The Campaign Spot

Any Real ‘Adult in the Room’ Doesn’t Demand That Title.

In Mike Allen’s morning newsletter, we read:

Huge three days ahead, with the sharpest intersection of high-stakes politics and government since the midterms: President Obama’s 1:35 p.m. address on his long-term plan for deficits will be covered as the first speech of the 2012 campaign. Team Obama wants the American public to see the president as “the adult in the room,” and views this is a chance for POTUS to steal beyond-the-Beltway momentum from House Republicans.

1. I’m pleased to hear it, but do you remember reading anything recently in the mainstream media about House Republicans having “beyond-the-Beltway momentum”? We heard a great deal of credit to Paul Ryan for having a serious and detailed plan. But somehow, we never hear much about Republican advantages or momentum until the narrative is that Democrats are “making their comeback.”

2. If your staff has to leak that you’re the “adult in the room,” you’re not actually the adult in the room.

3. How revealing is that metaphor? The deficit and debt are huge. Despite the allegedly improving economy, this year’s “deficit is on track to set a new record, with economists at the Congressional Budget Office forecasting an imbalance of $1.5 trillion this year, exceeding the old record of $1.41 trillion in 2009.”

Congressional Democrats insist the problem can be dealt with by raising the top tax rate to 47 percent and ending all U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2012, cutting defense by $674 billion over four years. Congressional Republicans are by and large backing the Ryan plan: entitlement reform, repealing Obamacare, simplifying the tax code, replacing the corporate income tax with a business consumption tax, and a binding cap on total federal spending in proportion to GDP. Choices ranging from the politically difficult to the politically impossible. Ideas ranging from the insane to the innovative.

The Obama response? “Oh, you crazy kids. What a mess you’ve made. Don’t worry, Daddy’s here to straighten this all out.”


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