Guy Benson

We sure do.  Please describe it for us, Mr President:
 


Where to begin?  How about with an explanation of why Obama felt compelled to cut a softer, address-the-camera spot with soothing piano music.  Here's a chart of the president's favorability as his campaign has pilloried Mitt Romney with discredited attacks (via Sean Trende):
 


He's hemorrhaging likeability, previously his top asset.  A possible fix?  Talk directly to Americans about false choices and vague, poll-tested goals, accompanied by a heartwarming score.  Unfortunately, the content of the his message is nonsense:

(1) Contra Obama's first "contrast" statement, Governor Romney's actual plan is an across-the-board income tax cut for all taxpayers, not just those "at the very top."  He also supports lowering America's corporate tax rate and eliminating loopholes and subsidies for both corporations and individuals (the wealthiest tend to benefit most from the current complex and byzantine tax code).  This general blueprint tracks relatively closely with the recommendations of Obama's own fiscal commission, which he has duly ignored.  It's worth noting that he's also ignoring advice from his jobs council, with whom he hasn't met in six months.

(2) A "top down approach" did not "cause the mess in the first place."  An dangerously inflated housing bubble with tentacles into our financial institutions did.  The causes of the 2008 collapse are very complicated, but liberal policies forcing banks to make subprime loans in the name of "fairness" (something championed by Democrats for years and fought for by Barack Obama as a community organizer) is a chief culprit.  The bloated GSE's known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were among the very worst offenders in handing out these reckless loans, which pumped more toxic air into the bubble.  When Republicans tried to increase regulation on these entities (read that clause again and follow the link), Democrats denied there was even a problem and cried racism.  Irresponsible Wall Street actors bundled these subprime mortgages into financial instruments -- hey, they had implicit government backing, right? -- which, in turn, infected many of our big banks.  When the rapaciously and artificially-inflated housing bubble burst, it nearly brought the whole ship down with it.  The Obama-signed 'Dodd-Frank' Wall Street Reform law scandalously leaves Fannie and Freddie unscathed, and the administration is already beginning to repeat the same loose lending mistakes all over again.  But that whole rigomorale takes more than five seconds to explain.  It's easier for Obama to resort to lazy sophistry and claim that Romney's "top down approach" is the problem.

(3) Obama believes in "strengthening the middle class."  Who doesn't?  But what has Obama actually done on this front?  A Bloomberg headline from this spring reveals the inconvenient truth: "Obama Fails To Stem Middle Class Slide He Blamed On Bush."  The story details how the American median family income is down $4,300 since he took office.

(4) The president says he'll "ask the wealthy to pay a little more so we can pay down our debt in a balanced way."  Three glaring problems:  First, in his book, "the wealthy" includes nearly a million small businesses, which account for 53 percent of all small business income in this country.  He's proposing to raise taxes on them, even as a new study warns that this move would cause the US economy to shed roughly 700,000 more jobs.  How will raising taxes on anyone, let alone job creators, improve our unemployment situation or help stimulate the growth that is our true ticket out of the current stagnation?  Second, Obama has no intention of "paying down our debt."  His own 2013 budget included every single tax increase he's asking for, yet his own numbers show that it would never balance even a single annual budget, now or in the future.  In fact, it would add $11 trillion to the gross national debt over the next decade.  Is this his idea of "balance"?  Third, this president has a storied history of not telling the truth on taxes.

(5) The best evidence that he's not interested in "paying down the debt" are the next agenda items he mentions in the ad: More government "investments."  He mentions education (inflation-adjusted public education spending has tripled over the last 50 years, with flat-lining results) and "home grown American energy.  This is an especially rich promise, given the president's abysmal record on wasteful "green jobs" cronyism and his stunning rejection of the widely-supported Keystone pipeline.

(6) He wraps up by lamenting that "sometimes politics can seem very small."  Gosh, I wonder how people might develop such an impression.  Could certain behavior  -- like attacking how Mitt Romney transported his dog in the 1980s, or mocking the horse Ann Romney uses as therapy to treat her multiple sclerosis, or running ads portraying Paul Ryan murdering an old woman, or recycling discredited lies to suggest that one's opponent is a felon, or scheduling trumped-up "policy" speeches to conflict with opponents' debates, or demagoguing every single solution the other side puts forward while offering no alternative -- have something to do with the "smallness" perception?

Never mind all that.  Forward.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography