Inside the Beltway

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BRACING FOR 1040

Forget about civility. Let’s go for maturity. Republicans are ready for an “adult conversation,” not a “Hail Mary speech,” on the nation’s economy. So says National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in the aftermath of President Obama’s “remarks on fiscal policy,” as his speech was billed by the White House.

“It’s rare for a president to attempt a budget do-over, but after failing to make any of the tough decisions on his first budget, the president needs a mulligan. It’s become clear the White House is losing the spending argument to Republicans in Congress, and now the president is on defense with another Hail Mary speech,” Mr. Priebus observes.

“Unfortunately, this president’s answer for every problem is more tax hikes while ignoring Washington’s addiction to spending. The simple truth is our current rate of spending is unsustainable and inhibits job growth. Republicans have already begun this adult conversation with the American people. It’s time for the president to join.”

Republicans will demonstrate their adultlike prowess at high noon Thursday during the Americans for Tax Reform’s annual “Tax Day Eve” news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Manning the podium: Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, plus Reps. Dave Camp of Michigan, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Tom Price of Georgia, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington, Kevin Brady of Texas and Wally Herger of California.

Grover Norquist, president of the nonpartisan group, will host the briefing. Its latest analysis - “Top Ten Tax Hikes in Obama’s Simpson-Bowles/Gang of Six Plan” - is here: www.atr.org.

STOCKMAN REVISITED

“As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan,” President Obama said Wednesday in review of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 fiscal policy.

Hmm. Observers say Mr. Obama was referring to David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Reagan administration, 1976 to 1981. These days, Mr. Stockman has been cast as the “GOP defector du jour” by Reason magazine for his past criticism of Reagan-era fiscal policy and his more recent public opposition to former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts.

Obama is a poor student of history if he is quoting David Stockman as an authority on anything other than getting indicted,” author Craig Shirley, a Reagan historian, tells Inside the Beltway.

HAIRBALL

“Sounds to me like Conan O’Brien has hair envy.” (Mitt Romney in a Tweet, responding to the late-night host’s commentary on the Romney hairdo.)

“Hey, Mitt Romney busted me for having hair envy. Imagine how jealous I’ll be if Trump runs.” (Mr. Conan in a Tweet, responding to Mr. Romney)

CANTOR NIXES TRUMP

President Donald Trump? Don’t count on it, says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

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