Presenting the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union address, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) attacked President Barack Obama, saying his administration’s extreme and divisive policies have held back economic recovery. He said the country must instead be righted by a pro-growth agenda, a simpler tax system, and a balancing of deficits.
“No feature of the Obama Presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” Daniels said.
Following a decision by the administration to delay construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Indiana governor said Obama’s policies would put America in poverty.“The extremism that stifles the development of homegrown energy, or cancels a perfectly safe pipeline that would employ tens of thousands, or jacks up consumer utility bills for no improvement in either human health or world temperature,” says Daniels, “is a pro-poverty policy.”
Reflecting what a partisan year it has been, from numerous government shutdown fights, to an equally nasty debt limit fiasco, Daniels sought to denounce blaming the Republican party for the country’s problems. Instead, he pointed to Democrats and President Obama as the hostage takers, especially in Congress.
“They alone have passed bills to reduce borrowing, reform entitlements, and encourage new job creation, only to be shot down nearly time and again by the President and his Democrat Senate allies,” Daniels said.
Daniels also presented his party as the one committed to saving the nation’s social safety net, Medicare and Social Security. In order to do that, the plan would be to cease supporting wealthy seniors when others are more in need.
“The mortal enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who, in contempt of the plain arithmetic, continue to mislead Americans that we should change nothing,” Daniels said. “We can preserve them unchanged and untouched for those now in or near retirement, but we must fashion a new, affordable safety net so future Americans are protected, too.”
The dueling contrast between Daniels’ rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address is a sign of things to come as the 2012 fight ramps up. Payroll taxes, unemployment assistance, the budget, and other initiatives are all coming down the pike in Congress.