That’s how House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) described President Obama’s
2012 stump deficit reduction speech this afternoon. And understandably so. Ryan says he was “excited” to received an invitation to the president’s speech, and thought it was a potential “olive branch” to the GOP signaling the start of meaningful negotiations over the deficit. Not so, as we all know. I imagine being forced to sit through a smug lecture explaining how the serious plan you’ve just proposed to save America from a debt crisis is actually, in fact, fundamentally un-American, is not a very pleasant experience.
I’m very disappointed in the president. I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the President’s invitation to Mr. Camp, Mr. Hensarling and myself was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our countries pressing fiscal challenges.
What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in chief.
I guess it’s no coincidence that last week when the President launched his billion dollar re-election campaign was the week we launched our effort to try and get this debt and deficit under control and get our economy growing.
Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. Then with his budget he disavowed his iscal commission. He ignored all of its recommendations. Now he wants to delegate leadership yet again to a new commission. How are we to expect different results? And the measurements of results of this new commission are lower than the measurements of success of the last commission that ended a few months ago.
We need leadership. We don’t need a doubling down on the failed politics of the past.
This is very sad and very unfortunate. Rather than building bridges, he’s poisoning wells. By failing seriously to confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, the President’s policies are committing us and our children to a diminished future.
We’re looking for bipartisan solutions not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about it, we’re going to be here working.
Exploiting people’s emotions of fear, envy, and anxiety is not hope; it’s not change. It’s partisanship. We don’t need partisanship. We don’t need demagoguery. We need solutions. And we don’t need to keep punting to other people to make tough decisions. If we don’t make tough decisions today, our children will have to make much, much tougher decisions tomorrow.
So I am sincerely disappointed that the President had a moment when we were putting ideas on the table, trying to engage in a thoughtful dialogue to fix this country’s economic and fiscal problems, decides to pour on the campaign rhetoric, launch his re-election, and pass partisan broadsides against us, making it that much harder for the two parties to come together with mutual respect of one another to get things done.