutting entitlement programs.

“All Paul Ryan is saying is let Social Security be voluntary, let Medicare be voluntary,” Armey said. “The fact that he only has 13 co-sponsors is a big reason why our folks are agitated against the Republicans as well as the Democrats — the difference between being a co-sponsor of Ryan or not is a thing called courage.”

Armey, chairman of the limited-government group FreedomWorks, has been one of the most vocal advocates for the anti-tax tea party movement since it began in 2009.

“We are saying to the Republican Party, you know, get some courage to stand up for the things that are right for this country,” he said. “Don’t stand there and hide from the issue because you are afraid of the politics. The issue of public policy that governs the future of my children is more important than your politics, and if you can’t see that we’ll replace you.”

Armey’s demand that the GOP '”man up” and get on board with Ryan’s plan is easily replicated on Main Street.  At campaign events, at town hall meetings, at organized Tea Party demonstrations between now and November 2, it’s important that conservatives speak to power with a united voice.  Make your GOP hopeful understand that your support is contingent upon the candidates’ full endorsement of real deficit and debt reduction, not just mealy-mouthed platitudes.

A large contingent of Americans don’t think the Republican Party is really serious about cutting spending, reining in entitlement programs, and effecting real debt reduction.  McConnell’s spineless sidestepping on Ryan’s plan is Exhibit A.  The fact that Ryan only has 13 co-sponsors on his Roadmap legislation is Exhibit B.

In this cycle, conservative voters are the most motivated they’ve been in decades.  But Republicans can’t avoid taking tough positions and treat the tidal wave of anti-incumbency as an endorsement of doing nothing.  So, between now and Election Day, call, write or email your local GOP hopeful.  In firm but polite terms, make it clear that you expect them to toe the line, and either get behind the Ryan Roadmap, come up with a better alternative, or find another line of work.

Gimme some feedback in the comments.