The distinction between chairmen Conrad and Ryan is painfully obvious to anyone outside Washington: results. Whether you agree with the Ryan Budget or not, there is absolutely no argument he has reshaped the GOP agenda. It is not just numbers on a page, but rather a sweeping set of priorities that are now widely accepted within the party.
And to be clear, this is not an inherently partisan issue. Over in the House, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) presented a budget that garnered significant Democrat support. If Democrats retake the House, Van Hollen would himself become budget chairman.
Nor is it a problem with the Senate. First-term Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) all offered comprehensive budget plans. The Heritage-inspired Lee Budget covered everything from comprehensive tax reform and an overhaul of the regulatory apparatus to real entitlement reform and the repeal of Obamacare. That a freshman Senator, who is a constitutional lawyer by trade, would have the audacity to propose a budget that leaves no aspect of the federal government untouched, is to be commended.
It should also put Senator Conrad to shame.
Last week, he told MSNBC that he still believes in the Simpson-Bowles commission, which he “presented to the Senate Budget Committee. They didn't vote on it because I know if we vote on it right now it will go down.” It will go down? Democrats control the committee and control the Senate, where a simple majority is needed to pass a budget.
Our country is on the verge of going down, and unless you are a mindless political pundit, there is no denying that Senator Conrad's tenure as budget chairman is an unmitigated disaster; in fact, he is the worst chairman in the committee’s history. Talking is not leading, and it is time the pundit class learned that lesson and began directing their praise to those who are willing to lead.