Why Republicans should ‘call the president’s bluff’

Updated

Pete Hegseth is telling Republicans to call the president’s bluff by agreeing to close corporate loopholes for the rich and reduce the payroll tax rate. This will give the GOP a bargaining chip to ask for tax reform across the board, as well as spending cuts.

Hegseth, CEO Concerned Veterans for America, is sick of the insults directed at the Republican Party. But to be fair, it’s not just Democrats who are doing the name-calling. Even from within their own party, Republicans have been deemed “a dysfunctional family” and “the party of stupid.” And it’s almost become a reflex to associate Republicans with the rich: defending the top 1% of the country blindly and without reason. Which is exactly the problem that makes the party vulnerable, Hegseth points out. “The president has been very shrewd in using” Republican’s unwillingness to close loopholes against them, he told The Cycle Thursday afternoon.

Hegseth says the GOP could do a far better job of explaining and selling its ideas, countering the idea that conversative policies are attractive only to the rich. “I really do think there are some sound, fiscally conservative proposals that flip that script and say ‘hey, those that care about debt and deficit–veterans care about that, too.’ We’re not here to defend the rich. We’re here to bring our country to a fiscally solvent place.”

If both parties agreed with this sequester plan– which they did –why do most Americans seem to hold only one side accountable?

“There’s smoke and mirrors here on both sides,” Hegseth said, “not actually getting to the root of the problem.” Instead of posturing, Hegseth wants thoughtful cuts and budget work done by those on both sides of the aisle. And on that, he’s definitely not alone. The upward trend in spending is visible throughout Washington, but across the board cutting–as we’ll soon see with the sequester–is not the answer. And as much as Hegseth is adding to the very blame game he’s speaking against, his intentions–like those he ascribes to his party, and those of many on Capital Hill–are good.

Why Republicans should 'call the president's bluff'

Updated