By Tom Coburn, OPINIONAugust 22, 2012
First Obama rejected the ‘grand bargain’ of his own Bowles-Simpson commission. Then he turned around and ridiculed the Wisconsin congressman’s comprehensive alternative.
By TOM COBURN
The more voters learn about Congressman Paul Ryan’s leadership style and his thoughtful and creative approach to solving problems, the more they will decide that the Romney-Ryan ticket looks presidential and electable. That’s why there has been a coordinated effort in recent days to ramp up not just the “Mediscare” rhetoric against Mr. Ryan, but to depict him as a partisan ideologue who was instrumental in derailing a grand bargain on the deficit. This line of attack is cynical and, most of all, false.
First, Paul Ryan didn’t force President Obama to abandon the budget recommendations of his own 2010 deficit commission, known as Bowles-Simpson. Mr. Obama’s decision to punt on deficit reduction—and then to ridicule Mr. Ryan’s plan to address the deficit—offended and disappointed Republicans and Democrats alike.
For example, Erskine Bowles, President Clinton’s former chief of staff and the co-chairman of the Bowles-Simpson commission, described the Ryan budget that passed the House in March as “sensible, straightforward, honest, [and] serious.” About President’s Obama’s budget, which failed in the Senate in May by a vote of 97 to zero, Mr. Bowles said, “I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously.”