House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday accusedOoomph. Talk about a punishing barrage of brutal rhetorical blows. Seriously, that was epic. In fact, it's a good thing that President Obama already won his reelection campaign (beating none other than Paul Ryan in the process), because otherwise, I don't know if the president could ever hope to recover from Ryan's devastating critique.
President Obama of attacking “straw men” in his second inauguration speech,
arguing that the president mischaracterized Republicans’ position on
federal entitlement programs.
“No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements – entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security – are putting you in a ‘taker’ category,” Ryan said on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham’s radio show. “No one would suggest that whatsoever.”
Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee and his party’s leader when it comes to pressing for federal entitlement reform, contended that Obama made a “switcheroo” in his speech by suggesting that Republicans have referred to beneficiaries of those programs as “takers.” In reality, he said, that term refers to recipients of welfare and other non-“earned” entitlements.
And let me be clear, I'm perfectly serious. As Ryan said, the president attacked a strawman. For example, when Ryan proposed ending Medicare as we know it, he wasn't doing so because he is against Medicare—it's just that he doesn't think it should exist, at least not as it currently stands. So it's a total strawman to say Paul Ryan isn't the most committed Medicare supporter in the world. After all, his mother is a Medicare recipient.
Same goes for Social Security. Paul Ryan is the the biggest champion of Social Security ever to walk on the face of this earth. FDR pales in comparison. Nobody should ever forget Ryan's stirring, emotional defense of the program when he spoke to the Ayn Rand Leadership Society of America (or whatever the name of the group was):
But when you look at the fight that we’re in here in Capital Hill, it’s a tough fight. It’s a very important fight. But we need more people on our side to fight this fight. That is why there is no more fight that is more obvious between the differences of these two conflicts than Social Security. Social Security right now is a collectivist system, it’s a welfare transfer system.See? President Obama was totally setting up a straw man when he suggested Republicans believe programs like Social Security "make us a nation of takers." That's nothing at all like what Republicans believe, certainly not Paul Ryan. Instead, he believes Social Security is a collectivist system. It's a wealth transfer system. That's totally different than "a nation of takers." Totes!
Continue below the fold to find out which one of Paul Ryan's former bosses helped make his case in a secret video recorded during the 2012 presidential campaign ...
And keep in mind that Paul Ryan isn't the only Republican who has repeatedly gone on record with statements disproving President Obama's claim. Take, for example, Paul Ryan's former boss and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Here's what he said on secret video during the campaign:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.Clearly, there's simply no evidence for President Obama to accuse Republicans of saying things like Social Security and Medicare turn us into a nation of takers. And there's really nobody better to make that case than Paul Ryan. Because neither he nor anybody that he's closely associated with has ever said anything that could possibly have been construed as anything less than a full-throated defense of the social safety net, from Medicare and Social Security on down.