After reading transcripts of Obama's recent campaign stump speeches and watching his interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, I am even more convinced he is every bit as clueless as he appeared in that fateful debate but also very deceitful.
The money quote in Obama's interview with Sawyer, who asked him what happened in the debate, was: "It's not the first time I've had a bad night. But I think what's important is that the fundamentals of what this race is about haven't changed. You know, Gov. Romney went to a lot of trouble to try to hide what his positions are, because he knows that those ideas have been rejected. They won't work."
This is just more of the same. Obama is saying that our ongoing economic problems are still President Bush's fault and that Romney wants to go back to the Bush policies that caused all this -- as if the four years we've just experienced never occurred and as if he and his party weren't more responsible than Republicans for the policies that led to the housing and financial collapse.
It is true that the fundamentals of the race haven't changed. Obama wants to stay on the course of his failed policies, and Romney wants to reverse course. But Romney is not trying to hide his positions; Obama is lying about what those positions are.
Indeed, it's not just Democratic operative Stephanie Cutter who is making the embarrassingly false claim that Romney's tax cuts would cost $5 trillion. With this administration, almost everything, including Benghazi-gate, starts at the top. Obama repeated the claim to Sawyer and added that Romney's cuts would be skewed toward the rich.
No, the rich, by losing exemptions and deductions, would benefit less than lower-income groups, something that I, as a supply-sider, am not too pleased about, but it's nevertheless true. And the cuts would not cost $5 trillion, because those cuts would be offset by the elimination of the exemptions and by the economic growth the cuts would help generate.
But where Romney would most substantially deviate from the Bush policies is that he would severely cut spending, both in the short and long term -- in the latter with comprehensive, structural entitlement reform. And he would roll back Obama's unprecedented regulations that, along with Obama's taxing and spending policies, are smothering the private sector.
So let's summarize Obama's main argument for his re-election: Republicans caused the policies that led to our economic problems. Obama has put us on a path to recovery, and he would continue on that exact path, whereas Romney would reinstate the Bush policies that caused the problems.
He's wrong on every count.
After Bush's tax cuts, his economy was mostly strong until the final year of his second term -- sustained economic growth, low unemployment and negligible inflation. Bush spent too much, though less than Democrats would have if they'd gotten their way (including on education and prescription drugs), but his deficits were still only a fraction of what Obama's have been -- despite Iraq and Afghanistan. Democratic policies (affordable housing, etc.) led to the economic collapse. Bush tried to get Democrats to roll these back, but he was ridiculed and rebuffed by the likes of Democratic Rep. Barney Frank. Obama also rails against Wall Street bailouts in his stump speech, but he became a key player in the TARP bailouts, not to mention the auto industry bailout or Dodd-Frank, which could someday lead to big bank bailouts on steroids.
Further, Obama, instead of putting us on a path to recovery, has implemented recklessly wasteful spending policies, oppressive regulatory policies and punitive tax policies, which have led to the worst recovery and longest period of high unemployment in 50 years. He has blocked GOP entitlement reform proposals and has submitted none himself. He is by far the biggest-spending president in American history by any rational measure. We will be in national bankruptcy and financial collapse if he wins re-election and stays the course, which he is promising to do. He and his Justice Department have also shaken down banks to pressure them to start making the very types of uncreditworthy loans that caused the housing collapse in the first place.
Romney would, like Bush, cut taxes (with modifications on deductions), but he would implement spending and entitlement reform, including repealing Obamacare. His administration would be a friend to businesses and not an outright enemy as the Obama administration has been.
So yes, President Obama, the choice couldn't be clearer. You would continue your failed policies of growing the government and killing the private sector, ensuring the perpetuation of an anemic economy and ultimately national bankruptcy, and Mitt Romney would dramatically roll back the government to let the American people and their businesses unleash a robust recovery, the likes of which we've rarely seen.