Barack Obama won’t officially kick off his reelection until this weekend—with dual rallies in Ohio and Virginia—but that hasn’t stopped his campaign from beginning its negative attack on Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Yesterday, the campaign questioned Romney’s ability to make critical military decisions, and today, it goes after his ability to make smart economic decisions, with an ad that will air in Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia:
As Washington debates the (not particularly vital) question of whether it’s fair that President Obama claims credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, it’s worth asking a single question—if the shoe were on the other foot, and President John McCain had issued the order to kill bin Laden, would Republicans hold to their current position, and insist that it wasn’t fair game for an election? Would Democrats continue tout its place on the president’s resume?
Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, TheWashington Post ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, believes that the paper should focus more on how he’ll govern, rather than how he’ll campaign. For guidance to the former question, he writes that we should look to his tenure as governor:
To me, the best predictor of Romney as president is not as the former Bain Capital chief executive, but as the former governor of Massachusetts. […]
The defining feature of Republican economic policy for the short-term is immediate austerity—big spending cuts to social programs, coupled with tax increases on lower-income people, and a reduction in the size of the federal workforce. Conservatives claim that this will lead to immediate job growth and a more robust recovery.
House Budget chairman Paul Ryan inhabits two, mutually exclusive spaces in Washington politics. He’s both a crusader for deficit reduction—the recipient of praise and accolades from the Beltway’s collection of deficit hawks—and a pure right-wing ideologue, whose budgets would gut the social safety net, slash taxes on the rich, and load the United States with trillions of dollars in debt. That he’s managed to do this without backlash from the Right or incredulity from the mainstream is a remarkable achievement, and as Jonathan Chait describes for New York Magazine, a product of his studied earnestness and ostentatious love of “wonkery”:
Back in 2009, when the newly elected President Barack Obama was contemplating a bailout of the auto-industry, Mitt Romney emerged from his temporary hiatus to push policymakers in the other direction. “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” he urged in an op-ed for New York Times. For Romney, a managed bankrupcy of the kind he had pioneered at Bain Capital was the only way to “save” the American auto industry.
Brad DeLong looks at the degree to which Wall Street has bounced back from the collapse under Obama, and wonders why bankers have turned completely against the president:
Why? It is not as though Wall Street has done badly under Obama. Stock prices are up and interest rates are down, so leveraged financial institutions long assets–as Wall Street inevitably is–have done very, very well indeed. The standard bargain that the Democrats offer Wall Street has held. It is:
I understand that reporters want to hold the Obama campaign accountable for its rhetoric and tactics, but there’s a point where that goes from sensible to absurd. In the latter column is a “gotcha” from ABC News:
The Obama campaign opened up a new line of attack on Mitt Romney Friday, suggesting that as commander-in-chief Romney might not have made the same decision to order an attack by U.S. forces to kill terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden that President Obama did.
A few weeks ago, Amanda Marcotte described the Romney team as running an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” campaign, where—instead of addressing the claims against him—the former Massachusetts governor turns them around on his opponents. It’s a brilliant formulation that neatly captures a dynamic that—if Romney’s riff on “fairness” is any indication—will become a defining feature of his presidential campaign:
As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington. […]
Over at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chye-Ching Huang has written a massive review of the evidence and literature on the relationship between taxes on high-income earners and their effects on economic growth. Her key findings are surprisingly straightforward, and important for how we approach current debates over tax reform and economic policy:
I’m not surprised that Michael Gerson, architect of “compassionate conservatism,” has convinced himself that this generation of Republican leaders is carrying on in his footsteps (via Mike Allen):
Obama’s overreach has also produced another conservative reaction – a Reform Conservatism. The key figure here is Paul Ryan … Its brain trust includes thinkers such as Yuval Levin, James Capretta and Peter Wehner. The reform movement … looks for ways to achieve the ends of the welfare state both through more private means and more efficient public means. … Speaker John Boehner has adopted Ryan’s reform approach as the de facto ideology of the House Republican majority. [Emphasis mine]
The Obama campaign has decided to put a bit more emphasis on the candidate’s biography:
As he heads into a faceoff with Republican Mitt Romney, President Obama’s speeches are revisiting parts of the life story that helped propel his rise. There are nods to his humble beginnings, his hardworking grandmother and the stresses of debt — in short, stories that best connect with the middle-class voters his reelection may depend on.