He says he's not worried about polls that show a majority of the country will blame Republicans for the sequester: "Getting actual accomplishments by getting debt and deficits under control, stabilizing our debt to buy the country time so we don't have a debt crisis" will allow Republicans to "go to the country with a crystal clear choice that more clearly juxtapose(s) against the reality of big government under Obama is what we have to shoot for."
Ryan says the House next week will give the president "...some reprogramming authority to be able to direct cuts to lower priority areas from higher priority areas."
What if the Senate doesn't go along? "That's their choice," he says.
Ryan recalls how scare tactics failed in the 1996 debate over welfare reform when liberals lamented cuts to the welfare program that they believed would surely lead to poor children starving in the streets of America. Instead Clinton's welfare-to-work program made it possible for many low-income Americans to get jobs. Ryan calls the current GOP plan "Welfare Reform 2.0" and expects similar positive results by focusing on "improving prosperity, opportunity and individual responsibility."
Democrats have "won a battle, but not the war," Ryan says.
Is he optimistic he will win the war?
"I wouldn't be here if I wasn't."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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