Via Mediaite, three minutes of righteous rage. It’s all here: Obama’s gutless insistence on farming this issue out to commissions to spare himself the political risks of leadership; his betrayal of his sunny 2008 campaign message, swapping the post-partisan Hopenchange problem-solver crap for a double-barreled attack on the GOP; and of course, the horribly cynical electoral calculus in all this, which earns a sneering reference from Ryan to the “Campaigner-in-Chief.” It’s that last bit that bothers him the most, I think. Taking the lead on Social Security and Medicare might make him a rock star to movement conservatives, but there’s a real chance that the backlash will destroy his political career (and the GOP’s House majority). Already, at least one poll has 51 percent saying that Ryan’s 2012 budget cuts too much. He knows the danger perfectly well, in other words, but he’s stepping up because it’s that important. And meanwhile the country’s nominal leader, ostensibly heaven-sent by the Democratic gods to rescue America from its troubles per his own campaign mythology, is taking a pass. It’s a good thing Ryan hates your grandma so damned much or else he’d have to be wondering at this point why he bothered.
He told the Journal this morning that there’s precisely zero chance of a “grand bargain” on entitlements between Democrats and Republicans but a slight chance of a compromise on the narrower issue of Social Security. That’s how invested the left is in Medicare’s current structure, which is rocketing us towards fiscal catastrophe: The “third rail of American politics” is now a better candidate for a deal than Medicare is. If you’re the praying type, now’s the time.
Update: A correction via an eagle-eyed reader: CNN misread its own data in the poll cited above. 51 percent say Ryan’s budget’s doesn’t cut too much; 47 percent say that it does. That’s a relief, but a small one given how closely divided those numbers are.