Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president’s birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Obama’s birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president’s birth printed on Aug. 13, 1961, from the Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
At any rate, why is Mr. Trump a front-runner for president of the United States, running on this one issue, that being a birth certificate? No one has ever won the nomination for the presidency on such a paltry matter. The answer is, of course, obvious. It is fame. Mr. Trump’s fame has given him name recognition. If any other candidate had name recognition, he would be a front-runner, too. That is why I scratch my head when I think of what Mr. Obama is doing for Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican. Mr. Obama is giving him name recognition, and that could be dangerous for Mr. Obama.
Last week, when Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, to attend his “fiscal policy” speech, he put Mr. Ryan in the front row. There he astonished Mr. Ryan by exposing him to one of the most partisanly abusive speeches I have ever heard from a president. He accused Mr. Ryan’s plan of being “un-American,” among other enormities. Mr. Ryan was expecting some sort of “olive branch” to be extended to him. It would be, he thought, the start of serious negotiations between the two men. Instead he was put on display as the archenemy of all New Deal, New Frontier and Great Society programs - as “un-American.” Mr. Ryan was surprised, as he told talk-radio host Mark Levin.
Well, he might be surprised, but he should also be grateful. The differences between his budget and Mr. Obama’s are dramatic. Mr. Ryan’s budget proposes $6.2 trillion less in spending over the next decade. He would return America to its modern-day spending average of about 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). He would add $4.7 trillion less to the national debt. Even before Obamacare is fully factored in, Mr. Obama keeps spending at 24 percent of GDP, a peacetime record. Despite raising taxes, he leaves us with $600 billion annual deficits.
In brief, Mr. Obama keeps us on the catastrophic course he has put us on with taxes raised on the rich and a tax increase coming for the middle class. You could actually expropriate the rich, and the revenue stolen would not cover Mr. Obama’s budget to socialism. Does Mr. Obama know this? He gives no evidence of it. Mr. Ryan, on the other hand, has suggested something new. He would face up to the deficits and the entitlement catastrophe that we are heading for. Rather than being “un-American,” Mr. Ryan keeps America on course as the land of the free. Mr. Obama heads us off toward Greece.
Now, Mr. Obama is making Mr. Ryan famous. In the months ahead, he is going to make Mr. Ryan the face of change. If other Republican candidates do not come forward, Mr. Ryan will be the candidate by default, and that is fine with me. He knows the budget very well. He has an alternative on the table for all to see as against Mr. Obamas tax-and-spend policies, which put the federal government in control of more of the citizenry’s life than ever.
Mr. Ryan is vigorous, attractive, he speaks well and he has a pleasant demeanor. Does that put you in mind of any prior Republican president? Mr. Ryan may be the Republican candidate, thanks to Mr. Obama. If so, he will be president, and Mr. Obama can begin work on his presidential library. I am betting it will be in Blue Island, Ill., but possibly it will be in Honolulu, where he can continue the search for his birth certificate.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His latest book is “After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery” (Thomas Nelson, 2010).