Iím not sure House Republicans realized how large an error they made by kidnapping and then releasing the debt limit earlier this year. By admitting their bluff, they effectively confessed to having misled conservative members, and those members needed to be mollified.
That created a new problem: How could they appease conservatives while lacking the power to satisfy any of their substantive demands? So they offered up grandiose symbolism: A raincheck on the brinksmanship (the current fight over the sequester) and a promise to pass a budget that would wipe out the deficit in 10 years if enacted.
But itís not clear that they counted their votes, or considered the budget math when they made that promise. ďWe are saying a 10-year balance ó thatís tougher than the last Ryan budget,Ē Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), a former Budget Committee member told Politico.
ďThere could be a significant number of Republicans that say, ĎIím not going there because it would be too dramatic.í I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if youíre 55 years or over.í Iíve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like weíre going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.