by Max Brantley
Sufficient Democrats — don't include U.S. Rep. Mike Ross in that number — held together to defeat the Republican balanced budget proposal. It's Grover Norquist's dream come true. It would strangle Social Security and Medicare, but preserve the defense contractors that Republicans love so well.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin says he is "disappointed" (GOP talking point machine put same word in Steve Womack's release) that Democrats didn't extend the hand of fellowship so he could shiv them in the back with his other. He's secretly quite happy. The lie machine has been working overtime on messaging already. What's not to like about a balanced budget, it will say. Except for the painful cuts to real people that it would require. Somehow, the victims don't make it to the Republican 30-second ads. What Griffin won't tell, but what Talking Points Memo does:
Scores of Democrats — enough to clear the House — voted for a similar amendment in 1995, after Republicans retook Congress under President Clinton. But Dem Whip Steny Hoyer — one of those Democrats — led the party’s opposition to it this time around, citing 15 years of Republican policy that obliterated budget surpluses, and near-universal GOP opposition to raising taxes, which would make the BBA effectively a Constitutional requirement to slash government programs.
Policy experts widely pan most versions of the Balanced Budget Amendment — particularly in weak economic times, when deficits are high — as hugely disruptive social policy, and a dangerous restriction on the government’s ability to stave off recessions and defend the country.
Mike Ross — again — votes against the interests of his district. And he wants to be governor. Spare me that representation, thank you very much.