Yesterday at a fundraiser in Atlanta, President Obama took a jab at Republicans for failing to break away from President Bush and trying to “bamboozle” the American public. “It’s not like they’ve engaged in some heavy reflection,” he said. “They have not come up with a single, solitary, new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don’t have a single idea that’s different from George Bush’s ideas – not one.”
Today on MSNBC, when host Joe Scarborough asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) to differentiate today’s GOP from Bush, Pence couldn’t offer much in the way of specifics:
SCARBOROUGH: Give Americans listening to you today a vision for America that is different from the vision that George W. Bush had for America because their argument is you guys are all just George Bush clones.
PENCE: … The vision for Republicans going forward is to produce pro-growth tax policies that will get this economy moving again. But to really practice what we preach about fiscal discipline and entitlement reform. … We can have pro-growth tax relief going forward but we’ve got to get back to basic spending discipline and the principles of limited government.
Despite Pence’s generalizations of “fiscal discipline,” Scarborough seemed convinced. “That is a radical difference from what Republicans did from 2001 to 2008,” he said. Watch it:
For starters, like Pence, President Bush was also good at delivering similar sweeping, non-specific rhetoric:
— “I also had a good discussion today…about how we can kind of get away from all the distractions that tend to dominate Washington and focus on a pro-growth agenda for this fall.” [9/07/01]
— “Social Security reform, entitlement reform is an important topic.” [10/16/04]
— “You have to have some fiscal discipline if you want to balance the federal budget, and that’s what I’m asking Congress to do.” [2/06/07]
Moreover, a new CAPAF report out today notes that the GOP agenda out of the Republican Study Committee — of which Pence is a member — is a mirror image of the Bush years. Their “Economic Freedom Act” calls for more deficit funded tax cuts and will cost a whopping $10 trillion and their ideas to pay for it will cover less than 5 percent of the total cost. Sixty-one percent of the tax benefits will go to the richest 1 percent of households while the average middle-class tax payer’s tax cut will be paltry in comparison to the richest one pecent.
Writing in the New York Times today, David Stockman, President Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, agrees. “If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing,” he said.
As the President noted yesterday, the reality is that Republicans have yet to come up with a “single idea” that is different from Bush and as demonstrated by Pence’s comments this morning, they’re having a hard time disproving that.