Tales from the Trail

As Obama speaks, Democrats target GOP’s Ryan

RTXCDYH_Comp-150x150President Barack Obama may grab all the headlines with his State of the Union address. But Democrats want the GOP’s chosen responder, Paul Ryan, to share the spotlight — as poster boy for politically unpopular ideas that could be used against Republicans in 2012.

Here’s New York Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer’s take on Ryan on that electorally tender topic, Social Security. “What Paul Ryan suggests — privatization — is really a dismantling of Social Security,” he tells MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

More than that, Schumer says Ryan epitomizes policies that are straight out of the 1920s, those heady days of flappers, speakeasys and laissez-faire good times that preceded the Great Depression.

“The election said reduce government spending and refocus the government on the middle class. It didn’t say go back to the 1920s and just get government out of everything including Social Security,” says Schumer, one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists.

Why pick on Ryan?

The 40-year-old chairman of the House Budget Committee is a rising Republican star on fiscal issues that will top the U.S. domestic agenda for as far as the eye can see. That means he could be quite a force in U.S. politics in years to come, including presidential politics. 

Tea Party Express names its election-year ‘heroes,’ ‘targets’

U.S. Representative Joe Wilson — the South Carolina Republican who last year screamed at President Barack Obama, “You lie!” — is on its list of “heroes.”

So is Republican Senator Jim DeMint, also of South Carolina, who’s leading a charge to repeal Obama’s landmark overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

USA-TAX/The Tea Party Express, one of the most prominent groups in the conservative Tea Party movement, on Thursday wrapped up a 20-day nationwide tour with an event in Washington, D.C., where it formally announced its 14 “heroes” as well as 13 “targets.”