From the Party of “No” to the Party of “Zero”?

What’s up with the Republican House leadership anyway?  After being criticized by all stripes of poltical commentators and just ordinary citizens for not offering any alternative to the President’s proposed budget, they released an eighteen page booklet with no numbers.  I repeat, no numbers.

According to David Gregory on MSNBC’s First Read,

Dude, where’s my budget? Let’s be honest: Yesterday’s House Republican budget rollout was a P.R. disaster for the GOP. “Here it is, Mr. President” was the title of the GOP Leader blog touting that they had answered Obama’s dare to produce a budget. The problem — their budget rollout didn’t contain any hard budget numbers or deficit projections. They say those hard numbers will come out next week. But now we learn that Reps. Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan objected to unveiling yesterday’s “blueprint,” but were overruled by Reps. John Boehner and Mike Pence. But bigger than any internal disagreements or any criticism about a lack of details is the fact that yesterday’s GOP non-announcement moved the attention away from the Obama-vs.-congressional Democrat storyline to the GOP’s lack of a budget. In fact, after yesterday, the White House and congressional Democrats can agree on one thing: The GOP — at least until next week — is the “Party of No.” What’s more, it puts more pressure on Ryan to truly put out a comprehensive budget alternative; Also, this episode could end up creating a rift in the GOP over how to combat the Obama White House. After all, Senate Republicans wanted nothing to do with an alternative, and now Mitch McConnell, et al are either laughing at their House GOP colleagues, furious at them, or both.

As proof that the Democrats are refocusing on the Republicans rather than each other is the new Democratic Party video.  Kate Phillips writes in the New York Times Caucus

As the House and Senate head toward a heavy budget battle next week, Republicans have been facing criticism from the White House and from Democrats over whether they have offered a real alternative when it comes to the proposals on the table.

In the Senate, what Republican leaders are promising is a lot of amendments. But in the House, Republicans held a news conference yesterday to announce that, despite President Obama’s remarks to the contrary, they did have a plan of their own.

Carl Hulse, chief congressional correspondent of The New York Times, reported that Representative John A. Boehner, the minority leader, was grilled by reporters on Capitol Hill because the blue 18-page “recovery” pamphlet that the Republican leadership released was short on figures, spending or revenue details.

Next week’s budget debate will be interesting.  The Democratic Blue Dogs have their own ideas and the Republicans are split.  The look of the final budget may depend on which party can come together sooner.

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