A number of pundits on the left and in the center have showered praise on Paul Ryan’s proposed budget, with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg saying the Wisconsin Republican “has made a serious attempt to grapple with the long-term fiscal issue the country faces. He has a largely coherent, workable set of answers. If you don’t like them, now you need to come up with something better.”
Others have resorted to diatribe, with the Washington Post‘s Harold Meyerson calling the plan “a prescription for diminishing prosperity and security, a road map, in fact, for national decline“:
Ryan’s budget would also reduce projected spending on discretionary domestic programs — education, transportation, food safety and the like — to well below levels of inflation. That not only ensures that high-speed rail won’t be built but also means that potholes won’t be filled.
Does Mr. Meyerson realize that government has been growing well above the rate of inflation at least since Democrats took charge of Congress in January 2007, allowing budget deficits to soar? And does he really believe his hyperbole about potholes? If so, he should direct his ire at state and local governments, traditionally responsible for street repair. And what is his plan for deficit reduction?
It seems national Democrats are following not the sober evaluation of Weisberg, but instead the hyperbolic outburst of Meyerson. They think they can score political points by labeling Republicans as mean-spirited tightwads who want to give tax breaks to the rich and take food from the mouths of babes. “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” for example, “said the Republican budget” would “force seniors into starvation.”
Meanwhile, her Democrats still haven’t come up with a plan. And yet, as Greg Sargent reports in the Post‘s Plum Line, they’re hoping “hoping to use the Ryan proposal against numerous” candidates. Via David Freddoso who asks if Democrats can turn Paul Ryan into the next bogey-man?
Seems the Democrats’ plan is to attack rather than come up with a plan of their own. Jennifer Rubin contends that Democrats aren’t even making a secret of their political game; they, she writes, “can’t help themselves, reinforcing at every opportunity that THEY are playing politics. Politico reports:
The reality is that Democrats with close ties to the White House believe Ryan has handed Obama a powerful political weapon for 2012 — an issue that starkly defines the GOP as a party bent on attacking the vulnerable with the potential to cause the same kind of damage as George W. Bush’s ill-fated plan to privatize Social Security.
Senior Democratic strategists told POLITICO that the Ryan plan is almost certain to be a centerpiece of their advertising and fundraising efforts.
“It’s bad enough,” she quips, “to do that; it’s just amateur hour to say it to the media.” The Democratic plan is beginning to come into focus, attack Republicans. They’d rather attack the opposing party than come up with a budget solution of their own.
Recall, that a government shutdown looms because when they last controlled Congress (i.e., last year), Democrats (“for the first time ever“) failed to pass a budget.
*And Republican proposals to control spending.