At long last, a Republican congressman is following his conscience and speaking out in opposition to Representative Paul Ryan’s extreme right-wing budget. But Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) doesn’t oppose the Ryan plan for the reasons you might think.
Broun, who is running to replace the retiring Saxby Chambliss in the Senate, penned a New York Times op-ed titled “Ryan’s Ax Isn’t Sharp Enough” Tuesday, in which he slammed Ryan’s plan for not being extreme enough.
“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called ‘The Path to Prosperity,’ is anything but,” Broun wrote. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation.”
According to Broun, Ryan’s budget — which would cut over $700 billion from Medicaid by converting it into a block grant to states, shift the cost of Medicare onto seniors by turning it into a voucher, and slash an additional $926 billion from crucial programs including food stamps, Pell grants, and federal job-training programs — is merely “nibbling around the edges.”
“Rather than nibbling around the edges as the Ryan proposal does, we must do all of this and much more now,” Broun wrote. “The only way to protect our nation’s financial future as well as our citizens’ liberty is to stop the outrageous spending in Washington and permanently reduce the size of our overreaching federal government.”
To do so, Broun proposes eradicating the federal government as we know it, eliminating the departments of Energy and Education — “Constitutionally speaking, the federal government should not have a role in K-12 public education anyway,” Broun argues — along with ending the federal highway financing system and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Additionally, given that Broun is a proud member of the House Tea Party Caucus, it comes as no surprise that he demands the repeal of Obamacare.
Broun’s extreme proposals have no chance of passing into law, but they should seriously worry Georgia Republicans. Although Saxby Chambliss’ Senate seat seems like it should be a safe Republican hold, Broun — who has made headlines for labeling evolution and the big bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of Hell,” and for claiming that “the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution” — fits the Todd Akin mold of a fringe candidate who could blow an easy campaign.
Broun’s op-ed may be a blessing in disguise for the state party, however, as it could contribute to stopping him from winning the nomination. Recent polling has already shown the Georgia race to be very competitive, and every controversial comment that Broun makes leaves him with longer odds of prevailing in the Republican primary. If Ryan’s budget helped sink his popularity to 35 percent, then Broun’s endorsement of an even more extreme version of it certainly doesn’t bode well for his political future.