Mitt Can’t Make the Politics and the Policy Work

From “Romney + Ryan = More Budget Math Confusion Than Ever,” Benjy Sarlin, Talking Points Memo:

“When Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his running mate, he pledged a new ‘campaign of substance’ that would finally silence critics who’ve attacked his policy proposals as unworkably vague. But far from clarifying his platform, Romney’s positions have become even more confusing since Ryan joined the ticket.

“Ryan’s choice was intended to bolster Romney’s promise to cut spending. In a bizarre twist, however, the only concrete policy change since Ryan joined the ticket has been a new promise to reverse $716 billion of Medicare savings enacted under the Affordable Care Act, complicating an already fantastical promise by Romney to balance the budget within eight years.

The politics of Romney’s Medicare pledge were clear: Ryan’s call to privatize Medicare and reduce its average benefits puts Romney on the defensive, especially in senior-heavy states like Florida. But the policy side is gibberish. House Republicans have twice passed budgets that included the same $716 billion in cuts. Both budgets were written by Ryan himself, and Romney previously pledged to sign them if elected.

“But there’s a reason Ryan included the ACA’s savings, which do not come out of Medicare recipient’s benefits, in his own budgets. It’s incredibly hard to close the deficit while cutting taxes and protecting defense spending. Under Romney’s platform, defense spending would actually increase, requiring catastrophic levels of cuts at every other level of government to meet his second-term balanced-budget vow.”  Emphasis added.

Mittens can do policy or he can do politics, but he can’t do both.  Since this is a campaign, he obviously has to do politics, but then what’s the point of Ryan?


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