From Friday night’s Fox News All-Stars.
On the budget debate:
Well, it’s a great day for America today — the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for the first serious plan to deal with American debt in decades. It’s a risk. The party is jumping off a cliff and it will depend on the wisdom and seriousness of Americans when they vote next November. …
But I think it’s very important if they are going to win this debate … to get ahead of the meme that the president put out in his speech on Wednesday that Republicans are stealing from Medicare to lower tax rates.
That is not true on two grounds. Number one, he said as an example, I don’t need a tax cut of $200,000 … [taken from] 30 seniors each shelling out $6,000 each to support my tax cut and for other rich people. It [Ryan’s plan] won’t affect a single senior. It has no effect on anyone in fact over the age of 55. It’s never going to have any effect on them. It kicks in only in 2022.
And when it does — this is the second falsehood here — the money for lowering the rates comes from eliminating the deductions and exclusions and loopholes — exactly as was recommended by the president’s own deficit commission and exactly it was done in 1986 in the Reagan-Tip O’Neil tax reform. …
This idea of Medicare and tax cuts is not a detail. It’s a theme. The theme is they [the Republicans] are a cruel, immoral party who will steal from the helpless to support the rich. And that has to be argued against in detail, otherwise there are no chance the Republicans will succeed.
On the upcoming debt ceiling vote:
I think what Republicans have to demand is something structural. Not cuts here and there — that you can easily reverse in the next Congress or even next year. It’s got to be some kind of hard cap, [something] you need a supermajority to override.
On the burqa ban going into effect in France:
The symbolism in France is extremely important. If in America the great dividing, bloody issue of our history is race, in France the great dividing, bloody issue has been religion and secularism, starting with the French Revolution. And they had it settled by the early 20th century. They are not about to allow new immigrants [to] overturn that. … It’s not a trivial issue. It isn’t only about Islam. It’s about the essence of the French state.
On whether there’s a dark horse in the 2012 Republican field:
It’s rare for a party that doesn’t have the White House to have a leader. As of this week, I think [it’s] clear that the Republicans are the Ryan Republicans. Whether he’ll run for the presidency, I’m not sure. I think he should, later in the year. And if he doesn’t, Mitch Daniels, who believes what Ryan does, has put a lot of it into action in Indiana, would be a good surrogate.