Apparently the president started another war on Monday and it has Republicans playing the role of hippy peacenik -- not to offend hippy peaceniks.
This isn't a war of bullets, missiles, known knowns or known unknowns. It is a war of words. Well, two words to be exact.
When President Obama took to the White House Rose Garden to articulate his vision for reducing the Republican budget deficit, he advocated a combination of steep spending cuts, tax increases on the extremely wealthy, and tax cuts for working families and small business all while protecting Social Security benefits.
"We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount -- by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal?" asked the president.
He then went on to characterize the moral question at had -- we can continue vital government services for those most in need or we can let billionaires and the most profitable corporations in America keep their tax loopholes. "We can't afford to do both," he said.
Of particular note, Obama proposed the "Buffett Rule." Named for billionaire financier Warren Buffett who has often said that he pays less in taxes by percentage of income than his secretary, the rule would force millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate comparable to the percentage of income paid by middle class Americans.
The aggressive posture and tone of Obama's address had Republicans in Congress and their overlords at Fox News crying fowl and complaining that the president's remarks had descended into class warfare.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said of the president's proposal, "He's in a political class warfare mode... And that's not good for our economy." It was quite rich to see Ryan lecturing the president on the economy. Recall, it was only a few short months ago that the Wisconsin Republican was championing his own budget proposal -- a plan that would have killed Medicare.
Fox News made sure the GOP's rank-and-file had their talking points bright and early before Obama had even given his address. On Fox & Friends -- the network's right-wing morning show -- co-host Steve Doocy started things off by likening any tax increase to "class warfare." Later, during the same broadcast, Doocy would highlight video clips of Republican leaders calling the presidents approach "class warfare" before asking guests if the president was, in fact, engaging in "class warfare."
The phrase was used so often by Fox News anchors, hosts, and guests that you would have thought you were watching Pee Wee's Playhouse and the day's secret word was "class warfare"
It was enough to make you scream real loud.
If these right-wing extremists were confronted with Mark 10:25 from the Bible -- "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." -- I am guessing one of two things would happen: they would either accuse tailors and seamstresses of engaging in class warfare, or they would frantically call friends on Wall Street to check on the construction of the world's first 40-story needle.
It is not as if President Obama did not know the tired "class warfare" shtick was coming. Heck, he addressed it in his speech saying, "we're already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of [tax] loopholes saying this is just class warfare... this is not class warfare. It's math."
The president's humor isn't likely to sway many from the tea party crowd though. To them, math has an intrinsic liberal bias just like the media, science, letters, numbers, the truth, etc.
I'm actually surprised Republicans have yet to retrieve that old "Mission Accomplished" banner from their storage unit at Dick Cheney's undisclosed location. After all, they have done just about everything they can to decimate working class families in America over the past decade. As a result of the economic policies advanced by Republicans and George W. Bush, poverty increased (especially for children), median household income dropped, and the number of those living day-to-day without health insurance spiked. All of that and the soaring unemployment Bush left for President Obama to stem.
Republicans only call it "class warfare" when we fight back. They would much rather we close our eyes (and mouths) and allow them to destroy the middle class so that they can continue to line the pockets of the corporate fat cats and billionaires that keep them in power.
Forget class warfare, the Republican Party is engaging in class genocide.
Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist at Bullfight Strategies in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at KarlFrisch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and YouTube, or sign up to receive his columns and updates by email.
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