The Corner

Ryan to Confront Obama’s ‘Politics of Division’ in Major Address

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) will take direct aim at President Obama’s efforts to “divide Americans” through class warfare in a major speech at the Heritage Foundation tomorrow morning.

According to an aide familiar with the congressman’s remarks, Ryan will confront “the politics of division” that have defined the president’s agenda of late, and outline “a principled, pro-growth alternative” to our current path of “debt, doubt, and decline.” The speech, titled “Saving the American Idea: Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division,” will build off the major policy address Ryan delivered at last month at the Hoover Institution.

“It appears that the politics of division are making a big comeback,” Ryan will say in his remarks, according to excerpts obtain by National Review Online. “Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, [President Obama] has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and resentment. This has the potential to be just as damaging as his misguided policies.”

“Instead of working together where we agree, the President has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past,” Ryan will say. “He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.”

Ryan will argue that this kind of class warfare is antithetical to our country’s values. “Telling Americans they are stuck in their current station in life, that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control, and that government’s role is to help them cope with it — well, that’s not who we are,” he plans to say. “Our Founding Fathers rejected this mentality.”

The real class warfare, he will argue, is the entrenched system of corporate welfare and crony capitalism that funnels taxpayer dollars to large, politically connected firms. Instead of raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, government should lower spending by reducing the amount a federal subsidies they receive. As Ryan intends to point out, the House Republican budget contained a number of measure that would do just that, only to be met with “sheer demagoguery.”

“The folly of class warfare,” Ryan will say, is that it involves “the eagerness to take more, combined with the refusal to subsidize less.”

Ryan will urge his fellow conservatives not to be discouraged by the president’s attacks and continue to advance an agenda “that helps restore the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation.”

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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