I suppose it’s to his credit that he’s most inept when he tries to take the low road. He resorts to hoary, brain-dead clichés. He wanders so far from his true nature that he makes Mitt Romney look like Mr. Authenticity.That’s pretty much what happened this week in Obama’s speech before a group of newspaper editors. Obama’s target in this speech was Representative Paul Ryan’s budget.It should be said at the outset that the Ryan budget has some disturbing weaknesses, which Democrats are right to identify. The Ryan budget would cut too deeply into discretionary spending. This could lead to self-destructive cuts in scientific research, health care for poor kids and programs that boost social mobility. Moreover, the Ryan tax ideas are too regressive. They make tax cuts for the rich explicit while they hide any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors.But these legitimate criticisms and Obama’s modest but real deficit-reducing accomplishments got buried under an avalanche of distortion. The Republicans have been embarrassing themselves all primary season. It’s as if Obama wanted to sink to their level in a single hour.
Needless to say, Chuck Pierce leaves a blackened glass crater where this column went.
It's gotten to the point where, when I hear Serious Pundits talking about "Simpson-Bowles," the room starts smelling of incense and votive candles. There was no Simpson-Bowles plan. There were suggestions put out by Messrs. Simpson and Bowles that couldn't pass their own commission, largely because the Democrats were shocked and the Republicans were nuts. And trickle-down, Trojan horse-bearing social Darwinism was once known as the Reagan Campaign. Hell, at the time he was St. Ronnie's budget director, David Stockman called the whole Reagan economic plan "a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate." And, not for nothing, but Alan Simpson actually is an '80's cliche.