“Can’t Touch This”: It’s Time To Stop Letting Mitt Romney Off Easy
Mitt Romney wants the presidential election to be all about Barack Obama. If the press doesn’t start asking Romney some difficult questions about the core arguments upon which his entire presidential candidacy is based, he may very well get his way.
Case in point: Check out Mike Allen’s preview this morning of the Romney campaign’s next attack on the President’s economic record…
A senior aide tells us Mitt Romney plans to begin hitting specific stimulus projects as he travels, arguing that President Obama has actually subtracted jobs:
“Were these investments the best return on tax dollars, or given for ideological reasons, to donors, for political reasons? He spent $800 billion of everybody’s money. How’d it work out? It was the mother of all earmarks, not a jobs plan. By wasting all of this money, you had the worst of all worlds: It destroyed confidence in the economy, and makes people less likely to borrow money. Dodd-Frank has been a disaster for the economy. Where are the steady hands? Who’s in charge of energy? Where’s the strong, confident voice on the economy?”
So Romney will now go back to claiming Obama subtracted jobs. But there’s a new twist: Romney will claim that the effect of the stimulus has been to destroy jobs. As it has in the past, the Romney camp will justify this by pointing to a bogus metric — the net jobs lost on Obama’ watch. That includes the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost before the stimulus went into effect. Really: The Romney camp’s claim is that we can calculate that the stimulus destroyed jobs overall with a metric that factors in all the jobs destroyed before the stimulus took effect. That’s not an exaggeration. It really is the Romney campaign’s position. It’s time to ask Romney himself to justify it.
The Romney camp will also begin claiming that Obama has “never created a job.” Will anyone ask Romney about the two dozen straight months of private sector job creation we’ve seen?
And if Romney is now going to start hitting individual stimulus projects, it’s also time to ask him what he would have done if he had been president in January of 2009. He has previously said positive things about stimulus spending. Are those no longer operative? Would Romney really not have proposed any government spending to stimulate the economy when it was in free fall? What would he have done instead? This question is absolutely central. How about asking it?
Then there’s the claim that “Dodd-Frank has been a disaster for the economy.” Romney has pledged to roll back financial reform completely, but he hasn’t said with any meaningful specificity what he woud replace it with, beyond claiming (after the J.P. Morgan debacle forced him to do so) that he supports “common sense regulations.” How about asking Romney what, if anything, he would do instead to guard against future Wall Street recklessness after rolling back Obama’s regulatory response to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression?
Many of the claims that form the foundation of Romney’s entire case for the presidency are going without any meaningful national press scrutiny to speak of. Why?
By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, May 29, 2012