I’ve had a chance to read Obama’s budget speech, and have seen clips on television.
I was right in my anticipation that Obama would play the blame Bush game, and that he would demonize the “Top 2%,” and he did. With gusto.
But even I could not have expected the coarse tone of the speech. More than anything, it reminded me of Alan Grayson’s speech about how Republicans want people “to die quickly.”
Obama set up a series of outrageous arguments that trying to restructure failing programs which are bankrupting the nation reflected a desire By Republicans to leave multiple tens of millions of people “to fend for themselves.”
This was a fundamentally dishonest speech, as Paul Ryan, tha author of the plan attacked by Obama, explained (h/t HotAir):
Barack Obama is temperamentally unfit to be President, someone who is incapable of getting out of campaign mode even on issues of great national importance.
(added) This was a moment when Obama could have proven that he was the uniter he claimed to be not a divider, when he could have set forth an alternative plan without demeaning Republicans. No one could have expected Obama to stand there and say that he would agree to the Ryan plan, but no one should have expected a full frontal assault on the motives and humanity of those with whom he has policy disagreements. If Obama had signaled a readiness to reach across the aisle, to seek common ground without guaranteeing an outcome, he would have been presidential. Instead, there were just a few throw away lines about compromise at the end of a long screed.
If ever there were a time we needed someone able to act presidential, this was the moment, when everyone agrees we face a debt crisis. Yet instead of hearing a President, we heard a candidate.
Obama did what he did on health care; he not only closed the door to serious compromise, he slammed it shut and double-locked the door.
Update: Charles Krauthammer’s reaction:
“I thought it was a disgrace,” he said. “I rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan and so intellectually dishonest, outside the last couple of weeks of a presidential election where you are allowed to call your opponent anything short of a traitor. But, we’re a year-and-a-half away from Election Day and it was supposed to be a speech about policy. He didn’t even get to his own alternative until more than halfway through the speech. And when he did, he threw out numbers suspended in mid-air with nothing under them with all kinds of goals and guidelines and triggers that mean nothing. The speech was really about and entirely an attack on the [Rep. Paul] Ryan plan.”
And Clive Crook (who does not like the Ryan plan) in The Atlantic:
The speech was more notable for its militant–though ineffectual–hostility to Republican proposals than for any fresh thinking of its own. It was a waste of breath.
And none of this should come as a surprise, as I have been documenting for over two years:
- October 19, 2008 – A Harvard Trial Lawyer For McCain
- November 7, 2008 – Obama and Rahm Emanuel: When Will You Stop Being Surprised?
- March 1, 2009 – Barack Got Enemy
- October 26, 2009 – A Clintonian Defense of Our Nixonian President
- January 28, 2010 – A Window Into His Divisive Soul
- April 27, 2010 – Politico: Yeah, Barack Got Enemy
- September 6, 2010 – Demonizer-In-Chief Upset People Demonize Him
- October 10, 2010 – Obama The Divider, Part 101010