But these savings will only occur if the legislation passes, and every deletion from or amendment to the plan will diminish its effectiveness. Thus the Congressional GOP has to spend most of its energy between now and September making a case for the plan, and doing so from every forum available to it. The entire leadership has to buy into the plan if it has any hope of succeeding, and not just Speaker John Boehner, GOP Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy but also the leadership of the Senate, from Mitch McConnell down through the ranks. If the GOP on the Hill cannot rally around the plan, it is doomed from the start.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should make the Ryan plan a focus of his stump speeches, and when GOP governors talk budget they should be endorsing the Medicaid block grants and every other aspect of the plan that increases the authority of the states to manage their own fiscal futures. The major GOP candidates for the presidency ought also to be extolling the virtues of the Ryan blueprint, pushing the public conversation back again and again the the critical necessity of action now and action along Ryan's broad front of initiatives. The plan is already defining the GOP's vision for the future of the country and the GOP's nominee will have to defend it throughout the summer and fall of 2012 so he or she ought to get started practicing doing so now. The temptation will be to trim and to distance, to save room for maneuver, but that temptation should be resisted. The Ryan budget of 2011 could be the equivalent of Kemp-Roth of 1978, the legislative proposal that sets the stage for the defeat of an exhausted and exhausting failed incumbent.