Thursday, April 5, 2012
R-Money's Only Shot
Mitt Romney is now gone from "presumptive front runner" to "presumptive nominee". I still hope the Sweater Vest of the Blessed Virgin wins his home freaking state and makes a go of it across the South anyway. Keep the clown car rolling along.
But we are beginning to see sign of the "shaking of the Etch-A-Sketch" as Romney begins to shift to campaigning both against Obama and the version of himself that he presented to the GOP base.
One of the key issues - to the degree that we elect Presidents on issues - will be the Ryan/GOP budget. The House GOP voted down the line for this extreme piece of radical right wing social engineering and Romney called it "marvelous". Obama went after the budget in his speech the other day and if the American people understand the budget properly, then Romney loses by double digits and the Democrats retake the House.
I'm completely serious.
No one really likes Romney and no one really likes the GOP, beyond the usual 27% crazification factor. There is no reservoir of goodwill towards the GOP; there is some for Obama. Dude had bin Laden shot in the face and saved GM and Chrysler. The economy is finally chugging back to life and Obama is a likable guy.
While there remains a certain bias towards the GOP in large sections of the country, Obama beats Romney on personality and incumbency. All Romney can run on is issues. He presumed he could run on a bad economy, but that might not pan out so he's shifting to gas prices.
The Ryan/Romney budget - if properly understood - would gut social spending, increase defense spending and cut taxes on the rich. It would transfer taxes downwards onto the middle class. When you ask the people how they want to balance the budget the two most popular answers are "raise taxes on the rich" and "cut defense spending". The Ryan/Romney budget goes in the opposite direction.
But Romney's best hope is that budgets are just too durned complicated to be explained by Chuck Todd and Luke Russert and people won't realize just what this budget will mean.
Which is why Obama tried to lay out exactly (or as exactly as he could considering how vague the budget is) how draconian the Ryan/Romney budget is.
The Ryan camp basically shot back with "Oh, no it's not!"
Opinions differ. Both sides do it. Let's be bipartisan.
When Ezra Klein writes on policy, I trust him. He's smart enough and articulate enough to comprehend and explain complexities. So I read with interest his take on Ryan's take on Obama's take on Ryan's budget.
And even he has trouble not getting lost in the weeds. Ultimately, he says that, Yes, I was right, Ryan doesn't dispute Obama's numbers. But in taking the time to explain this, he just lost anyone who isn't committed to understanding these issues. In other words, 99.9999% of the population.
People - especially those craven, bubble headed ignoramuses we call undecided voters - need to understand things in the same way a reasonably intelligent golden retriever does. "Sit!" "Stay!" "Freedom!" "Equality!"
Budgetary politics are incredibly complicated, and as Ryan has demonstrated, easy to fudge. The GOP needs to hope that they can continue to fudge things through November.
Despite my cynicism about the American electorate, I do think that people see through the "cut taxes for the rich and everyone benefits" line of BS that the GOP adheres to as an article of canonical faith. I think they are fed up with the 1%, and I think R-Money is a damned poor messenger for a budget that slashes taxes on the superrich.
But, it's the only card he has to play, and he's going to play the living hell out of it.