We’ve seen that issue in the budget battles of the past week. In the face of unprecedented deficits, the Tea Party surge, the Republican victories of 2010, the insistence of some freshmen Republicans on actual cuts in federal spending, and praise for Rep. Paul Ryan’s seriousness in presenting an alternative budget, President Obama announced that he would make a major speech laying out his vision of how to control the incredible expanding federal budget. Drum roll, please. Media hype. Live national broadcast. Whereupon the president proceeded to give a ringing defense of … everything the federal government does. Everything from Head Start and student loans and energy subsidies to roads and broadband access to Medicare and Medicaid. And he said that Republicans want a “fundamentally different America” that wouldn’t offer such a cornucopia of benefits.
His foil in the debate was the House Republican budget, prepared by Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and passed on a party‐line vote on Friday, April 15, a day when Americans are focused on the size of the tax burden. Reading the analyses and criticisms of the Ryan budget in the mainstream media, you’d think it was that fundamental challenge to New Deal/Great Society/Obama big‐government liberalism that many conservatives have longed for. The New York Times declared: