I see that President Barack Obama has filed as a candidate for re-election in 2012. I previously suggested that he get to work early on his presidential library and forgo the race, but he is insistent. Well, I tried.
Though some in the media are covering for him, his announcement is the earliest of any modern president's. It continues a trend that began in 1972. That was when then-Sen. George McGovern captured the Democratic presidential nomination, though he lost in the autumn of that year in a squeaker. Richard Nixon stole the election, 47,169,911 to 29,170,383. Tricky Dick got 60.7 percent of the vote, the largest in history except for Lyndon Johnson's 61.1 percent. Watergate changed history.
We knew it was coming. Every person concerned about the nation's impending fiscal collapse knew that any proposal to fix the problem - entitlement spending - would be met by shameless demagoguery and fear-mongering by leading liberals. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and newly minted DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not disappoint. President Obama's own pleas to not play politics with such reform efforts apparently fell on deaf ears. Even Wasserman-Schultz's "civility cop" schtick post-Tucson (so three months ago) hasn't dissuaded her from characterizing Ryan's proposal as a "death trap" for America's seniors (note the media silence compared to Palin's "death panels").
Check out Laura Ingraham blasting their hypocrisy below the break (via Hot Air).
New York Times chief economics writer David Leonhardt argued against the deficit-reducing House Republican budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan in his Wednesday front-page Business Day column “A Lopsided Proposal for Medicare.” Instead, Leonhardt called for higher taxes on "affluent Americans"(his reasoning: All wealthy countries do it). It’s one of his favorite arguments for redistributing the wealth.
While admitting the Republican budget was “a daring one in many ways” he faulted it for not reforming Medicare, which he interestingly admits is a “welfare program,” since people generally get more out of it in care than what they paid into the program in taxes. Leonhardt again called for rationing health care in the name of cost control.
A fairer, more fiscally conservative plan would not postpone dealing with Medicare. It would leave in place the cost control measures in the health reform bill and go even further to reward the quality of care rather than the volume.Obviously, these steps would run some risk of restricting good treatments, too. But, remember, we’re facing “an existential threat.” We can’t limit ourselves to solutions without risks.
Respectable economist turned partisan New York Times columnist Paul Krugman weighed in at his nytimes.com blog Tuesday morning on the ambitious budget proposal for Fiscal Year '12, released by the chairman of the House Budget Committee, the formerly flim-flam-sauce-drenched Rep. Paul Ryan.
In his post, headlined “The Threat Within,” Krugman at least held off the childish insults this time, perhaps because it backfired in his face back in August 2010, when the source he used in his column to “prove” Ryan was a flim-flammer acting in bad faith actually wrote a defense of him in response.
Krugman feared Obama would not sufficiently demagogue the issue like brave Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi did when Bush tried to save Social Security through a partial privatization in 2005.
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is slated to release the Republican budget for FY2012 today. He took to the Wall Street Journal to offer some details and tout the need for budget reform. Ryan also created the very slick video you'll see below the break to outline the nation's fiscal situation. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Do you believe Rep. Paul Ryan when he says we only have a few years left to get our fiscal house in order, or we're going to face European-type austerity? How about the co-chairmen of the bipartisan deficit commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who have essentially issued the same warning?
Have you taken a hard look at President Obama's 10-year budget with a view to whether it would marginally address the crisis? Are you aware of the gargantuan deficits it projects — averaging some $1 trillion per year — and that this is before considering the Congressional Budget Office's scoring that revealed that its projected cumulative deficits were understated by a staggering $2.3 trillion?
The 2012 presidential and congressional elections are shaping up to be a referendum on whether the American people have the wisdom, the discipline and the will to save this nation.
The nation is on an unsustainable path to fiscal bankruptcy, whose leading long-term drivers are Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Yet at every turn, Democrats have obstructed reform with vicious, demagogic attacks on those genuinely trying to reform them.
On CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer interviewed Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan and compared union protests in that state to the democracy movements spreading across the Middle East: "There are also reports that this could spread to at least nine other states....Is Madison, Wisconsin, Congressman, the Tunisia of American politics now?"
At the top of the broadcast, Schieffer declared "protests at home and abroad" and moments later, he touted the size and duration of the demonstrations in Wisconsin: "For the fourth day in a row and in the largest turnout yet, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again in Madison, Wisconsin as they marched to protest major cuts in state spending. The question is, will the protests spread to other states where similar proposals to cut spending are also being contemplated?"
While The New York Times is gloating over "turmoil" in the GOP House "ranks," internal disagreements over spending and other issues are a healthy development and should lead to more disciplined and aggressive action.
In his State of the Union speech, President Obama presented himself as a remade fiscal hawk, promising to freeze discretionary spending for five years. Conservatives immediately called him out on his disingenuousness. After greatly escalating baseline spending the past two years, his freeze pledge, especially when coupled with his gross inattention to the looming entitlement crisis, would just lock us onto our inexorable path to national bankruptcy.
Beware when the liberal media starts a "fact check" story on political speeches. Their "facts" often come directly from liberal policy wonks. On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR ran through a series of Obama claims without really saying he mangled a fact. Reporter Elisabeth Shogren suggested he was too optimistic about getting electric cars on the road with "this Congress" (ahem, not progressive enough). But reporter John Ydstie suggested Paul Ryan was wrong to suggest the stimulus failed, citing that "economists of both persuasions" agree Ryan was incorrect:
RENEE MONTAGNE, anchor: And the president also spoke of infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail and expanding to most of the population high-speed Internet. John Ydstie, let's bring you back in. Investment was a big theme of this State of the Union speech. In the official Republican rebuttal, Congressman Paul Ryan had this to say about that.
NewsBusters for years has chronicled the staggering idiocy of comedian Bill Maher.
On Tuesday's "Situation Room," we got a hand from Wolf Blitzer when he marvelously countered Maher's complaint that CNN's decision to air Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) Tea Party response to the President's State of the Union address was depriving Democrats of equal time (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"News is about stories," Rachel Maddow intones in this MSNBC "Lean Forward" promo. "It's about finding all the disparate facts and then finding their coherence. Doing this right takes rigor and a devotion to facts that borders on obsessive. ... At the end of the day, though, this is about what's true in the world."
Just as the purpose of this promo is to convince MSNBC viewers and advertisers that Maddow is so nobly inclined, despite a never-ending supply of inconvenient facts to the contrary.
On her show Monday night, for example, Maddow talked about Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin being selected to provide the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union speech and Ryan as author of "A Roadmap for America's Future," his detailed legislative proposal for reducing federal debt, when she said this: [Video and audio clips after page break]
What's with the New York Times and its inability to practice what it preaches when it comes to avoiding gun-filled images and rhetoric? A few days ago I noted how the Times had placed a bullet-riddled ad for a violent video game right on its online op-ed page.
Now comes this Times headline: "Republicans’ Budget Man Draws Fire". That is of course a metaphorical invocation of someone who by his actions invites an enemy to shoot at him. The article's subject was Republican congressman Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and budget hawk who will be giving the GOP response to Pres. Obama's SOTU. To complete the martial metaphor, the article, by Jennifer Steinhauer and David Herszenhorn, also describes Ryan as "the Republican point man" on budget cuts. A point man is of course the soldier at the lead of a patrol, hence most likely to be shot.
NBC's Meredith Vieira wasted no time in jumping down Paul Ryan's throat, on Wednesday's Today show, as she said it appeared the Republican Party did not care as much about creating jobs, since they seemed to be more focused on repealing Obamacare, which the Today co-anchor characterized as "an act of revenge." For his part the Wisconsin Republican Congressman responded that repealing Obamacare law had everything to do with creating jobs since, as he educated Vieira, "The health care bill has massive tax increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs," as seen in the following exchange:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: As of today Republicans control the House, and as Matt just brought up, one of the key points on your agenda will be attempting to repeal the health care plan. But given the fact you do not have the votes in the Senate, as Senator McCain just pointed out, and the President has veto power. And also given the fact that the American voters, in the midterm elections, made it clear that what they care about most right now are jobs and the economy, why go down this path at all? It almost feels like an act of revenge on the part of the Republican Party?
REP. PAUL RYAN: Well, first of all, this is related to jobs and the economy. The health care bill has massive tax increases on individuals and employers that will cost us jobs. So this, don't think that this isn't related to jobs.
(video after the jump)
Vieira went on to belittle House Republicans' move to cut their own budgets but then cited the New York Times to claim they were "backtracking" on their promises to cut spending, which was yet another error Ryan was forced to correct as seen in this back and forth:
On Thursday's Today show, NBC's Matt Lauer pushed Mike Pence to compromise on the tax deal to get the measure passed before Christmas as he hectored the Indiana Republican Congressman that "there are things in this package that neither side likes, but that's the basis of compromise." Lauer even attempted to start an intramural fight between Republicans as he threw the words of Congressman Paul Ryan in Pence's face, as seen in this exchange:
MATT LAUER: You said this is a tough call. How do you think it's gonna go in the rest of the House? Do you think it'll pass?
MIKE PENCE: Yeah I think it is a tough call. Look no, no House Republican wants to see taxes go up on any American. And, and most of us have been fighting to make sure that no American sees a tax increase in, in January. But, for my part, I just believe that this tax cut deal will do little to create jobs. It adds to the national debt. I think we can do better. I think we can take time to do better and Congress should do just that.
LAUER: Even as you make this decision one of your fellow Republicans, Paul Ryan, is criticizing it, saying, "You know what this is a purely political decision." As a matter of fact I think he goes further to say, "It's a purely personal, political decision. That as someone who is being considered or perhaps considering running for president in 2012, you can't be seen as too cooperative with the Democrats or President Obama." How do you respond to that?
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday offered up Democratic talking points as he discussed a new set of Republican promises, should the GOP win Congress. The skeptical host interviewed Representative Paul Ryan and repeated, "You heard the President. He said this is the exact same agenda as Republicans had before he came to office. How is it different?"
In a tease for the segment, he spun, "Republicans unveil their plan for America: Cutting taxes and repealing health care." It may seem like a small distinction but Republicans oppose the new law, not the concept of Americans having health care.
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Tuesday's Today show, demonstrated just how out of touch she is on the Tea Party and the economy as she questioned GOP House members, "Are you worried about the influence of the Tea Party?" and even doubted the positive effect tax cuts can have on creating jobs as she questioned: "What's so good about them?" [audio available here]
On to promote their new book Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders, Republican Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy were on hand to school the Today anchor, with Cantor having to explain to Vieira that "the last thing you want to do in an economy like this with 9.6 percent unemployment is have a big tax increase on small businesses," as seen in the following exchange:
VIEIRA: One of the key issues also heading into the midterm elections, is this expiration of the tax cuts, Bush's tax cuts. Over the weekend, your leader I guess, your boss, Minority Leader John Boehner said that he would support tax cuts for just middle income earners, if that was his only option. Yesterday he took that back, he did an about-face. Why?
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has struck back at Paul Krugman calling the New York Times columnist "intellectually lazy."
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Krugman wrote an article the previous day castigating Ryan as "The Flimflam Man" calling the Congressman a "charlatan" and a "fraud" while claiming his "Roadmap" to balance the nation's budget was "drenched in flimflam sauce."
Krugman's criticisms of the Republican rising star were of course praised by all manner of media member from the shills at MSNBC to the sycophants in the liberal blogosphere.
Paul Krugman's Friday column in the New York Times attacked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has dared to present an intellectually honest budget, as "The Flimflam Man." Joseph Lawler at the American Spectator calls it "unusually partisan even by Krugman's standards" and he's right; Krugman calls Ryan's efforts a "fraud," Ryan himself "a flimflam man" whose work is (zing!) "drenched in flimflam sauce." But Krugman's attack backfired when his main source for his argument, the left-of-center Tax Policy Center, disputed his claim of bad faith on the part of Ryan.
Krugman let his trademark petulance show, griping that the Washington Post was too nice to Ryan in a recent front-page article, and went further on his nytimes.com blog Friday morning, calling Post journalists economic ignoramuses: "One thing that has been overwhelmingly obvious in the discussion of Paul Ryan's roadmap is that lots of people who should know better -- including, alas, reporters at the Washington Post -- don't know how to read a CBO report." (Incidentally, Krugman, feeling the heat from non-fawning blog commenters offering substantive challenges to his glib economic assumptions, now limits the length of those comments.)
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he's hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.
Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Chris Matthews on Monday got a much-needed lesson from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on how tax hikes impact the budget as well as the economy.
