Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Sanchez recently attacked primary opponent Heather Wilson for praising U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s attempt to steer the budget conversation this year even though she voted against a “similar” Ryan budget amendment in 2007.
Sanchez’s assault came earlier this week in response to an NMPolitics.net interview in which Wilson praised efforts by Ryan to steer the conversation about the budget and said he had done a service to the nation by presenting substantive ideas. In that interview, Wilson didn’t take a position on Ryan’s budget plan.
Sanchez pointed out in a news release that Wilson was one of 40 GOP House members to vote against a 2007 budget amendment proposed by Ryan that Sanchez called “similar” to Ryan’s current proposal.
“Candidate Heather Wilson is the same liberal tax-and-spender as Congresswoman Heather Wilson,” Sanchez spokesman Corbin Casteel said. “She cannot run from her embarrassing record as a big-spending Washington insider. She has the conservative talking points memorized, but the voters of New Mexico will know better.”
The attack was the latest in the fighting between the two candidates. Both have declined to take a definitive stance on the current budget proposal from Ryan, which would cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget.
Support for one; no commitment on other
I wondered, if Sanchez is attacking Wilson for voting against Ryan’s 2007 amendment, does that mean he would have supported it?
Yes, Sanchez would have voted for the 2007 amendment if he had been in the U.S. House at the time, Casteel told NMPolitics.net. The amendment would have cut $279 billion in spending, most of it out of health-care entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. It also would have extended the Bush tax cuts.
OK. If Sanchez would have supported that 2007 amendment that slashed health-care programs and extended tax cuts, and that amendment was “similar” to this year’s proposal from Ryan, does that mean Sanchez supports the Ryan budget?
Casteel didn’t directly answer the question, instead leaving Sanchez in limbo by pointing to the candidate’s prior statement on the Ryan budget:
“I haven’t seen a perfect budget solution yet, but Paul Ryan’s is a very good start. We must rein in government spending. It is immoral to spend money we don’t have.”
Casteel said Sanchez wants to ensure that seniors are protected and promises to them are kept. He didn’t say whether Sanchez believes the Ryan budget does that.
Apparently not ‘similar’ enough
There’s the rub – Sanchez, like Wilson and many other Republicans, is being noncommittal. The Santa Fe New Mexican has called Ryan’s proposal the Republican Party’s “Catch-22” because it would dramatically overhaul Medicare by changing it from a plan that directly pays for health care to one that subsidizes private insurance.
From The New Mexican:
“The problem for Republicans is that the Ryan plan is unpopular among older voters – and unlike their younger counterparts, older voters tend to vote. At the same time, the Ryan plan is highly popular with the GOP base, which is far more conservative than general-election voters.
“Fox News commentator Juan Williams warned in a commentary Friday, ‘The GOP had better come up with an effective explanation or defense of the Ryan plan before 2012, or the gains they made in 2010 will be erased.’”
So, while there may be some similarities between Ryan’s 2007 amendment and his current budget plan, they apparently aren’t “similar” enough that Sanchez’s support for one equals support for the other – even if he did criticize Wilson for voting against one and then praising Ryan’s efforts on the other.