Deficit Doomsaying, R.I.P.

Of the many fascinating scooplets in this Jake Sherman story—among them, the hilarious fact that Karl Rove thinks making members give “a floor speech on the same topic with the same message” is a new idea—this one says the most about the differences between 2013 and 2011. It’s about a “rule” coming out of House Republican kibbitzing:

Stop talking like the world is going to end. Budgetary politics is important to the GOP, but voters are going to stop voting for a party that talks about gloom and doom around the clock.

“I think that we need to make being fiscally conservative cool,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.).

But isn’t “the deficit will crush as all like a Haiti-sized asteroid’ the single most powerful motivating force behind the campaign for entitlement cuts? It has the advantage of being true in the long run. It has the less-powerful advantage of being repeated by the vast network of Pete Peterson-funded groups. You’re going to need something like this if other Republicans share the concerns of Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson. He wonders how the GOP can demand a budget that balances in 10 years when the Ryan plan took twice as long:

I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if you’re 55 years or over.’ I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.

Well, you can explain to them that the debt will destroy them, their children, America, and their Fast and Furious DVDs. What else do you have to sell this?