Paul Ryan to Obama: History will remember you as the guy who ducked the biggest challenge of our age

If he’s desperate enough to be babbling about “social Darwinism” in early April, what’s he going to say come October if he’s two or three points down to Romney? Do we actually have to start a Godwin watch for this campaign?

Remember, this is the guy who spent his last presidential run tut-tutting Republicans about the “politics of fear” while promising a hopeful new age of high unemployment and crushing deficits.

Following another disappointing partisan speech by President Barack Obama, in which he tried to substitute tired political attacks for the principled leadership he refuses to offer, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued the following statement:

“History will not be kind to a President who, when it came time to confront our generation’s defining challenge, chose to duck and run. The President refuses to take responsibility for the economy and refuses to offer a credible plan to address the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has chosen tired and cynical political attacks as he focuses on his own re-election.

“The President has offered four budgets during his four years in the White House – each committed to funding ever-higher government spending by taking more from hardworking Americans and adding to a crushing burden of debt. His failed agenda is stifling opportunity and hope for the next generation.

“Like his reckless budgets, today’s speech by President Obama is as revealing as it is disappointing: While others lead by offering real solutions, he has chosen to distort the truth and divide Americans in order to distract from his failed record. His empty promises are quickly becoming broken promises – and the American people will hold him accountable for this violation of their trust.”

That last bit seems like wishful thinking. It’s as least as likely that Americans will hold Ryan, and by extension Romney, accountable for interrupting the sweet dream of Medicare existing forever and ever in its current form even as its costs supernova. If you want true social Darwinism on entitlements, you’ve got an easy path: Do nothing and wait. Or, if you’re dead set against Ryan’s idea, at least be honest about your own solution:

Over the course of attacking Rep. Paul Ryan’s vision for America’s future on Tuesday, President Obama argued that Republican spending cuts represented “pulling up … ladders for the next generation” after previous generations had benefited from government investments. But in reality, reckless and overly generous spending by older generations has placed a massive debt burden on America’s youth. Far from pulling up the ladders, putting our nation on a sustainable fiscal course would be taking a massive weight of the shoulders from younger Americans, enabling them to climb much more easily…

It’s one thing if Obama wants to argue to Americans that they should accept massive, across the board, tax increases to preserve his vision for government. But instead, he’d prefer not to offer solutions so he can have a free hand to attack Republicans in an election year. As Obama’s Treasury Secretary told Ryan in February: “We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

Right, but of course this is why O and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the rest of the gang spend so much time publicly hyperventilating about the “Buffett Rule.” It’s not just a cheap class-warfare gimmick designed to appeal to blue-collar voters. It’s also a bit of misdirection, a way to make low-information voters believe that we can get out of the $15 trillion hole if only the mega-rich would pay a few percent more. The revenue raised by the Buffett Rule means squat; the revenue raised by letting the Bush tax cuts for the middle class expire would, however, go a long way towards funding Great Society II, but unlike Ryan, there’s simply no way Obama’s going to risk his political ambitions by telling the public that. Better to focus on how Ryan’s cuts would make it harder to predict the weather or whatever than to talk, say, about the trillion-dollar “Trojan Horse” that you and I know as ObamaCare. But hey, he got Bin Laden.

Long but worthwhile: Go read Guy Benson’s point by point response to O’s remarks this morning. Seven more months of this.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022