The two Texans who chair the Republican campaign committees in their respective houses – Senator John Cornyn and congressman Pete Sessions – appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday along with their Democratic counterparts to discuss their party’s strategy for the November elections. [For a full report on the discussion from NBS News’s First Read blog, click HERE.]
The discussion was proof of the old adage, “Don’t pay attention to what they said, pay attention to what they didn’t say.” Despite prodding by host David Gregory, neither Sessions nor Cornyn would address what Republicans would do on the deficit and other fiscal issues if they take back control of Congress. Sessions spoke in generalities: The GOP would ensure that the government live within its means, and read the actual legislation. Now that’s a bold program. But when Gregory asked for details of painful choices, Sessions offered nothing. Cornyn’s answer to the “painful choices” question was, “Well, the president has a debt commission that reports December 1, and I think we’d all like to see what they come back with.” Gregory followed up with a kill shot: “But wait a minute, conservatives need a Democratic president’s debt commission to figure out what it is they want to cut?”
I get it that no one wants to tip their hands at this stage of the campaign. Still, is it that hard to say something like, “We need to take a long look at entitlement programs?” Or the cost of health care?
Some Republicans, Newt Gringrich among them, have warned that Republicans can not afford to sit back and ride the anti-Obama wave in November; they must put a positive agenda before the voters. Apparently that message has not gotten through to Cornyn or Sessions.