Other Democrats jump all over candidates who have endorsed Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s “roadmap” for reforming entitlements, saying that they want to “privatize Social Security.” Presumably they come to that conclusion because Ryan wants to let people under 55 invest one-third of their Social Security taxes in investments of their choice.
One has to be pretty hard up to reach for these negatives, hence, the efforts of Obama et al. to create a target in Boehner.
It is too tall a task and the time is too short to take an unknown politician like Boehner and sell the idea that he is so evil that one should vote Democrat. But, in the longer term, the Democratic strategy poses a key challenge to the Republican Party.
Boehner has been too close for too long to corporate lobbyists. While Republican candidates have not minded living off the campaign donations his ties can generate, they squirm in embarrassment when the relationships are exposed.
For his part, Boehner needs to watch his step. The incoming class of congressmen that will vote on his speakership will likely have 80 to 100 new faces, some replacements for retiring Republicans and others victorious insurgents. These new congressmen, more than a third of the total GOP House caucus, will have been elected pledging reform and purity. It may be hard for them to embrace Boehner, especially if the Democrats have made him radioactive by then. Boehner would be well advised to take bold pre-emptive steps to reform Congress.
In a previous column, we recommended the establishment of a special prosecutor for Congress, appointed by the chief justice, equipped with subpoena power, the ability to convene grand juries and bring indictments, and appropriate investigative staff. A ban on earmarking, on spousal service on corporate boards and on travel paid for by corporations or foundations should also be included. And … get rid of Nancy Pelosi’s plane!
All this may not even be enough to appease the tea party types who will make up an ever larger share of the Republican congressional delegation. To paraphrase the film title, there may be blood.
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