Maybe the Obama bounce-- even from right-wing polling-- is all about what a relatively flawless convention the Democrats staged in Charlotte, compared to the confused mess Romney presided over in Tampa. Or maybe not. Maybe it has more to do with the confused, incoherent mess the Romney/Ryan campaign has become. Nothing is going right, mostly because Romney is an egg shell-walking flip flopper with no core beyond a hodge-podge of crazy Mormon doctrine and because, as Krugman, so eloquently put it yesterday, Ryan is nothing but a shyster-- an obvious shyster. And anyone who is just becoming aware of this, obviously hasn't been paying attention for the last half dozen years as Wall Street picked out, succored, and pushed forward their freaky and empty-headed little Frankenstein monster from Janesville, Wisconsin.
Tom Edsall has a very good piece on one of the key evasions in the Ryan budget plan, the huge unspecified cuts in discretionary spending. Edsall goes into more detail than anyone else I’ve read about just how much is hidden in that “sinkhole” and how it calls everything else Ryan claims into question.
But can I point out that this basic piece of flimflam was obvious all along? From my original Ryan takedown, more than two years ago:Finally, let’s talk about those spending cuts. In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn’t say.
And yet until very recently the whole Beltway was united in praising Ryan as a Serious deficit hawk, with a detailed plan-- he even received a big award for fiscal responsibility.
So the Ryan story isn’t just about Ryan; it’s about how the establishment allowed itself to be taken in by such an obvious shyster, despite warnings from many of us that he was, well, an obvious shyster.
How lucky is Rob Zerban to have minds like Paul Krugman and Tom Edsall tuned in to Ryan's chicanery and doing his opposition research for him? It almost makes up for the sabotage to his congressional campaign from inveterate Ryan protectors Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They're not only not helping Zerban beat Ryan in a very winnable Wisconsin district that Obama took in 2008, they're actually working behind the scenes to hurt his campaign. These are two of the most horrible people in the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi passed over one to be DCCC chair and gave the other one the job, who she describes as "reptillian." You can help Rob stop Paul Ryan from turning our country over to his Wall Street masters here-- because they're also Israel's masters and Wasserman Schultz's masters and those two will never help get rid of Ryan. What Ryan and Romney are hiding is that to implement their increase in military spending and their lowering of taxes on the rich, they will have to ease out the mortgage interest deduction on the middle class. No one could say that and hope to win an election. So they're not. Watch the video above where everyone dances around it. When releasing it, OFA put out, in part, this statement:
This unapologetic evasiveness by the Romney-Ryan ticket won’t be lost on voters because their lack of specifics carries a strong message of its own-- which President Obama and Vice President Biden translated for voters during campaign events in Florida and Ohio on Sunday afternoon. The Vice President put it plainly: “The money’s got to come from somewhere. Guess who? You.” And the President said, “They want your vote, but they don't have a plan. Or at least they don't want to tell you their plan. And that's because they've got the same plan they've had for 30 years.”
That’s all Americans need to know about the Romney-Ryan plan-– it’s the same one that got us into this mess in the first place. In other words, bad math.
President Obama is doing very well against Romney/Ryan. Thank God. Rob Zerban, however, doesn't have the resources available to make the case in WI-01. Israel and Wasserman Schultz have seen to that. In Edsall's Sunday column Krugman referred to, he makes the point that one of the "most striking aspect of the omissions in the Ryan budget is the failure of Obama and other Democrats to capitalize on it." He cites two factors Democratic leaders say limit their ability to mount a counter-attack.
First, the complexity of the issue makes it difficult for reporters to understand and write about the subject. After wading my way through all of this, I know what they mean. Second, the Ryan tactic of obscuring the cuts successfully plays to a fundamental ambivalence that amounts to an internal contradiction in public opinion: strong support for spending cuts in the abstract, but opposition to many specific cuts in programs that have popular support.
...In an interview, Christopher Van Hollen Jr. of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told me that the Ryan budget “is a shell game designed to hide the damage to the country.” Van Hollen is frustrated that the damage to which he alludes has not become a campaign issue: “The magnitude of this budget gimmick takes your breath away.”
Instead of sabotaging his campaign and telling institutional donors not to give him any money, Israel and Wasserman Schultz should be helping to finance Zerban in a way to significantly threaten Ryan's political career. They never will. We should do it instead.