IS MARC AMBINDER SMOKING CRACK?
Ambinder's proposing Mitt Romney as Obama's health care czar:
President Obama could do worse. Romney has a bad reputation among Congressional Democrats, so I can't imagine they'd cotton to this.....
A bad reputation among Democrats? Gosh, why would that be? Let's look at the speech he gave last week to House Republicans at their retreat:
... The new President and the Congressional majority ... have a lot of campaign rhetoric to make good on. And they've got plenty of special interests to pay back.
... They've passed 355 billion in infrastructure spending, 60% of which won't be spent by the end of 2010.
... Even worse are the liberal payoffs -- 50 million dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts, hundreds of millions of dollars to the states for STD prevention and education. Until your loud protests got it dropped from the bill, there even was 200 million dollars for the DC Mall. That might have grown some grass, but it wouldn't have grown the economy.
... We need to stimulate the economy, not the government.
... if it's stimulus you want, taxing less works best. That's why permanent tax cuts should be the centerpiece of the economic stimulus. Even Christine Romer, the President's own choice to lead the Council of Economic Advisors, found in her research that tax cuts are twice as effective as new spending.
... Why can't [Democrats] shed their ideological bias and give the American people the kind of permanent, broad based tax relief that even they must know will relieve the suffering our country is going through? ...
Yeah, a perfect fit, right?
Marc, I guess you were out of the room when this happened, but the old centrist Romney died a long time ago. He's now a garden-variety wingnut attack dog uttering garden-variety wingnut bullet points, as well as (concerning speed of infrastructure spending and Romer) out-and-out lies. And as I've pointed out a couple of times, you can also throw in his Republican convention speech, in which he talked about Washington in the Bush years as too "liberal," and the Kulturkampf section of the sounded-better-in-the-original-German Conservative Political Action Committee speech he gave last year ("The threat to our culture comes from within" -- a chilling line that's well complemented by an assertion about Obama in the most recent speech: "I want him to adopt correct principles.")
Oh, and we haven't even gotten to abortion rights, which Romney (now) opposes and Obama, needless to say, doesn't. Kind of a problem if you're going to be health care czar, no? (Ambinder acknowledges this, but doesn't seem to think it's a big deal.)
I suppose I can think of worse ideas -- but none are coming to mind.
Oh, bloody hell, Ambinder isn't the only Mentioner who's mentioning this -- Karen Tumulty of Time also thinks it's a swell idea. If Obama's going to go GOP -- and hasn't he gone GOP enough already, fer crissake? -- I'd actually prefer the recommendation by Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: Schwarzenegger. On social issues (not just abortion), he's far to the left of Romney these days.
UPDATE: In that speech to House Republicans, Mitt may also have been slinging deceitful nonsense in another area. He said:
As we take out non-essential projects, we should focus on funding the real needs of government that will have immediate impact. And what better place to begin than repairing and replacing military equipment that was damaged or destroyed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?
But as David Leonhardt of The New York Times notes today,
As for the military, administration officials say they asked the Pentagon for a list of temporary projects that could begin soon. But the $10 billion of spending in the current bill covers them. Military barracks can be built quickly. Fighter jets cannot, especially when defense contractors are already operating at nearly full capacity, says Gordon Adams, a national security expert who was part of Mr. Obama's transition team.
Is that bit about defense contractors true? Well, here's an AP story from a couple of weeks ago:
Global markets may be writhing and the U.S. economy teetering at the brink of recession, but for many of the nation's largest defense firms, the good times keep going.
Most have posted big earnings gains in recent years, largely due to record Pentagon spending on weapons programs and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And with the government, not consumers, as their biggest customers, defense contractors appear poised to weather any economic downturn that may lie ahead.
"We are about as far removed from the credit risk and those sorts of matters as you can imagine," Bruce Tanner, Lockheed Martin Corp.'s chief financial officer, said Wednesday. "We feel sort of insulated." ...
Relief for people who aren't hurting? Hey, if it lets Republicans imply that Democrats as weak wussy girly men who hate freedom, of course they're going to propose that.
AND: DanP, in comments, has the best response to the Mitt trial balloon:
Or why not Sarah Palin? After all, she's an expert on autism.