Yesterday President Obama denounced Paul Ryan’s plan to reduce the deficit as one that would end America as a “generous and compassionate” nation, and suggested, as the Wall Street Journal notes, that it would pit “children with autism or Down’s syndrome” against “every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” (The president’s busy schedule continues today with three DNC fundraisers in Chicago; the good news is that he can reuse yesterday’s speech at today’s partisan events.)
Some are expressing surprise that Obama demonized the Ryan plan so ferociously after inviting Paul Ryan to attend and with the congressman sitting in front of him. This morning, Joe Scarborough said it was “just not what you want to do when dealing with a crisis of this magnitude,” and Mark Halperin called the decision “weird.”
But this is nothing new for Obama. Recall his demagogic attack on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case with six justices in front of him, prompting Justice Alito to shake his head in frustration and mouth, “not true.” There was intense argument over whether Obama breached decorum by attacking the justices in front of him, or whether Alito broke decorum by visibly showing his irritation.