It may not be the worst idea in the world for Republicans to help the Obama Administration in its effort to reform entitlements. Indeed, several good things may come out of such a project:
- We finally implement responsible public policy and get the entitlement reform we need. And Republicans get to influence the entitlement reform effort, which is a bonus–particularly for a party that has lost the White House and is in the minority in Congress.
- To the extent that it is necessary for Republicans to look like they want to cooperate with the White House, working with the Administration on entitlement reform will offer a chance to do so.
- Encouraging the Administration will help set the cat amongst the pigeons by causing the White House to get into a potentially nasty fight with Congressional Democrats, divide the party and allow Republicans to prosper and thrive.
Of course, it is entirely possible that the Obama Administration will use entitlement reform to engage in a bit of strategic triangulation. It will be up to Republicans to ensure that the Administration is not able to make itself look too centrist by fighting Congressional Democrats on entitlement issues. But right now, Democrats are still riding high after the November elections and Republicans are still looking for some momentum. Trouble in Paradise on the other side of the partisan divide may help the GOP get its groove back.