It’s on! President Obama targets Paul Ryan and his dubious budget plan!

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In a post of a few days ago (HERE), I entertained speculation that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican, has emerged as a convenient antagonist against whom President Obama can aim political barbs.

Any doubts about that were dispelled today when Obama devoted parts of his BIG SPEECH on deficit reduction to ridicule of Ryan’s vaunted budget plan.

He warmed to the Ryan-bashing with this:

One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.

A 70% cut to clean energy. A 25% cut in education. A 30% cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s what they’re proposing. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kind of cuts that Republicans and Democrats on the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America we believe in. And they paint a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.

It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them. Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the United States of America – the greatest nation on Earth – can’t afford any of this.

It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you’re a 65 year old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck – you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

At one point, Obama virtually sneered at notions that Ryan and his cohorts are “courageous” for having advanced a “serious” fiscal blueprint. Said the president:

The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know.

And later, Obama returned to Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare:

I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.

No doubt about it. Paul Ryan is Barack Obama’s punching bag.

UPDATE: In another development that adds to the Obama-Ryan drama, House Speaker John Boehner was forced today to ratchet-up his endorsement of Ryan’s budget plan.

Earlier this morning, Boehner gave a relatively LUKEWARM NOD to the Ryan plan.

A few hours later, in the wake of apparent pressure from right-wingers, Boehner FAIRLY GUSHED over the plan.

In poker parlance, Boehner is all in — which means his political fanny is on the line in the coming rhetorical wars over Ryan’s plan, especially as it relates to Medicare.

UPDATE II: For a quick comparison of the Obama and Ryan plans, check HERE.



  1. As I said on another post, the man loves the smell of class warfare in the morning.

  2. How predictable! expdoc, who thinks he’s on the road to membership in the plutocracy, plays the “class warfare” card.

    Oh well, at least he didn’t say anything about union thugs.

  3. Big Speech\" you mean campaign speech?

  4. As predictable as the President’s speech my friend.

  5. Here is the first of what will be many response’s from Mr. Ryan:


    When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

    “Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

    “We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past. By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we’ll be here.”

    Update: Ryan’s office highlights “key facts” from Obama’s speech:

    · Counts unspecified savings over 12 years, not the 10-year window by which serious budget proposals are evaluated.

    · Postpones all savings until 2013 – after his reelection campaign.

    · Runs away from the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations on Social Security – puts forward no specific ideas or even a process to force action.

  6. Aw, gee! Paulie got his widdle feelings hurt when Obama dissed his plan.

    And, what’s worse, Paulie says he had expected Obama to offer an “olive branch.” Imagine his disappointment.

    Paulie doesn’t like it when political adversaries resort to tough rhetoric. As a Republican, he’s simply not used to that kind of thing. Nobody on his side of the aisle in the House of Representatives would dare play politics with a matter as serious as budget deficits.

    Obama owes Paulie an apology. And we should all hold our breaths until it happens. It’s just the right thing to do.

    UPDATE: I like Jed Lewison’s response to Ryan’s whining: “Welcome to the big leagues, sonnyboy.”

    Lewison’s piece is here:


  7. Mike Carroll

    One word can best summarize Obama’s campaign, that is what it was, speech.Dishonest. I have come to expect no less.

  8. I don’t see Ryan’s statement as whining. I see him calling it like it is.

    Obama is a politician first and foremost. Every other action in his life is calculated on his political survival. That is not an optimal quality for a leader in a moment of crisis.

    Paul Ryan proposed actual reform. Reform of the tax code, reform of medicare and medicaid and reform of the reckless spending spree our government has been on.

    Obama proposed more of the same. What a shame.

  9. I note your comment about Ryan being Obama’s punching bag.

    Ryan is an Irish name I believe.

    As Obama learned in the health care debate, he better be careful about punching an Irish punching bag…it might punch back. Besides, this one is his intellectual equal on budgetary matters.

  10. The Wall Street Journal responds as well. This is a small excerpt. Read it all with the link.


    Was the election moved to next month, or June? We ask because President Obama’s extraordinary response to Paul Ryan’s budget yesterday—with its blistering partisanship and multiple distortions—was the kind Presidents usually outsource to some junior lieutenant. Mr. Obama’s fundamentally political document would have been unusual even for a Vice President in the fervor of a campaign.

    The immediate political goal was to inoculate the White House from criticism that it is not serious about the fiscal crisis, after ignoring its own deficit commission last year and tossing off a $3.73 trillion budget in February that increased spending and lifted the 2012 deficit to a record $1.65 trillion. Mr. Obama was chased to George Washington University yesterday because Mr. Ryan and the Republicans outflanked him on fiscal discipline and are now setting the national political agenda.

    Mr. Obama did not deign to propose an alternative to rival Mr. Ryan’s plan, even as he categorically rejected all its reform ideas, repeatedly vilifying them as un-American. “Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,” he said, supposedly pitting “children with autism or Down’s syndrome” against “every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” The President was not attempting to join the debate Mr. Ryan has started, but to close it off just as it begins and annihilate any possibility of good-faith cooperation.

    Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which “starts,” he said, “by being honest about what’s causing our deficit.” The speech he chose to deliver was among the most dishonest in decades, even by modern political standards.

  11. Wow! I love it! Obama gives a tough political response to the right-wing demagogues, and they whine to high heavens!

    The nerve of the guy! He’s playing politics! Has he no shame?

    It’s the Chicago in him. Yeah, that’s it. He’s one of those tough Chicago politicians. That stuff isn’t going to go over with real Americans.

    What a laugh!

  12. Mr. TP, he is so preditable.
    What was our fine Presidents plan to reduce the deficit, more taxes, more spending?

  13. Mr. Talking Points you are beyhond hope. Can anyone be so dense? Why yes our favorite blog owner Mr. Pat “TP” Cunningham.

  14. Thank you. That wasn’t so difficult to do, was it?

    I have approved a comment you submitted earlier today, and I’ve deleted our other exchanges on this TP matter.

  15. Apparently the obvious was difficult, as proven day in and day out.

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