President Obama is stoking class warfare with his rhetoric, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a fiery speech on Wednesday.
“The president is barnstorming swing states, pushing a divisive message that pits one group of Americans against another on the basis of class,” Ryan said, adding that Obama is appealing to class-based “fear, envy, and resentment” rather than the “hope and optimism” of his 2008 presidential bid.
Ryan’s 45-minute speech, delivered at the conservative Heritage Foundation, focused on what he views as the president’s failures as a leader. He spent much less time touting the GOP’s successes, although he strove to paint it as the party of unity.
Ryan slammed the president’s “petty” language in describing the parties’ disagreements over health care and regulations. He chastised Obama for failing to put forward a credible long-term deficit reduction plan and for his party’s failure to pass a budget in the Senate. And he said Obama had passed up opportunities to collaborate with congressional Republicans.
Ryan also criticized Obama’s rollout this week of a series of economic reforms that could be enacted without congressional authorization, including expanding a mortgage refinancing program and consolidating student loan payments. Regardless of the intention behind these reforms, he said, Obama is allowing the executive branch to take over legislative branch responsibilities. The president has said Americans can no longer wait for Congress to act to bring the economy out of crisis.
Ryan called the president’s criticism of the “do-nothing” Congress unfair because it left out “over a dozen” bills the House has passed to boost the economy and reduce the debt. As expected, Ryan praised aspects of the House-passed budget throughout the speech. He did not discuss the economic plans presented by the GOP presidential hopefuls beyond praising the “marketing genius” of former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan.