The Spectacle Blog

Paul Ryan (Still) Has Obama’s Number

By on 4.13.11 | 5:33PM

As part of a series of Republican responses to Obama's budget speech, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) showed Obama for what he is: our "campaigner in chief." (A few thoughts of mine on Ryan's comments after the text of his comments...)

Transcript of Ryan's remarks:

I'm very disappointed in the president. I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the president's invitation to Mr. Camp, Mr. Hensarling and myself was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our countries pressing fiscal challenges.

What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief.  What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in chief.

I guess it's no coincidence that last week when the president launched his billion dollar re-election campaign was the week we launched our effort to try and get this debt and deficit under control and get our economy growing.

Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the president created a fiscal commission. Then with his budget he disavowed his fiscal commission. He ignored all of its recommendations. Now he wants to delegate leadership yet again to a new commission. How are we to expect different results? And the measurements of results of this new commission are lower than the measurements of success of the last commission that ended a few months ago.

We need leadership. We don't need a doubling down on the failed politics of the past.

This is very sad and very unfortunate. Rather than building bridges, he's poisoning wells. By failing seriously to confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, the president's policies are committing us and our children to a diminished future.

We're looking for bipartisan solutions not partisan rhetoric. When the president is ready to get serious about it, we're going to be here working.

Exploiting people's emotions of fear, envy, and anxiety is not hope; it's not change. It's partisanship. We don't need partisanship. We don't need demagoguery. We need solutions. And we don't need to keep punting to other people to make tough decisions. If we don't make those decisions today, our children will have to make much, much tougher decisions tomorrow.

So I am sincerely disappointed that the president had a moment when we were putting ideas on the table, trying to engage in a thoughtful dialog to fix this country's economic and fiscal problems, decides to pour on the campaign rhetoric, launch his re-election, and pass partisan broadsides against us, making it that much harder for the two parties to come together with mutual respect of one another to get things done.

I enjoyed the "failed politics of the past" remark, a phrase straight out of the Obama playbook, thus reminding the nation of how far we are from "hope and change" (which Ryan then mentioned explicitly.)

(See Obama's use of that phrase or substantially similar phrases here (his 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention!), here (attacking John McCain), here (attacking Hillary Clinton), and here (attacking George W. Bush after the latter's 2008 State of the Union speech.)

"Poisoning wells" was an effective metaphor, casting Barack Obama as both politically and economically toxic.

And Ryan's repeated emphasis on Obama's partisanship -- and the poor manners of inviting senior Republican congressmen to a speech in which Obama all but called them baby-and-granny-killers -- is the first step on a long road toward restoring in voters' minds the view of the GOP as a party of ideas versus the Democrats as a party of tired, old, mindless redistribution.

Ryan's response to Obama shows why in a decade or so, when Paul's children are older, he would be a tremendous candidate for president of the United States.

Updated to correct author. 

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