On the heels of the most partisan inaugural address in American history, Republicans are apparently beginning to wake up to the fact that President Obama has no intention of acting in bipartisan fashion. Rather, he’s intent on destroying the Republican Party through demonization.
That’s the take of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the 2012 vice presidential nominee, who now realizes that sincerity is no match for bullying. Speaking to the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C., Ryan stated:
The president will bait us. He’ll portray us as cruel and unyielding. Just the other day, he said Republicans had 'suspicions' about Social Security. He said we had 'suspicions' about feeding hungry children. He said we had 'suspicions' about caring for the elderly. Look, it’s the same trick he plays every time: Fight a straw man. Avoid honest debate. Win the argument by default. We can’t get rattled. We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united. We have to show that—if given the chance—we can govern. We have better ideas.
Despite Ryan’s harsh language, his tactics in the aftermath of the 2012 election have mirrored those of House Speaker John Boehner, who has been under heavy fire for his public relations failures on the fiscal cliff negotiation. Ryan, however, continues to maintain that negotiation with the President on crucial matters remains a must:
We’ll face some tough moments – like the fiscal cliff. I know we all didn’t see eye to eye on that vote, but here’s how I saw it …. President Obama got less revenue than the Speaker offered in the first place. In short, there was no way we’d get a better deal …. That’s not to hide from the fact that this bill wasn’t perfect. We wanted to keep taxes low for everyone. We wanted to cut spending. But this bill had to pass. Otherwise, every single taxpayer would have paid higher taxes. And our economy would have gone into a nosedive. Once I came to that conclusion, my decision was simple: If you think a bill has to pass, then you vote for it
But, of course, it’s just such thinking that led to the fiscal cliff deal in the first place – a fact that even Boehner now acknowledges. If Republicans truly wish to avoid being cast as the villains in Obama’s morality play, they must stop buying into his narrative of repeated crises followed by big government solutions. Obama is the villain in this play; it is he who has run the economy into the ground, grown the debt at unheard-of rates, bankrupted the next generation, and then implied that opposition to his agenda is tantamount to moral depravity. Fighting him tooth and nail is the only solution.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).