December 13, 2013

The Ryan/Murray budget agreement shouldn’t make either party overly happy, but it is a net plus for Republicans because the deal saves us from a lot of headaches over the next two years. The agreement, which passed last night in a 332-94 vote on the House floor, is also a big plus for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Frankly, I’m surprised the Democrats let Ryan negotiate this deal as easily as he did. We all know the Democrats could use a big story to change the subject and distract voters from the continuing debacle that is Obamacare. And when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave Democrats the gift of telling Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that Congress should cut off unemployment benefits right before Christmas, I thought Democratic members would go straight to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and encourage her to slow-walk the budget talks.

But they didn’t, and the bipartisan budget deal that was announced Tuesday night is a sensible one. It’s not perfect, and if either Ryan or Murray was a dictator, they certainly would have given us a very different final product, but this is where we are. As Ryan and Murray both stated in their joint press conference, their deal is “a firm step in the right direction.”

Republicans need to realize that if we want to have a smaller, better-managed, less intrusive government, we need to win elections. The cooks who took over the kitchen and led us to the government shutdown were replaced this time around, and we got a much better result. Sure, there are still some members of the Republican Caucus who feel like they need to pose — some out of necessity (primaries) and some out of sheer ignorance — but at the end of the day, given our minority status, this is about the best we are going to do until the election.

I hope all the conservative groups who oppose this deal realize what the art of the possible is when you control just one-half of one-third of the government. There is nothing wrong with advocating for the ideal, but when it comes time to vote, we have to deal with reality. We can’t keep trying to convince ourselves that the minority can manipulate the majority into doing their bidding. It is better for Republicans to focus on Obamacare and the economy in the months leading up to the 2014 elections.

Congratulations to Ryan.  He has saved Republicans from another self-inflicted wound.

 

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