"New" Republican message: Balanced budgets (what's old is new again...)
When Rep. Paul Ryan first introduced his new budget plan, Democrats dismissed it as draconian for balancing the budget in 10 years.
But the message of bringing the federal government’s books into balance — the central idea behind the Wisconsin lawmaker’s 2014 spending plan — was quietly tested in 18 competitive House races in a late-February poll by the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was a winning argument across a broad swath of politically moderate — and nearly split — districts.
The poll developed House Republicans’ driving political message as they head into a highly charged budget debate. Ryan’s budget — in the past used as a weapon against Republicans in House races — will be on the floor this week, and leadership is confident it will pass.
Instead of focusing on selling the conversion of Medicare into a premium support program, Republicans will incessantly pound home the theme of balancing the budget, GOP leaders say. When talking about the Democrats’ plan, Republicans criticize it for attempting to raise taxes and the fact that it doesn’t balance the budget. Republicans say they’re trying to seize the message “balanced” back from President Barack Obama, who said last week he doesn’t consider balancing the budget a top priority.
The internal party polling shows that Republicans think there’s massive political upside to talking about balancing the budget. In fact, Republican leadership think it’s the winning argument as the party again starts battling with Democrats over the nation’s fiscal future. ...