National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jon Cornyn, R-Tex., sent a memo to 2012 GOP Senate candidates today, touting the debt-ceiling fight as a messaging victory for Republicans on the campaign trail. The memo suggests that entitlement reforms could result from the Super Committee charged with hammering out new spending cuts by November 2011.
Cornyn argues that the debt-limit fight forced Democrats to take positions on tax hikes and spending cuts, which Republicans can use to their advantage on the campaign trail.
Not only did Republicans obtain “serious, up-front cuts” to government spending, Cornyn writes, but President Obama and Senate Democrats “are on record,” after tabling the Boehner Bill, “opposing a balanced budget amendment and in support of higher taxes.”
Tea Party conservatives who pushed for Cut, Cap and Balance (which Cornyn supported) might doubt the seriousness of spending cuts in this debt-deal, but Cornyn disagrees. He declares that Senate Democrats who supported the final debt-limit deal “have now voted to put entitlement spending on the table for reducing the size and scope of government.” This talking point seems to be designed for Republican incumbents facing conservative primary challengers rather than for Republican candidates looking to pick off Democrats.
The debt-ceiling fight was conducted with one eye (or in the case of the White House, perhaps both) on the upcoming campaign cycle. Despite intra-party wrangling, Republican leaders think they won this round — or at least that's what they want to project.