David Frum is criticizing Mitt Romney for not being tough enough on spending. “For a candidate to say that he wants to cut ‘non-defense discretionary spending’ is to say that he wants to leave 80% of the federal budget off limits.” But that’s not true. Romney talks about getting entitlements under control all the time. Granted, he has been less specific about how to do that than about cutting non-defense discretionary spending. But he has been more specific about both than any of the other candidates, which makes it kind of odd to single him out for criticism on this front.
Frum’s second criticism is that Romney is backing away from his health-care plan. That’s an overplayed story. From the beginning, Romney acknowledged that the Massachusetts legislature had altered his health-care plan in significant ways; and he did not, to my knowledge, ever say that he would use the legislation as a national model. But as recently as three weeks ago I heard him make a speech using the plan as an example of how health care can be reformed.