Charles Krauthammer was less than pleased with Barack Obama's speech Wednesday concerning his plan to bring down the nation's staggering budget deficit.
As the panel segment of Fox's "Special Report" began, Krauthammer said, "I thought it was a disgrace. I thought I’ve rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan, and so intellectually dishonest, outside the last couple of weeks of a presidential election where you are allowed to call your opponent anything short of a traitor" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I thought it was a disgrace. I thought I’ve rarely heard a speech by a president so shallow, so hyper-partisan, and so intellectually dishonest, outside the last couple of weeks of a presidential election where you are allowed to call your opponent anything short of a traitor. But we're a year-and-a-half away from Election Day, and it was supposed to be a speech about policy. He didn't even get to his own alternative until more than half-way through the speech, and when he did, he threw out these numbers suspended in midair with nothing under them with all kinds of goals and guidelines and triggers which mean absolutely nothing. The speech was really and was almost entirely an attack on the Ryan plan. And it was deeply dishonest.
BRET BAIER, HOST: Paul Ryan’s plan. The budget.
KRAUTHAMMER: Let me give you one example how dishonest it was. He went on and on about how the Republicans want to steal from your grandma to lower taxes on the rich. And he talked about the Bush tax cuts and how much he’s going to stand on the bridge and oppose any extension which is what he knows how to do. He has done it over and over for the last six years. The Ryan plan is not about the Bush tax cuts. It transcends them. It's about what the deficit, what Obama’s own commission had recommended: that you strip out loopholes and you lower the rates for everyone. It’s not about whether it should be the Bush rates or the Clinton rates. The whole new approach which the Simpson-Bowles commission had recommended itself. In fact, Bowles had recommended in one of its scenarios a high rate of 23 percent. Ryan’s is at 25 percent. Obama did this knowing that this is a way to play to his base. It was a speech that was quite remarkable in how demagogic it was, and I say that with all due respect.
Having now watched the President's speech several times, I quite agree with Krauthammer.
Obama promised during his campaign to change the political tone and rhetoric in Washington as he pledged to work with folks on the opposite side of the aisle.
Last week, Congressman Ryan (R-Wisc.) presented a comprehensive plan to bring down this nation's budget deficit while reforming Medicare and Medicaid in a fashion that would make them viable for decades to come.
Rather than embrace Ryan's plan as a good effort that he was going to counter with his own vision for the future, Mr. Hope and Change attacked the Wisconsin Congressman while practically accusing the man of being the devil incarnate looking to harm old people for the benefit of the rich.
When is this nonsense going to stop?
We are a nation in a deep financial crisis that could bury us in the coming years if we don't do something about it, and the President along with virtually his entire Party want to attack the other side rather than sit down like adults and solve a problem most of us admit exists.
Obama and the Democrats have chosen to ignore this issue for 27 months focusing instead on healthcare reform and stimulus packages which have worsened the situation rather than improved it.
Now, as a result of Ryan's courage, our nation is finally being forced to seriously examine the condition it's in and hopefully come to some groundbreaking agreements that will lead us back on a more sustainable.
As much as 72 percent of this country believes we are currently on the wrong track, and the time has come for both Parties to put politics aside and finally do what we are paying them for.
Although Ryan correctly predicted he would be demagogued for tossing the first card onto the table, he couldn't possibly have foreseen the juvenile attack he was going to get from the most powerful man in the world. After the speech, Ryan expressed his regrets both on television and in a written statement:
“When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.
“Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.
“We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past. By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we'll be here.”
Readers are encouraged to review all of Ryan's detailed observations about the errors in the President's speech.