‘I’m Mitt Romney and I paid for this distortion’

A top operative for The Anchorman does his best Lionel Hutz, defending Romney’s recent ad that blatantly distorts the president’s words (Obama was mocking John McCain when he said, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose”):

“First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

Obama could’ve prevented this

The biggest mistake of his presidency so far was failing to adopt the recommendations of his own fiscal commission. Had he done so the Republicans would’ve probably lined up in opposition and would’ve likely been held responsible for it by voters. But Obama punted on the Bowles-Simpson plan and the nation’s economic uncertainty drags on.

The National Review on 9-9-9

His 9-9-9 plan builds on the insight that one of the chief defects of the current tax code is its bias toward consumption over savings. But his plan’s peculiarities of design, substantive weaknesses, and political naïveté render it unworthy of conservative support.

If rich people can get mad about their taxes being raised so can I. Cain is a motivational speaker masquerading as a serious political candidate. Glib sloganeering does not a president make.

Is the Obama Administration really this feckless?

Just watched David Axelrod muddle through a series of tired platitudes and token solutions to the economic crisis. On one side we have unrealistic, often loony proposals and on the other, well, nothing. Nothing of consequence, anyway.

At the end of the day, the president needs to pivot. No more kicking the can down the road. Instead, Obama should have an adult conversation with the American people. We want a balanced approach. We need a game-changer.

Leave no political cliche behind.

The third Bush term, and a possible alternative

Quagmire in Afghanistan. Check. Irresponsible fiscal policy. Check.

Now Obama is threatening to veto any budget that includes additional cuts in defense spending. Some Islamic Marxist he turned out be.

Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan sums it up well:

If this is the president’s attitude toward the debt crisis, made so much worse by the recession, it means this country’s pressing problems have been deferred until he gets re-elected. Change? This is not just more of the same; it’s far worse – and with every year, more dangerous.

But will there be a credible alternative in 2012? Probably not. Mitt Romney? Please. You don’t replace a pacifier with a panderer. As for the other contenders, Tim Pawlenty comes off as Romney-lite. Mike Huckabee, while seemingly a nice guy, still thinks the Earth is flat and he’s 50 times smarter than Sarah Palin.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels appears to be the only Republican option worth taking seriously. His speech at CPAC was refreshingly “adult”:

Lost to history is the fact that, in my OMB assignment, I was the first loud critic of Congressional earmarks. I was also the first to get absolutely nowhere in reducing them: first to rail and first to fail. They are a pernicious practice and should be stopped. But, in the cause of national solvency, they are a trifle. Talking much more about them, or “waste, fraud, and abuse,” trivializes what needs to be done, and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available to us. In this room, we all know how hard the answers are, how much change is required.

And that means nothing, not even the first and most important mission of government, our national defense, can get a free pass.

His previous comments on the economy demonstrate an uncommon pragmatism.

Let’s raise the retirement age, he says. Let’s reduce Social Security for the rich. And let’s reconsider our military commitments, too. When I ask about taxes—in 2005 Daniels proposed a hike on the $100,000-plus crowd, which his own party promptly torpedoed—he refuses to revert to Republican talking points. “At some stage there could well be a tax increase,” he says with a sigh. “They say we can’t have grown-up conversations anymore. I think we can.”

I hope he’s right, but securing the nomination of the party of Limbaugh will require remarkable finesse. Daniels lacks the shallow charisma voters typically require and he’s already alienated religious conservatives by calling for a “truce on so-called social issues.”

The odds are against him. I suspect he’ll end up being remembered not as the GOP nominee but as the Republican version of Paul Tsongas.