Ryan, conservatives defend budget against Obama’s unfair attacks
As you know, earlier this week President Barack Obama launched into a rather odd attack on the Supreme Court as they consider overturning ObamaCare. But he also attacked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Republicans over the recently passed budget proposal, channeling comments made by former Speaker Newt Gingrich last May:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will shred the House GOP budget as a “Trojan horse” built around radical right-wing, “thinly veiled social Darwinism” and the makings of a renewed recession.
That’s the message he’ll take to The Associated Press’s annual luncheon in Washington, according to prepared remarks provided by the White House: The plan written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is directly opposed to the message of economic fairness he’s been pushing since late last year.
“It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it — a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class,” Obama will say of Ryan’s budget, drawing on the same themes he touched on in his December speech in Osawatomie, Kan., and his State of the Union address in January. “[B]y gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline.”
The attacks this week, against both the Supreme Court and Ryan, are part of Obama’s campaign strategy to divert attention away from his own failings over the economy. However, they’re also incredibly dishonest. While I’m not the biggest fan of Ryan’s budget, at least he is, you know, actually putting something on the table to deal with the ticking fiscal time bomb that President Obama and his party have largely ignored. Even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has admitted that the Obama Administration has no plan to deal with the debt.
The editors of the National Review, a conservative magazine and online publication, are taking Obama to task for his overly divisive and personal rhetoric against Ryan and Republicans while stands aside and essentially does nothing:
[W]e have a president accusing the Republican party of building a “Trojan horse” to “impose a radical vision” on the country that is “antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility.” Glossing cuts to the growth rate of discretionary spending as “draconian” measures in a program of “Social Darwinism” instead of setting GDP-percentage spending levels within 50-year norms. Painting a lengthy portrait of the 2000s as a supply-sider’s utopia in the throes of an orgy of deregulation and “trickle-down economics” to which the GOP would hasten our return. Repeating the canard about “end[ing] Medicare as we know it.” Detailing the long and tenuous causal chain between marginal budget cuts to the National Weather Service and the specter of Americans being trapped in a deadly hurricane, or between the devolution of Medicaid to the states and the forced deprivation of children with Down’s Syndrome.
As the president himself said in his remarks, “This is not an exaggeration. Check it out yourself. . . . These are facts.”
Here is another fact. The president’s budgets, with their record-setting deficits and shameful silence on the entitlement crisis, have been voted against by 511 of the 535 elected members of Congress over the last calendar year. They have garnered zero votes in their favor. Not a Nancy Pelosi or a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Not one Harry Reid or Dick Durbin. His heralded “balanced approach” is in fact a cocktail of non-starters: spending cuts his base won’t abide and nobody else trusts in exchange for tax hikes like the ones that snookered Reagan, all admixed with a heavy dose of central planning for seniors and served with a twist of accounting gimmickry.
By contrast, the Ryan budget is the product not of a rump on the “radical” right but of a consensus in conservatism’s vital center. It attempts — we believe with a fair degree of success — to thread the needle between what the times require and what the politics allows. It is not a perfect document. But contra the president, the fact that it has been challenged by congressional Republicans to both its right and its left, criticized for both going to far and doing too little, is indicative not of a party trapped by ideology, but of one engaged in a serious conversation about how to solve our most pressing problems. That the president’s DOA budget has been challenged by a fantasyland proposal from the House progressive caucus (it doubles down on the president’s tax hikes and includes a public option for health care), and that there has been no budget at all from Senate Democrats is also indicative.
Ryan, who has been the subject of the attacks, isn’t standing by and taking it. In an interview with Bret Beier, Ryan picked apart the attacks by Obama and vigorously defended his budget:
Obama’s attacks are yet another preview of things to come in the fall. He has no record to stand on and no budget that puts forward a path to sustainability. For all his preaching about the budget deficits and national debt under George W. Bush — which were entirely appropriate at the time, Obama is worse; and he apparently relishes in that fact.