Yesterday President Barack Obama officially launched his reelection campaign by posting a YouTube on his campaign website titled “It Begins With Us.” The “us” in the video may have been referring to the noticeably representative five Obama for America volunteers talking about why they wanted to reelect Obama, but the most visible response the video began was reaction from potential GOP candidates.
Just hours later, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was first to answer the president with a highly stylized YouTube of his own titled “A New Direction” in which Pawlenty pointedly asks: “How can America win the future when we are losing the present?” Coming in second Mitt Romney tweeted: “@BarackObama I look forward to hearing details on your jobs plan, as do 14m unemployed Americans.” Not to be left out, former Speaker Newt Gingrich told press covering his tax plan in New Hampshire that Obama was “a one-term president” who is “trying to create a Chicago style machine for the whole country with a billion dollars.”
The Pawlenty, Romney, and Gingrich teams should all be congratulated for their fast turn around and quick wit. But the true test of their leadership, and every other GOP 2012 hopeful, begins today at 10:30 AM. That is when House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil his response to President Obama’s 2012 budget.
Ryan’s document, which he is calling The Path to Prosperity, is a game changing document. Over the next ten years it would cut spending by $6.2 trillion and reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion. It rolls back domestic discretionary spending to 2008 levels and freezes it for five years. It eliminates loopholes and cuts the corporate tax rate to 25%. And, perhaps most importantly, it repeals and defunds Obamacare.
The Path to Prosperity health reform comes in two chunks: First, it converts the federal Medicaid spending into block grants that would allow states true freedom to craft their own Medicaid programs … without begging Kathleen Sebelius for a waiver first. Second, for Americans younger than 55, it would convert Medicare into a “premium support” system that would pay the first $15,000 for beneficiary selected health plans.
According to The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, Ryan’s plan would help create one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade.
But the plan is not without its political vulnerabilities. The left is already claiming that the plan will “end Medicare as we know it” and “raise taxes on the middle class to pay for taxes on the rich.” But these reactions are to be expected. The real question is how the nascent GOP 2012 field will react.
Will Romney tweet support? Does Pawlenty’s team have pro-Prosperity Hollywood-caliber YouTube video in the can? What will Gingrich say about the Ryan tax plan?
Paul Ryan has done the country a great service by providing a strong contrast between President Obama’s big spending, big debt, big government budget and the Path to Prosperity’s slower spending, less debt, limited government alternative. 2012 hopefuls need to start telling us where they stand.