‘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.

following up

  • Obama said the stimulus bill will create or save 4 million jobs. Perhaps he misspoke, but the distinction = 4 million jobs.
  • The bill may lack earmarks, as Obama repeatedly boasted, but that doesn’t mean it’s pork-free.

There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.

Still, Obama had a good night. He was well-informed and persuasive, a dramatic reversal from his predecessor. Forget whether Bush was “smart”; he didn’t communicate well and rarely inspired confidence.

Obama does, though some questions remain unanswered.

what if michael bloomberg had run?

The New York mayor seriously considered a third-party candidacy last winter. Too bad he didn’t pursue it.

Considering the current financial crisis, who do you think voters would turn to? The candidate with little experience, the one tethered to George Herbert Walker Hoover or the pragmatic innovator and self-made billionaire?

Beyond his business acumen, Michael Bloomberg could’ve made the most credible case for reform. The drama over the bailout plan demonstrated once again that neither party can be trusted to lead.

Resentment towards the two parties has been building for years, and it’s never been greater. I voted for Ross Perot in my first presidential election, fully aware that he was crazy. Hell, that was his campaign’s theme song and he still got 19 percent of the vote.

If only we had another option in this election.

My initial optimism about Obama has waned; he seems to be little more than a boilerpate Democrat, a John Kerry with superior oratory skills and a better team of strategists. As for McCain, two words: Sarah Palin.

And I had such high hopes:

How refreshing would it be to choose between two truly decent candidates, neither of whom is grounded in the politics of petty partisanship? I typically resist such unguarded optimism, but, for one night at least, the future looks bright. I’ll savor it while I can.

Score one for pessimism.

As Fareed Zakaria recently opined, “It’s a time to figure out what works, not what ideological mantras to keep repeating. It’s the age of Michael Bloomberg.”

Too bad his influence will be limited to New York. As for the rest of the country, rest assured that whoever wins, the failed politics of the past will prevail.

(Sam Nunn was mentioned as a potential running mate for Bloomberg. Imagine if he had shared the stage with Palin and Biden.

Enough said.)

new conservative strategy: contempt for the public

Even if Phil Gramm was right about the U.S. becoming a nation of whiners, how would he know? Think ‘ol Phil and his wife, lobbyists each, hang with the common folk?

Rich guy Republican Fred Barnes, who just last year compared Bush to Lincoln, agrees with Gramm. Glad to see conservatives, from a comfortably safe distance, making the effort to understand working class struggles.