"Congressman Ryan, is there any tax role for reducing our $1.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion debt this year -- deficit this year?" Matthews asked during the 5PM installment of MSNBC's "Hardball." "Is there any role in tax increasing to help do that job?"
When Ryan gave an answer Matthews didn't like, the host arrogantly responded, "So, you won`t cut -- you won`t raise taxes and you won`t cut spending...All this bitching about the deficit doesn`t mean squat, because you won`t do either, raise taxes or reduce spending."
With the ball nicely teed up, Ryan unleashed a drive down the middle of the fairway that would make Tiger Woods proud (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Twitter's @LFRGary):
Possible talking point: Rep. Paul Ryan. A recent speech has people talking, as it should. An excerpt:
The question is, do we realign with the vision of a European-style social welfare state, or do we realign with the American idea?
My party challenges the whole basis of the Progressivist vision of this country's future. We challenge their attack on American exceptionalism. We challenge their claim that bureaucratic centralization is the only way the US can meet the economic and social challenges of our time.
Those leaders have underestimated the good sense of the American people. They broke faith with independents, Republicans, and their own rank-and-file. They walked away from the foundational truths that made America the wonder and the envy of the world. The price of their infidelity will be high.
Read the whole thing, if you get the chance. Then come back here to discuss. Is Ryan overstating the threat? Is he too confident in the GOP? Are his objections shared by the country at large?
Speculation was rampant that today's health care summit could be a trap for Republicans. In fact, Republicans performed as well as they could have, given the hostile circumstances. The best part: the national media was compelled to cover it all.
The concern for the GOP going in was that President Obama, with his supreme oratory skills, would back the GOP into a corner and get them to agree to legislation out of sheer political necessity. The national news media would, of course, be lying in wait, cameras rolling, anticipating a slip up to fill the evening broadcasts.
But none came; at least on the Republican side. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., one of the GOP's fastest-rising stars, laid out the free market health care argument for the nation to see. He told the president and the American people (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript),
Dick Armey on Wednesday took a shot at MSNBC calling the cable television network a soft news source that panders to the Left.
The former House Majority leader was a guest host on this morning's "Squawk Box," and during an interview with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) about a number of issues before Congress including healthcare reform, Armey took the opportunity to make a media bias comment.
Speaking about the Democrats, Armey said, "They need to understand they live in an Internet world now, and people are getting their information from some place other than MSNBC or other soft news sources that are pandering to the Left" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 7:15, h/t to Story Balloon for video find):
It worked for President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, when he took tax cuts - a conservative issue - and made it his own. Now, liberals are employing a similar tactic in promoting their health care agenda.
But Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., isn't having it. He called out Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the left wing The Nation magazine and MSNBC guest co-host, for attempting it in questioning him in a MSNBC segment on July 29. vanden Heuvel asked Ryan why he was against a so-called public health insurance option. His opposition, she reasoned, would deny consumers the choice of a public option in the marketplace.
"Rep. Ryan, that sounds like an anti-competitive vote," vanden Heuvel said. "Competition is at the heart of America and to deny Americans competition by denying them an option of a public plan seems to me un-American."
"ABC News has more than earned the title of the All Barack Channel, they have recklessly fought to achieve it," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell stated in a press release today.
The network had promised to deliver a health care presentation that would "not be ‘slanted' in any way - much less a ‘day-long infomercial' or ‘in-kind free advertising'," but not a single expert was offered to counter President Obama's plan to nationalize the nation's health care industry.
Instead, ABC News "balanced" itself this morning by having Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on today's "Good Morning America" to discuss his health care ideas - for a 3 minute 5 second segment. Ryan got less than 2 minutes (1 minute, 47 seconds) to respond to questions. Obama received 25 times that much time last night.
Apparently feeling some heat about its decision to not allow any Republicans to participate in its primetime ObamaCare infomercial Wednesday evening, ABC decided at the last minute to invite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Thursday's "Good Morning America."
Unfortunately, both McConnell and Steele, having been given less than 24 hours notice, were not available, and the RNC suggested "GMA" contact Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wi.), one of the GOP's leading voices on healthcare in the House.
Although Ryan was available, and did speak with Sawyer Thursday morning, the "GMA" co-host still felt the need to tell viewers McConnell and Steele declined her invitation (video embedded right):