Greg Sargent is rightfully stunned by the entitled petulance of Wall Street bankers who are shocked—shocked—that President Obama would do anything other than praise their indispensable brilliance:
Wall Streeters are so upset about Obama’s harsh populist rhetoric that they privately called on him to make amends with a big speech — like his oration on race — designed to heal the wounds of class warfare in this country. […]
(The Miscegenation Ball/Abraham Lincoln's Classroom)
In today’s New York Times, David Brooks writes that—for him—most presidential campaigns are some combination of reality show, romantic courtship, and a straightforward job application. This year, however, is different. Rather than try to appeal to the best of the public, Brooks says that both Romney and Obama have gone for the jugular in a ruthless effort to destroy each other. It suffices to say that the Times columnist is very disappointed in this development:
If anyone was expecting President Obama to spike the proverbial football during his address this evening from Afghanistan, they were sorely disappointed. In a sober, 11 minute message, Obama retraced the path that brought the United States to Afghanistan, and outlined the next two years of American policy in the country.
Two weeks ago, the Romney campaign hired Richard Grenell—a long-time Republican and former staffer for the Bush White House—to act as a spokesperson on foreign policy and national security. Grenell received tough criticism from Democrats for a series of sexist tweets, but that wasn’t enough to spark reticience from the Romney team.
A new Public Policy Polling survey for Virginia shows President Obama in good shape ahead of his visit on Saturday. He has an approval rating of 50 percent with 46 percent of voters disapproving of him, and in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney, he leads 51 percent to Romney’s 43 percent. Unlike most other swing states, Obama has held a consistently strong position in the Old Dominion since he was elected:
Most independent experts agree that the various Republican budget plans—from Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and others—would have a disasterous effect on lower-income Americans. By slashing programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and cutting taxes on the richest Americans, they would precipitate a massive amount of upwards redistribution; taking from the poor to give to the rich. But it seems that facts like this aren’t actually relevant to the day-to-day of campaigning. To wit, in a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for his (apparent) disregard for the least well-off:
In a few weeks, tens of thousands of students will graduate from college or university, and attempt to make their way in the economy. During better times, these former students would find jobs, rent apartments, and almost immediately begin to pump money into the economy. But—three years after the nadir of the economic crisis—the job market for young people is still terrible, and many have opted to live with their parents in order to save money. This, you can probably imagine, has only made the economy worse. Here’s TheWashington Post:
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.