So, what happened to the 'new tone' we are suppose to be showing to each other - you know, the one exalted by President Obama in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Tucson? It was all peace and love and hug it out, y'all. In just a few short months, that is out the window. What could have changed? President Obama is now officially running for re-election and has to raise lots of money, that's what's happened.
After the debt reducing speech delivered Wednesday in Virginia where he invited the GOP leadership only to publicly mock and arrogantly proclaim them as unAmerican for the plan released by Rep Paul Ryan, he went to Chicago and attended three fundraisers. Each brought a new level of nasty politician discourse.
Rush Limbaugh described the personal attacks on the Road to Prosperity plan from Rep Ryan as a "personal bitch slap" from Obama to Ryan.
Obama is most candid when he thinks he is speaking to small groups of like-minded liberals. He was heard on an open mic, supposedly without his knowledge, stating that Paul Ryan and John Boehner were not sincere in deficit reduction measures. He said the GOP was guilty of "sneaking" their agenda into the budget agreement.
In the candid remarks, Mr. Obama complains of Republican attempts to attach measures to the budget bill which would have effectively killed parts of his hard-won health care reform program.
"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'" recalled the president of his closed-door negotiations on the bill to fund the federal government until September.
Speaking into a microphone which he may not have realized was still relaying his remarks to the White House press room -- where Knoller had been listening to earlier remarks that were open to the press -- Mr. Obama bemoaned GOP leaders' attempts to attach a measure to the budget bill which would have cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
"Put it in a separate bill," the president said he told Boehner and his staff. "We'll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don't try to sneak this through."
In the end, the deal that was struck did see the Planned Parenthood measure, and a separate effort to defund parts of the health care program, voted on as stand-alone bills Thursday prior to the budget vote. Both measures failed.
The specific attack on Ryan: He specifically called into question the sincerity of Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who crafted the House GOP's controversial 2012 budget which includes significant and controversial cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he's just being America's accountant ... This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill -- but wasn't paid for," Mr. Obama told his supporters. "So it's not on the level."
Ah, a tough guy in private conversations. Charming. It's much like the time he was at a private fundraiser in San Francisco during the 2008 campaign and he told the tony, sophicated crowd that it was those bitter folks who attend church and cling to their guns that weren't supporting his campaign.
The closer one looks at the speech delivered in Virginia, the more partisan and skewed it looks. Even liberals are speaking out about it.
One journalist, a reliable Obama supporter, was bold enough to say what most decent people thought: that proclaiming an opponent's tax plan as "unAmerican" crosses the line:
Remember when the anti-war left verbalized offense at critics who proclaimed them as acting "unAmerican" during war protests? President Bush, however, never did that. He said they had a right to voice their opinion.
Another liberal columnist said this of the President's debt speech: The speech was more notable for its militant--though ineffectual--hostility to Republican proposals than for any fresh thinking of its own. It was a waste of breath.
Indeed it was.