It's clever from a pr point of view, I'll give them that. Pushing back the debt limit deadline until May makes them seem less nutso. And this "no budget, no pay" wrinkle is bound to be popular. You can read all about it here if you're unfamiliar with the details.
But here's the rub. Paul Ryan is going to draft a new budget that will eliminate the deficit in 10 years. Remember his previous two budgets, the ones that ended up being pretty big political liabilities in the election because of their impact on Medicare and on domestic programs, the ones many middle-ground Americans thought were extreme?
Well, they balanced the budget in 30 years. And now he's going to balance it in 10. How is he going to get there? Good question. Far deeper cuts to domestic programs and Medicare--exactly the probems with his prior budgets, now concentrated.
The whole thing is a substantive sop to the GOP right wing wrapped in a prettier package. So in that sense it's clever. But we're still going to come down to the same old debate we've been having, and if the Democrats handle it properly, Republicans are going to see that while their base supports these drastic cuts (while holding the military harmless, of course), the majority of the American people don't.
Of course, the Senate Democrats have to produce something called a budget. They will. It will have revenue. The House R's, and McConnell, will say no dice. Stalemate. Then, circle March 27. That's the deadline for new spending bills. When this ploy doesn't work, the tea party people are going to demand that the GOP shut the government down.
I love the GOP pinning its hopes on Ryan again. It's as if the Democrats had returned to Mike Dukakis in 1992 for one more shot.