Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Obama the Centrist

President Barack Obama took on the Paul Ryan GOP budget, which defunds services to the middle class and needy Americans to fund still more tax cuts for the rich without specifying where budget deficit reduction will actually come from, in a strong speech today:

Chiding Republicans for not learning anything from the failure of trickle-down policies that defined the last decades, Obama attacked the GOP budget head-on. “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. This is what they are running on. One of my potential opponents, Gov. Romney, has said he hopes a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on Day One of his presidency.”


“There’s oftentimes the impulse to suggest that, if the two parties are disagreeing, they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle,” Obama cautioned the room full of reporters. “And an equivalence is presented, which reinforces people’s cynicism about Washington in general. This is not one of those situations where there is an equivalence.”

The president noted that a similar theme has played out on other key issues, including cap-and-trade and Obama’s own health care law, both of which were first proposed as conservative alternatives to liberal approaches to environmental and health care reforms.

“Suddenly, this is some socialist overreach,” Obama joked.

“It is important to remember that the positions I’m taking on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, it would have been considered squarely centrist positions,” Obama said. “What has changed is the center of the Republican Party.”

Amen, brother. Greg Sargent does a nice job delineating the three main political objectives of the speech:

1) Obama cast the Romney-Ryan-GOP approach as not only radical and extreme, but as a proven failure.

2) Obama defended government activism as not just morally right, but as a way to facilitate economic growth.

3) Obama framed the choice as one over who sacrifices to fix the deficit.

Full explanations via the link above. One can only hope President Obama is reelected in November, if for no other reason than to defeat the most ideological, partisan, unrealistic budget proposal by a major political party in my lifetime. Per the facts.

Here's the speech:

Don't blow it, America.

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