LeMieux seizes on Mack diss of Ryan budget

Although the plan Ryan announced recently (that the GOP-led House approved) doesn't attack Medicare as severely in 2012 as in 2011, it does go after Medicaid and many other social programs for low-income people.

But it doesn't balance the budget for decades, prompting Mack reportedly to say at a Tea Party event last weekend that it was a "joke." Mack told Newsmax TV that it is a good start, but "The part that I don?t like about it is it takes 20 to 24 years to balance [the budget] . . . I don?t think we have that much time to wait. And the idea that we?re going to end up with a $22 trillion debt ? we can?t afford that.?

Predictably, Mack's main opponent in the GOP race for U.S. Senate, George LeMieux, pounced, saying Connie Mack is a joke:

?Paul Ryan?s Budget is not a joke, Connie Mack the Fourth is a joke. Mack the Fourth claims to be serious about our financial crisis but as soon as something more fun comes long, he skips the vote on the budget. Mack is absolutely mistaken if he thinks the people of Florida will promote him to the Senate when he doesn?t even show up for work.?

Is it unfair to attack Mack when his intent is to say that even Paul Ryan's plan doesn't work quickly enough to reduce the deficit? You decide. But just like when Newt Gingrich last year called Ryan's 2011 budget "right-wing social engineering," it's gonna lead to some payback, fair or not. And with LeMieux needing to do whatever he can to make up the large deficit he's still facing in the polls against the Fort Myers Congressman, it makes sense for him to act outraged, whether or not he really is.

  • George LeMieux

Whether or not Paul Ryan is named as Mitt Romney's running mate later this summer, the Wisconsin Congressman's name may become as ubiquitous as Romney's if Democratic party strategists get their way.

In 1996, Bill Clinton ran against "Dole-Gingrich," you might recall. Though the former House Speaker was absolutely not on the ballot (Jack Kemp was), the unpopular Gingrich was such a prominent voice and face of the Republican Party — and an unpopular one at that — that Clinton used those negative feelings toward him in ultimately winning by 8 percentage points over Robert Dole.

For Barack Obama, it's the Ryan budget that he wants to wrap closely to Romney, as you're aware if you caught any of his attack at the Associated Press event in Washington earlier this week.

"It is thinly veiled social Darwinism," Obama said to the annual meeting of The Associated Press. "It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it ... It is a prescription for decline."

Such criticism will probably only make Republicans grow closer to Ryan — which means Connie Mack might be vulnerable for his remark about Ryan's budget last weekend.

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