While Representative Rehberg would like to frame his ‘no’ vote on the Ryan budget today as some kind of stand on behalf of Montana’s seniors, his continued failure to present any alternatives is yet another sign of his willingness to put politics ahead of practical solutions. It’s so bad that even the rabidly conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page called him out on it today:
Mr. Rehberg thinks he’s inoculating himself on Medicare, and he even issued a press release saying “I simply refuse to gamble with something as important as Medicare.” The real gamble is to continue on the current path that will ruin Medicare, and Mr. Rehberg’s vote suggests he’s from the remaindered pile of the GOP’s Tom DeLay status-quo wing.
Rehberg voted against seven budget proposals in the past twenty four hours. The only budget proposal he’s supported in the past year was the House’s radical Cut, Cap, and Balance Plan, which would have devastated Medicare while risking economic calamity, according to conservative Norman Ornstein:
Best Picture: Most Irresponsible Legislative Proposal of the Year. Here the clear winner is the balanced budget constitutional amendment, which has been endorsed by all 47 Senate Republicans. …. But a constitutional requirement to balance the federal budget is a virtual guarantee that we will have economic catastrophes that will make the Great Depression look like a picnic. Here is the problem, which should be evident to anybody who has taken Econ 101. When the economy sags, the initial remedy is what we call countercyclical policy — counter the downturn with a jump-start via economic stimulus. Every major country acted in 2008 to do just that, and by consensus avoided a global disaster far more serious than we got.
That’s Representative Rehberg: casting a cynically, politically-motivated vote designed to appeal to Montana’s seniors, despite his commitment to a budget proposal which would have been far worse for them.