House Republicans lost the first round of the messaging battle over the budget last week with a lame attempt to cut less than $40 billion against the Pledge to America's goal of at least $100 billion, but then President Obama forfeited round two with an absurd budget that elicited a genuine bipartisan reaction of scorn for his fecklessness.
Proving themselves equal to the challenge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the new GOP majority promptly proceeded to block what looked like a clean attempt to defund Obamacare sponsored by Representative Steve King of Iowa and then followed with a series of failed amendments to cut spending featuring numerous senior Republicans voting to defend appropriations for, among other programs, the Legal Services Corporation.
Heading into the weekend the Beltway Republicans of 2006 seem to have returned and to have reclaimed their old ways and their old daze when it comes to communicating with the public.
So what happened?
Four years of watching the MSM fawn over Nancy Pelosi appears to have persuaded the House GOP Leadership that it controls the story line because it controls the gavel. Thus they believed that if they talked about an “open amendment process,” the legacy media would report that script, and that the Tea Party would care. The GOP leadership assumed that if they announced that “We will have many bites at the apple,” then the conservative activists who sent them to D.C. would read about these careful plans and nod in admiring agreement.
They thought that since Speaker Pelosi had had the help of the media in driving various narratives that they too would get acquiescence in the structuring of the storyline.
Wrong party. Wrong media. Wrong attitude towards the base.