Ah, the new civility. I had been meaning to do a followup post on the president’s missed opportunity to offer a serious response to the serious budget reform proposal House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) had presented earlier this month. I would have quoted from the speech itself to show how the president treated Republican ideas as he would those of an opponent against whom he’s running in a hard-fought election and those of the leadership of one legislative chamber with whom he’s negotiating to set federal fiscal policy.
Yet, to show just how divisive this supposedly new kind of politician is, we don’t need go back to an important speech he delivered last week, just turn to a townhall he conducted yesterday in Palo Alto, California where he attacked Republican plans with campaign-style rhetoric rather than attempt to approach differences in a less divisive manner, as he had promised in his successful presidential campaign in 2008:
President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric before a friendly Facebook crowd at the headquarters of the popular social networking site.
Still, as Obama and Congress approach crucial decisions on spending and the national debt the president said he thinks a bipartisan accord is possible.“I think it’s fair to say that their vision is radical,” Obama told a town hall gathering that included questions posed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and sent in by site users.
“I don’t think it’s particularly courageous,” he said of the GOP plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program and make big cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.
“Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don’t have lobbyists, or don’t have clout,” Obama said.
Once again, he resorts to the old Democratic tactic of class warfare, attacking Republicans as indifferent (or perhaps even hostile) to the less fortunate. It seems he’s living in the world of the perpetual campaign where one must always be on the attack and where one’s noble sentiments matter more than his record. He hints that Republicans respond only to the pleas of lobbyists and those with clout, as if no one had documented his own administration’s cozy relationship with lobbyists.