Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president's birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Barack Obama's birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president's birth printed Aug. 13, 1961, from The Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
At any rate, why is Trump a front-runner for president of the United States when he is running on this one issue, that being a birth certificate? No one ever has won the nomination for the presidency on such a paltry matter. The answer is obvious. It is fame. Trump's fame has given him name recognition. If any other candidate had name recognition, he would be a front-runner, too. That is why I scratch my head when I think of what President Obama is doing for Rep. Paul Ryan. President Obama is giving him name recognition, and that could be dangerous for Obama.
Last week, when Obama asked Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, to attend his "fiscal policy" speech, he put Ryan in the front row. There he astonished Ryan by exposing him to one of the most partisanly abusive speeches I ever have heard from a president. He accused Ryan of being "un-American," among other enormities. Ryan was expecting some sort of olive branch to be extended to him. It would be, he thought, the start of serious negotiations between them. Instead, he was put on display as the archenemy of all New Deal, New Frontier and Great Society programs — as "un-American." Ryan was surprised, as he told Mark Levin on Levin's radio show.
Well, he might be surprised, but he also should be grateful. The differences between his budget and Obama's are dramatic. Ryan's budget plan proposes $6.2 trillion less in spending over the next decade. He would return America to its modern-day spending average of about 20 percent of gross domestic product. He would add $4.7 trillion less to the national debt. Even before Obamacare is fully factored in, Obama keeps spending at 24 percent of GDP, a peacetime record. Despite raising taxes, he leaves us with $600 billion annual deficits.
In brief, Obama keeps us on the catastrophic course he has put us on with taxes raised on the rich and a tax increase coming for the middle class. You could actually expropriate the rich, and the revenue stolen would not cover Obama's budget to socialism. Does Obama know this? He gives no evidence of it. Ryan, on the other hand, has suggested something new. He would face up to the deficits and the entitlement catastrophe for which we are heading. Rather than being "un-American," Ryan keeps America on course as the land of the free. Obama heads us off toward Greece.
Now Obama is making Ryan famous. In the months ahead, he is going to make Ryan the face of change. If other Republican candidates do not come forward, Ryan will be the candidate by default, and that is fine with me. He knows the budget very well. He has an alternative on the table for all to see as against Obama tax-and-spend policies, which put the federal government in control of more of the citizenry's life than ever. Ryan is vigorous, is attractive, speaks well and has a pleasant demeanor. Does that put you in mind of any prior Republican president? Ryan may be the Republican candidate, thanks to Obama. If so, he will be president, and Obama can begin work on his presidential library. I am betting it will be in Blue Island, Ill., but possibly it will be in Honolulu, where he could continue the search for his birth certificate.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery." To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.