From Paul Ryan:
Americans expect their presidents to lead, they expect their presidents to take on the country's biggest challenges, and arguably the biggest domestic challenge perhaps in the history of this country is this crushing burden of debt that is coming our way. The president punted on the budget and he punted on the deficit. That's not leadership
From Jeff Sessions:
We are faced with the difficulty of taking on something as complex as entitlements, as deeply emotional as entitlements, and the President of the United States is not even in the game, and doesn't even suggest it has to be done? I'm sure he didn't want to have a debt crisis as big as he's now finding, but leaders have to deal with the problems they've got, and we need his help
From Andrew Sulivan:
[Others] have to lead, because this president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In this budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short term political interests. Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.
To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you're fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama's cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America's fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.
From Yuval Levin:
Until the last few weeks, there might have been room to wonder whether President Obama might respond to the 2010 elections by moving to the center and seeking some politically advantageous but meaningful middle ground. ... This budget puts an end to that possibility. The president appears to have decided to spend the next two years pretending there is no problem to solve, and therefore that Republican proposals to rein in spending are just mean-spirited cuts offered up for kicks.This is, above all, an appalling failure of leadership. When we look back on this period a decade or two from now, I think we'll identify this moment ... as the last real opportunity we had for a gradual bipartisan course correction. That option now seems closed off, and it is up to Republicans to decide if the alternative is to march off the fiscal cliff in order to avoid political risks or to propose a gradual course correction to voters and make the case for why it is sensible, responsible, and essential.
The only mystery is why anyone would be surprised by Obama's failure to lead. Can you name a single occasion in his life when Obama has ever shown leadership? I can't.
Obama's game is transparent, isn't it? He is playing a game of chicken. He puts forward a series of proposals that he knows are more or less insane; but he also believes that Republicans will come to his rescue. They, not being wholly irresponsible, will come up with plans to reform entitlements--like, for example, the Ryan Roadmap. Ultimately, some combination of those plans will be implemented because the alternative is the collapse, not just of the government of the United States, but of the country itself. But Obama thinks the GOP's reforms will be unpopular, and he will be able to demagogue them, thus having his cake and eating it too. Is that leadership? Of course not. But it is the very essence of Barack Obama.
From Eric Cantor:
Unlike the President, unlike Harry Reid who doesn't even admit there needs to be any reform of Social Security. We are going to lead.