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Obama’s Budget Speech Means the 2012 Campaign is ON

President Obama’s “fiscal policy” speech Wednesday was among the most cynical things I’ve seen in 16 years of covering Washington politics.

It was not a fiscal policy speech. There was no fiscal policy in it. There were broad goals without any of the specific, difficult decisions he would have to make in order to get there. The speech was hollow. A mirage. A phantom.

Obama reviews budget speech
"So you see, Mr. President, at your request, we've taken out the phrase 'Paul Ryan is a doo doo head.'"

Except that it was a campaign document, conceived, I’m sure, by David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign chairman who is now Obama’s right hand man in the White House.

It comes only two months after Obama proposed a budget that would have cut trillions less from the deficit. What could have caused president to turn on a dime? A suddenly sober, new analysis of the situation? No, politics. That’s all it could be.

And that’s all this was.

Just hours after Obama finished, his campaign manager, Jim Messina, sent out a message to people on the campaign email list using the Obama speech and the GOP budget – written by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – to build the organization and drum up enthusiasm.

Join our fight for a deficit reduction plan that will actually reduce the deficit — with a goal of shared prosperity through shared responsibility. Add your name to support President Obama’s plan — and then help bring more people into the conversation:

http://my.barackobama.com/Deficit-Plan

President Obama made a promise in his speech today. He said that we won’t have to sacrifice programs like Medicaid and Social Security — programs that millions of Americans rely on — as long as he’s President. He’s committed to seeking serious solutions to the problems we face while still upholding the larger responsibilities we have to one another. So it’s our job to build the organization that’s going to keep him in the White House.

Most of the speech wasn’t even devoted to his “budget plan” at all.  It was devoted to trashing Republicans at a level of vitriol usually reserved for the waning days of a campaign.

To give the impression of bipartisanship and pretend that he wanted to deal in good faith, Obama sat Ryan down in the audience to listen to the remarks. What Ryan heard was that his budget plan was unserious and un-American.

This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . .  There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.  That’s not a vision of the America I know. The America I know is generous and compassionate.

He trotted out the two chairman of his fiscal discipline commission, whose specific suggestions on reducing the deficit Obama has failed to embrace. They sat like a couple of beards positioned to make everyone think Obama was enamored of real fiscal discipline. They should have walked out, and they certainly shouldn’t be headed to the White House this morning for a meeting with Obama.

Even within the broad outlines, Obama didn’t embrace Medicare reform, choosing instead to squeeze more savings here and there.

And if those don’t work? Death panels:

We will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.

He repeated old promises to raise taxes on families making $250,000 or more. He vowed to somehow squeeze another $400 billion out of the defense budget, even while we fight four wars, if you include Libya and the war on terror.

He says he wants tax reform, and calls on Congress to figure it out. And he said nothing about making tax reform revenue neutral, which his commission wants – apparently using it instead as a Trojan horse to raise taxes further to reduce the deficit.

He’ll cut discretionary spending, somehow, but “I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs.”

He even spent several minutes blaming Bush for everything, just when we all thought maybe he was done with that.

This is indeed unserious. But I wouldn’t call it un-American, because I don’t stoop to that. And anyway, I can’t. Empty rhetoric is firmly with the American political tradition.

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48 Responses to Obama’s Budget Speech Means the 2012 Campaign is ON

  1. We expect a higher level of civility from our President, no matter what party he aligns with. This President has shown himself to be utterly partisan and willing to use the Presidential Seal to denigrate, insult, and attack those who don’t believe in his agenda or belong to another political party.
    Our finacial problems aren’t specific to Dems or Repubs or even non-voters, they are all inclusive and affect every American.

    That his ardent supporters champion this kind of political attack is frightening and raises the question of their sanity. Sane people do not believe that Repubs want disabled children to “fend for themselves” or seniors to panhandle on the street. When the POTUS says these things we wonder if he really believes these things or is he just saying the words that someone else wrote like a robotron.

    If this was truly a political re-election speech, then the Obama camp is seriously in trouble. Rumors of big donors sitting on their purses while they wait to see what opposition will appear might be true. The “billion dollar campaign” could be just a lot of wishful thinking and a measure of how difficult it will be to re-elect MrO.

  2. What more do you expect from the guy? He’s the most crass and snide person to ever occupy the presidency. Back when ObamaCare was being shoved through the legislative process, he used the law’s tanning tax clause (which is already hurting and may ultimately kill my brother’s business) to take a cheap shot at Boehner by saying, “the following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax: Snooki, J-WOWW, the Situation and House Minority Leader John Boehner.” The man (and I use that term loosely) is the most unserious and juvenile individual to ever be elected president. He’s not the worst (Pierce and Buchanan were the worst presidents ever) but he’s certainly the least mature.

  3. When are Americans going to get sick enough of the feds overspending to put an end to this? The answer is NOT to raise/lower taxes, it is to make some seriously brave decisions about spending. Yes, cut the defense budget. Yes, cut Planned Parenthood. Bring our military home. Prefer budget cuts that don’t lay off fed workers when possible, as they’ll just be unemployed until the economy picks up anyway.

