As Jeffrey Anderson notes below, Paul Ryan is getting attention--a lot of it in the form of Democratic attacks--as he prepares to deliver the GOP response to Obama's state of the union address tonight. This is to be expected. What's unusual is the way some news stories are trying to portray these attacks as new.
"Budget ax-man Ryan is Dems' new villain," blares the front-page headline of today's copy of The Hill newspaper. Indeed, reports the New York Times, Ryan has "emerged" as "the latest chew toy among Democrats. They spent Monday beginning a campaign to portray him as the architect of fiscal policies that they view as unwise and hope will prove unpopular among voters, including plans to partially privatize Social Security and Medicare."
Um, Democratic demagogic attacks on Ryan were "beginning" a year ago--and really haven't let up since. As Matthew Continetti wrote on February 5, 2010:
The assault on Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's Roadmap for America's Future is not only coordinated. It's misleading and irresponsible. Politico observes that "in just a week, Ryan had gone from being seen as the smart conservative whom Obama might take seriously to being seen as the symbol of how Democrats believe Republicans would dismantle the social safety net if the GOP took control of Congress." Obama, budget chief Peter Orszag and congressional Democrats have all said that Ryan's plan would dismantle the welfare state and leave seniors and the poor on their own. Obama launched the criticism at the House GOP retreat in Baltimore last week. On February 4, congressional Democrats held a conference call in which leadership told members how to criticize Ryan's plan. Liberal mediaoutlets are following the Democrats' preferred story-line.
Since then, lefty pundits like Paul Krugman and Katrina Vanden Heuval have joined the fight against Ryan--and lost. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee went after GOP candidates who embraced any part of Ryan's Roadmap. But those Republicans won on Election Day. The real question, then, is: why will the new round of Democratic attacks on Ryan will work now when they've failed in the past?
And where's Chuck Schumer's or Barack Obama's plan to balance the budget and eliminate the debt? They've had a year to attack Ryan's plan. Isn't it about time they showed us theirs?