The Worse Political Advice, Ever

David Brooks argues (“The Elevator Speech,” NYT) that Obama has to “define America’s most pressing challenge” on Thursday, and says he has “three clear options.”

The first option is global warming:

“But if this is really where Obama’s passion lies, he should go for it.

“He should vow to double down on green energy and green technology.  He could revive cap-and-trade legislation that would creat incentives for clean innovation.  He could propose a tax reform package that would substitute gasoline and energy consumption taxes for a piece of our current income taxes.  He could say that his No. 1 international priority will be to get a global warming treaty ratified by all the major nations.”

He could say all these things and then proceed to replicate George McGovern’s 1972 defeat.  Hell, Obama probably wouldn’t even carry Massachusetts.  Mitt could safely spend the rest of the campaign on his boat in New Hampshire while Ryan is off bow- and- arrow hunting.

So here is Brooks’ door number two, broken capitalism:

“Obama could go before the convention and say that there has been a giant failure at the heart of modern capitalism.  Even in good times,the wealth that modern capitalism generates is not being shared equitably.  Workers are not seeing the benefits of their own productivity gains.

“Obama could offer policies broad enough to address this monumental problem.  He could vow to strengthen unions.  He could vow to use federal funds to pay for 500,000 more teachers and two million more infrastructure jobs.  He could cap the mortgage interest deduction, cap social security benefits, raise taxes on the rich, raise taxes on capital gains and embrace other measures to redistribute money from those who are prospering tho those who are not.  He could crack down on out-sourcing and regulate trade.  He could throw himself behind a new industrial policy to create manufacturing jobs.

This agenda wouldn’t appeal to moderates, or people like me, but it’s huge, it’s serious and it would highlight a real problem.”  Emphasis added.

So Brooks is supposedly giving Obama sincere advice for a speech that’s intended to attract moderates and admitting that his advice would repel moderates.  This speech would feed the socialist, anti-capitalist GOP smear.  Again, he’d lose, maybe not as big as with the global warming speech, but he’d lose.

Brooks’ third option is to embrace Simpson Bowles.  That’s the least suicidal of the three, but you can’t offer honest, real numbers when the other side is committed to lying, imaginary numbers.

Brooks concludes, “If Obama can’t tells us the big policy thing he wants to do, he doesn’t deserve a second term.”

If Obama were to listen to Brooks, deserving or not, he wouldn’t get a second term.  And I can state unequivocally that David Brooks no longer deserves a NYT op-ed column.

 

Paul Ryan — You Lie!

From “Top 5 Fibs in Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech,” Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo:

Medicare

Ryan forged his reputation in large part by drafting and advancing an unpopular plan to dramatically cut and privatize Medicare. Though he didn’t mention that plan once on Wednesday, he included it in his last two budgets, both of which preserved the Affordable Care Acts cuts to Medicare — taken mostly from overpayments to private insurers and hospitals.

Instead, Ryan once again dubiously accused President Obama of being the true threat to Medicare.

“You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.”

Obama did use those Medicare savings — in the form of targeted cuts in payments to providers, not in benefits to seniors — to pay for the health care law. Ryan’s budget calls for using them to finance tax cuts for wealthy Americans, and deficit reduction. But by now calling to restore that spending commitment to Medicare, Ryan and Romney are pledging to hasten Medicare’s insolvency by many years.

U. S. Credit Rating

Standard & Poors downgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating in 2011 because congressional Republicans… threatened not to increase the country’s borrowing authority — risking a default on the debt — unless Democrats agreed to slash trillions of dollars from domestic social programs and investment.

Janesville GM Plant

Ryan criticized Obama for — yes — not using government funds to prop up an auto plant in his district.

Ignoring the inconsistency of a Republican chastising Obama for not bailing out more auto manufacturers, the plant in question closed before Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Bowles-Simpson Debt Commission

Ryan chastised Obama: “He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.”

Ryan sat on that commission. He voted against it. Following his lead, so did the panel’s other House Republicans.

Protecting the Poor

Near the end of his speech, Ryan claimed the campaign’s top priority is protecting the poor. “We have responsibilities, one to another — we do not each face the world alone,” he said. “And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak.”

Just under two thirds of the dramatic spending cuts in Ryan’s budget target programs that benefit low-income people. That plan also calls for large tax cuts for high-income earners.

Emphasis added.