    We are in a very real crisis, and nobody is taking it seriously. The GOP is seeing everything in partisan terms. The dems are just plain retarded. Stop it! Paycuts for ALL fed workers across the board. WAKE UP, WE HAVE NO MONEY. Debt regulatories, for the first time, are seeing the US as “high risk”. Thanks BO, we are now the trailer trash of the world. It is time to make some REAL CHANGES to the fed addiction to massive spending.

    It’s going to tick off a lot of people, but it needs to be done. We are such a ridiculously spoiled generation that our inability to say “no” to the entitled may spiral the country into complete collapse. Do it now while there is still hope!

    If a social program has enough public support, a private non-profit will appear in the void of fed support. If not, it was not needed. Simple!

    What happened to American pride??? Oh yeah, the current regime is not proud of America. WHAAAT?? How can we tolerate this?

  4. Very good, Keith. How smart is it for he and his gurus to motivate his opponents not that we weren’t motivated before?

    Everyone always says that the Obama 2008 campaign was so brilliant. Without getting a total pass from the MSM he wouldn’t even be president today.

  5. Excellent analysis of his speech Keith. I can only stomach short clips of his lectures, so it is good to know there is somebody out there who is willing to do the heavy lifting.

  6. I’m a deficit hawk, and I was very disappointed with the partisan speech yesterday. Everyone knows we can’t balance the budget without entitlement reform, and Obama refused to endorse any entitlement reform on any level.

    He wants to raise taxes to support expanded government, but the tax code rarely raises more than 19% of GDP – it doesn’t matter if tax rates are high or low. When rates are high, rich people buy tax shelters and defer capital gains. Taxing the rich and refusing to embrace reforms won’t solve the problem.

    Obama is stealing from our children. He is bankrupting our country. It must stop.

  7. progressives/liberals/socialists/communists/unions are all on the ropes since the emergence of the Tea Parties and the effect they had on the November elections.
    They are scared and desperate as one can clearly see by their behavior which is only escalating and will continue to do so especially next month.(witness the insanity in WI)
    They know it is their last chance ahead of the 2012 elections where they will lose their last bit of power and be relegated to obscurity again.
    We must also STEP UP our efforts – we out number them by large majorities – make yourselves visible – email your congressperson and senator – talk to your friends and families.
    I am so tried of political correctness – some honest reality based discussion are in order.

    The “O” must GO!!!!
    Progressivism = Totalitarianism

  8. As the late radio personality, Paul Harvey, use to say…you start having problems when more people are riding the wagon than those pulling it.

  9. Get your hate on ppl, seriously. I love the hyperbolic comments on Obama. He’s the worst socialist, communist president ever!!!!!!!!!!! (paraphrasing). How do you not see the ridiculousness of regurgitating republican talking points? They (the talking heads) said similar crap about Clinton, and it was just as unfounded. Republican commentators (I use republican, not conservative, because most are simply party apparatchiks) must have restless-leg syndrome, because their knees are always a jerkin’. Please, take a deep breath and think.

    • Mr. Marx, is that you? Seriously though, Clinton and Obama are like two peas in a Saul Alinksy pod. Only difference is Clinton eventually saw the writing on the wall, and realized that America is a right of center country. Obama is a hardened, rigid ideologue. He is trying to force his vision of change on this country against our will. That, my friend, just ain’t gonna happen.

  10. That it was merely a political speech is obvious. To what end? The thinking seems to be that Nobama can play a classical politcal game whereby he makes no concrete proposals, but claims he has, while attacking the actual concrete plans laid out by his political opponents as partisan and unfair to the poor and middle class. While this “move to the center” is all too transparent it remains an open question whether enough people will actually believe it or see through it. Since so much of Mr. O’s shortcomings seemed to be obvious before he was elected it is fair to say that he has a better than even shot at convincing a majority of people once again that he really is for compromise and bi-partisianship, despite all the evidence supporting an opposite conclusion. His campaign staff certainly seem to believe that it will only take some catchy slogans–Win the Future–some pandering to the base and consistent sharp criticism of the other party to retain a hold on the WH in 2012. So far it would be a big gamble to say they are wrong.

  11. Agree. That speech left me, an Obama voter, depressed. Ryan’s proposal, no matter how draconian (or not) was absolutely ‘serious’.
    The President tried to bs his followers into following…..nothing.
    If the GOP doesn’t come up with a bible toting nitwit, I’ll be forced to vote for the party of social intrusion.
    Depressing, indeed.

  12. April 13, 2011

    Dear President Obama,

    I read the speech that you gave at GW. I’m confused, maybe you can help me, because I was just at the electrical supply house and I was yakking with the people on line and if what you say is true than they must have been lying to me, and they did not look or act like liars. According to your speech these good people should have all the resources they need to deal with a very unfortunate circumstance that has befallen one of their dear friends.

