BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com
Greg Walden condemns an unpopular proposal in the President’s budget and gets attacked by the right-wing.
What is up with that?
Walden is the popular, smart, hard-working head of the National Congressional Campaign Committee. His job is to elect Republicans, or more precisely make certain that Republicans stay in control of the House.
He attacked the Obama budget for its inclusion of a proposal to recalibrate Social Security’s cost of living adjustments to be more in line with actual inflation. The President’s proposal would save billions of dollars over a 75 year time frame, although it wouldn’t fix the underlying problems with the program.
To Walden’s point, Obama is using this proposal to make room for more spending on something else.
I support the chained CPI concept as part of a bigger proposal to totally revamp the program. We have to look at ways to diversify the program so people can take some money and invest it in something that has a better return, we have to means-test the program,we have to give more incentives so the middle class has more ability to save for retirement, and we have to find ways to keep people more active so they can work longer, because that leads to better health and more happiness.
I totally understand why Walden said what he said. The chained CPI proposal is a political loser. Yes, it might be a Republican idea, but that doesn’t mean Republican voters love it. In fact, they hate it as much as Democrat voters hate it.
Democrats have been vicious in attacking the President on this thing and the President hasn’t really done much to reign those Democrats in. Greg Walden sees a trap. If the GOP goes on record supporting a proposal from the President that the voters hate, why wouldn’t the Democrats just run campaign commercials against both the Republicans and the president’s proposal?
Some analysts have called this Obama’s Sister Souljah moment, the time where the President attacks a Democratic constituency in order to position himself as a centrist.
The difference, of course, was that while Sister Souljah was unpopular with the vast middle of the country, Social Security is very popular with the vast middle of the country.
It is far more likely that the Democrats will Sister Souljah Obama rather than Obama Sister Soulhjahing the Democrats.
In fact I think there is plenty of evidence that they would do just that.
That is what Greg Walden is worried about and he is right to be worried. Does that make him a RINO or simply a guy who wants to preserve the Republican majority in the House?
Republicans and conservatives shouldn’t trust Obama or his budget. If Republicans are going to reform entitlements, they need the Democrats to jump in the water with them at the same time.
Walden is not being weak-kneed. He is being prudent.
Editor’s Note: John Feehery worked for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. Feehery is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com.