Paul Ryan has presented a vision of a fiscally sound America with the federal government consuming the historic 20% of Gross Domestic Product. Barack Obama has presented a vision of an America where federal spending continues at his accelerated 25% of GDP and accumulated debt exceeds that of the weakest countries in Europe. This is the beginning of a long negotiation - the Democrats will add increased taxes and mount a vigorous defense of Obamacare; the president will be challenged to add Social Security reform to the mix.
Ryan has been preparing for this moment for a long time: he was the minority leader on the budget committee when Nancy Pelosi ran the House; he presented a "Roadmap for America"; he served on Obama's Budget Deficit Commission; he developed the controversial Medicare/Medicaid portion of his budget proposal in conjunction with prominent Democrats including Alice Rivlin who was President Clinton's budget director. He knows his numbers, believes in his policies, and presents them with passion and charm knowing that he will be vilified and distorted by Democrats and the media.
Contrast that with Obama's demonstrated leadership failures just this week.
1. He sent out Eric Holder to announce retreat on his "firm, principled commitment" to close Guantanamo and prevent trial of terrorists by military commissions. This had been the subject of much campaign rhetoric, but not much administrative or political effort by Obama at several opportunities over two years.
2. Al Jazeera has attributed Obama's "ambiguous and half hearted" efforts in Libya to his aversion to anything resembling George Bush's push for democracy in the Middle East or Bill Clinton's ignoring the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda. Meanwhile Obama called for the removal of President Saleh in Yemen with no idea what that would do to the home of Al Queda in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia has made known its discomfort with Obama's tepid support. Most Americans do not know what our policy is or who we are protecting in Libya.
3. Rep Louis Guiterrez (D - Ill) began a 20 city tour to protest Obama's abandonment of his immigration promises from the 2008 campaign. Unable to appease the Hispanics who want comprehensive reform and organized labor which wants protection from a wave of low cost competition, he has given speeches but done nothing.
4. Obama sycophant Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has criticized his messiah for "whiffing" on his 2012 budget and the State of the Union, allowing Ryan to set the budget conversation on his own.
5. After posturing about the need for everybody to do whatever it takes to get a 2011 budget agreement, Obama went off to political meetings in Philadelphia and New York - the Democratic calculation apparently being that the Republicans will suffer more from a government shut down.
With Obama moving on to his reelection campaign and Ryan able to focus on the country's economic future, it is ironic that Ryan's success may actually be Obama's salvation.
For the full post see www.RightinSanFrancisco.com.