This Week in Conservative Media: Should Conservatives Rally Behind Obama's Budget Freeze?

That's the question posed by Ed Morrissey on HotAir.com, but a firm answer eludes him. He has actually posted a poll to help figure out what people think, with options ranging from "fully and enthusiastically support it" to "oppose it as a fraud, demand across-the-board freeze and cuts."

The jury is still out. Some say this is sham, that the numbers don’t add up to anything significant because of rampant spending over the past year. "Given Washington Democrats' unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you're going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, a Republican from Ohio. "Will the budget still double the debt over five years and triple it over 10? That's the bottom line." His comments, originally appearing in The Wall Street Journal, have gone viral in the conservative blogosphere. Michelle Malkin tweeted that the freeze was like “promising to slow down from 250mph to 249.9."

Others—like William Kristol, writing for The Weekly Standard—say that focusing on the particulars is politically "misguided." "Republicans, in a spirit of bipartisanship, should praise the president for beginning to come to his senses about too much government spending (and for acknowledging at the same time that national-security spending can't be frozen). They can point out that, of course, in the spirit of the spending freeze, we can't be creating new and expensive entitlements (health care). And then they can work to expand the discussion of how we’re going to deal with the deficit and the debt by relimiting the size and scope of the federal government. Obama’s pseudo-spending freeze is a chance for Republicans to be (refreshingly!) bipartisan and to take advantage of Obama's willingness to move the debate over the rest of this year to a terrain—who will constrain big government?—that is good for them, and the country."
 
Hot Air’s Morrissey eventually takes the middle ground. "So we should say that a spending freeze on the small portion of the budget that Obama highlights is good—for a start." But he also provides marching orders for conservatives since he still considers the freeze "mainly a sham." He says the next step "must be to roll back those federal-budget increases back to at least 2007 levels in order to actually impact the budget deficit, let alone long-term debt. That will require significant cuts in federal programs that Democrats created or inflated over the last three years while having control of the pursestrings." In short, no one seems terribly happy about the freeze—on all sides of the spectrum. "We’re already in a recession, and with inflation this freeze amounts to a cut," says HIV/AIDS activist Max Ray of ACT UP Philadelphia. He and other activists plan to protest outside the White House today to illustrate how Obama is freezing them out. Their prop: 750 pounds of snow and ice.

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