On Tuesday night the Republican Party suffered a defeat in a GOP stronghold in a special congressional election in New York. Is that a sign of things to come for the Republican Party now that its opponents have managed to make Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal a major political issue?
According to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, the answer depends on whether Paul Ryan decides to enter the race to the White House or not. On Wednesday night’s “Special Report,” Krauthammer explained the Democratic Party has so far successfully demagogued the issue.
“Look, [today’s budget vote] is a way to say that what Clinton had said – that Democrats look as if they’re going to immediately demagogue this is completely true,” Krauthammer said. “It isn’t only that it is used to win the special election in New York State, but it’s being used in the Senate to make senators go on the record and thus embarrass them in the future.”
Although there were other circumstances involved in the GOP defeat on Tuesday, Krauthammer said it shouldn’t have been that close in a rock-solid Republican district. But the GOP now owns Ryan’s Medicare proposal, he said.
“Look, I would extrapolate and I would acknowledge that even though [“Tea Party” ballot candidate] Jack Davis might have had an effect on this election but this election should never have been close. It’s been a Republican district forever,” he said. “It was about Medicare and the Republicans lost on the Medicare. There’s no hiding from it. The problem is the entire party essentially has endorsed the Ryan plan and you are stuck with it. There’s no running away.”
However, just because the Republican Party lost the special election, it doesn’t mean it is completely a lost cause for the party going into 2012. Krauthammer said the GOP can make it a winning issue. But to do that, he said, it requires Ryan running as a presidential candidate to expertly explain his policy proposal.
“People are now writing, ‘Well Ryan — the boomlet for Ryan to a candidate is over,’” he continued. “I would say exactly the opposite. You now own this. Get the one man who can explain it, argue it and actually change minds on this. You need leadership on this or otherwise the Republicans are going to sink on this.”