    Anyway. I’m on line getting a credit for a fan that the “Obama Economy” can’t get produced and delivered in less than 6 weeks. So I inquire as to why two fellows that look like they belong in a club in the village (that’s lower manhattan for my online friends) are doing up in my neck of the woods. They explain that the pipe is to hang some equipment on so they can have a benefit for their friend who is dieing from cancer. Now I’m a problem solver. If some ones got trouble and I can do something about it. It’s going to get fixed. So we go through the details of this unfortunate souls fate. Long story short. Every promise that liberal democrats made to this man his entire life were broken at the moment he needed them most. The moment he found himself destitute and dieing. Lucky for him he has friends who have banded together to raise what will be a tidy sum to get him squared away properly.

    During your speech you painted a picture of an America that does not exist. Through all your liberal socialist democratic friends efforts. Americans still do not get the benefit of those promises. There are lots of reasons for this, unfettered immigration, an energy policy that believes in the notion of scarcity and shared sacrifice, a military policy that is betting on a constant stalemate and not victory, and the biggest problem of all, fraud. You see Mr. Obama once you erect a window and post the sign “Free Stuff Here” then it’s all over. Every dishonest individual comes forward and begins the process of weakening the very tapestry that America is constructed out of.

    Almost two years ago I wrote you a letter and my conclusion was this: “You still have an opportunity to alter your backwards philosophy and make a course correction, and grab onto that needle and thread and start weaving the tapestry of America that countless millions and 43 presidents before you struggled and sacrificed for. America is a team; we elected you President, now start sewing with the threads of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and affirming our core values of faith, family, work, freedom, and peace . . .” Americans have seen that it is not your intention to do any of this. That is why you lost in 2010 and you will lose in 2012. We gave you a chance. You blew it. You see the Presidency is not a kickball on a playground to be held jealously. It is an office of great responsibility. It’s obvious we need an American who has had some, wielded it wisely, and done the right thing even when no one was looking.

    On November 6, 2012 – I’ll be voting for that American.

    Respectfully,

    Joe Doakes

  13. Obama does not know how to lead. He knows how to campaign, and his speech was exactly that. Difficult times like these require leadership. Unfortunately, we have a Campaigner in Chief. We need to elect someone who actually knows how to solve problems and get things done (not a community organizer who has spent his whole life agitating the public to be more dependent on the government).

  14. Our young president is acting more and more like the bully I expected from the beginning of his administration. He wants to fundamentally change America in to his vision of a European-style America that kowtows to the progressive liberals. In the end, I believe he will only manage to anger most Americans into a rage that will ultimately bring down his style of political chicanery and reawaken American idealism towards fair play and honest government. At least I am hopeful that will be the case. If not, then I suppose the entire world will have to revisit that period of European history known as the Dark Ages and from there reclaw their way to a new sense of civility and a sense of justice so sorely missing in the world today. People like Barack Obama are nothing more than cheap theatrical thugs with no compassion in them for honesty and belief in freedom through democratic principles as founded in our Constitution. God save us from this mad man.

  15. Trickle up poverty. Obama is nothing but a front-man for the greatest financial coup d’etat in world history. The level of wealth redistribution is staggering. Everything for the Washington-aligned financial interests, bread and circuses for the ignorant poor (his electoral base) and a complete and SYSTEMATIC gutting and looting of the middle and the productive classes. The US is finished. In ten years, the TSA will be openly raping the few remaining white girls who refuse to “get with the program.” We are living in a pre-Auschwitz situation. There is a gulag in your future.

  16. Kill granny. Kill autistic babies. Throw the poor out on the streets in order to give tax cuts to the rich. That’s the Ryan plan. My plan is to preserve all the good things that government does for you–paying for it all by making the rich pay their fair share.

    Did I mention that I’m an economic/financial/historical illiterate who thinks you’re all too stupid to figure out that I don’t have the first clue what I am doing in either domestic or foreign policy? Did I mention that I spent much of my formative years being tutored by Communist Party members (F.M. Davis) and radicals (W. Ayers)? So, be a good little guilty white liberal and vote for me again because I’m the moral vanity candidate.

  17. This was the Paul Wellstone momement of the Obama time frame. People will not forget the shrill rhetoric of a campaign speech designed to pull attention away from the Ryan plan to cover the lack of a coherient plan from him.

    Who did Obama send out to announce his speech at GWU, David Pluffe, not Geitner, not Sperling from the financial side, no, his campaign mgr. That shoudl tell you all you need to know. Decietful as can be.

    FERV888

  18. It is true, Obama is king of Obamerica. A land where truth come from a
    telaprompter. The sheepeople emotionaly feel the greatness of every word.The press needs dipers because they have lost control and it really
    dose not matter if they do their job anyway.
    It is also true, people want to live in America. Where truth found through
    rigorous and tested debate. People want to chart their own path and believe
    greatness of America. Thus given time more people will see Obamerica
    for what it is.

  19. Do you know what else can cut the defict. cut that dam Earn Income Tax Credit. That credit has led to billions of dollars of Fraud and stealing money under the nose of our government. Stop givng out so much, cut it and let the people receivng unemployment get it as well. People claiming relatives that lives in other states or countries are getting thousands of dollars. I am sorry, Until it became the largiest Tax fraud in Tax credit, it should be shut down or fixed and I want to be on that committee to do it. and slowly giving it back to those who are entitle to it and make it stricker! Thats My opinion.