Left-leaning Washington has oodles of advice for how the Obama campaign can get back on track. The Big Bird riff, as I wrote yesterday, is being rightly recognized as an embarrassment so they are scrambling for something better.
Dana Milbank’s sage advice is to turn from Big Bird to the “Snuffleupagus” in the room—the giant, elephant issues of how we will really tackle the drivers government debt, since Sesame Street subsidies are a relative pittance. Milbank writes about the challenge that Romney faces in preserving Medicare and Social Security, augmenting defense spending as promised, and not raising tax rates, which would mean that cuts to other government programs would have to be significant to move toward balance.
This is a fair point: The public should be demanding more specifics from candidates about how we will move from our current trend of trillion-dollar annual deficits toward a balanced budget. Yet is this really a point that Obama can make?
After all, this is the President who has offered budget after budget with trillion dollar deficits in near perpetuity. This is the President who walked away from his own commission charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the debt. This is the President who has been unable to convince the Democratic-led Senate to support his budget. In fact, the Democrats in the Senate have not even produced a budget—even though that is an explicit part of Congress’s job—in years.
Does Milbank really think that the President can effectively injure Romney as not being specific enough on deficit reduction? Really?
Similarly liberals encouraging the President to tar Mr. Romney as a “liar” seem on rather thin ice. As far as I can tell, the substance of the liar charge is on the budget impact of Romney’s proposed tax reform plan. Those on different sides of the tax issue are often frustrated with the numbers used by the other side or what they choose to count and not count when it comes to the plan’s impact.
Yet don’t the President’s supporters understand that the public is learning right now that the Administration may have willfully mislead the American people, not by using a rosy-scenario budget forecast, but about an attack on an American embassy which led to the death of our Ambassador and three other Americans? The media is reluctant to follow up on this story, since so much of the mainstream media was complicit in pushing the Administration’s absurd story that the attack was just a protest about a video that got out of hand and then looked the other way as the President ignored the “bump in the road” in while jetting off to Hollywood fundraisers. But this story is getting out there, and it is certainly contributing to the sense that this is an Administration that isn’t coming clean with the American people about the real challenges our country faces (from Al Queda to the economy) and has assumed it could get by on well-crafted speeches and Presidential “eye candy.”
Liberals so desperate to attack Romney should have a greater sense of the President’s own vulnerabilities.