In the latest episode of our weekly Bloggingheads series, "Fireside Chats", Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Mark Schmitt and Jamelle Bouie, writing fellow at The American Prospect, discuss whether Mitt Romney is conservative enough to actually go through with the cuts to social welfare programs that Republicans have long demanded. In the clip below, Mark points out that Republicans love talking about spending cuts, but they're not so big on implementing them. In the clip below, he notes, "We’ve all the seen the game where the Republicans talk of budgets and cuts, but in fact they don’t really want to pay the price of having those things becoming a reality" and that "actually making the cuts and particularly making the cuts that affect the middle class is a huge political risk."
While there are a lot of Tea Party conservatives who have been successful in moving the Republican Party farther to the right in the past few years, Mark and Jamelle argue that there is a difference between them and more mainstream conservatives, like John Boehner, who just want to have their tax cuts. Referring to the latter group, Mark says that "if they have the low taxes they don’t really care about the rest." However, he argues that there are now a significant number of conservatives in power who adamantly believe that there is a difference between Social Security and Medicare, which people have paid into, and other programs, which are "just giveaways." If Romney is elected, Jamelle believes that these members of the GOP will seize the opportunity to push for cuts.
Mark also points out that the rhetoric from the Republican Party and Mitt Romney keeps changing, so it's hard to know exactly what they will ultimately do. Regardless, Mark notes that Republicans are focusing on a limited group of people. He says "we’ve never really seen a party that actually draws such a sharp generational line." Since older folks are more affected by Medicare and Social Security, "It also puts yourself on the side of people who are less likely to be around in the future." He concludes that "it’s a big gamble politically."
Check out the rest of the video to listen to Mark and Jamelle talk about the changing rhetoric of the Republican Party, the demise of Americans Elect, and a crazy new Republican Super PAC.