President Obama entered full-on campaign mode Tuesday, responding to Republican budget priorities with a big speech full of feisty rhetoric framing political dysfunction in Washington as a function of radical GOP intransigence.
Addressing last week's Paul Ryan budget proposal, Obama argued that blame for the gap between the two parties is due to the rapid rightward extremism of the Republican party.
"They have proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract for America look like the New Deal," he said. "In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget radical. He said it would contribute to right-wing social engineering. ... This is now the party's governing platform."
Obama drew a contrast not just between Republicans and Democrats, but also with the Republican party of today and that of years past, accusing modern conservatives of an eagerness to cut social programs while completely refusing any possibility of increased tax revenues on the nation's most wealthy.
"For generations, nearly all of these investments [social programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance] ... have been supported by people in both parties," Obama intoned. But no longer: "Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down."
Clearly the president hopes voters buy into his message and do some doubling down of their own.
Note on 'bias'
Being political editorialists, we are particularly prone to all manner of nasty accusations. One of the worst insults hurled our direction by confused readers is that we are "Obama shills," that we disseminate biased falsehoods based solely on perceived political gains for our president. This is just untrue: Categorizing critique of one party's extreme wrongheadedness as an endorsement of any other is, as Mr. Obama might say, a false equivalency.
Does disdain for Republicans signal support for Democrats? Of course not. Can one fear both bears and nuclear-armed bears? We'd say that's an imperative.
We happen to think that Obama is a phony; that he's full of empty promises; that his policies will undermine U.S. freedom and economic prosperity for years to come.
And that his GOP rivals, if given half a chance, would only do much, much worse.
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