DAVID BROOKS DECLARES THAT OBAMA IS A DEMAGOGUE IF HE EVER TALKS ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN FISCAL ISSUES BETWEEN NOW AND NOVEMBER
David Brooks today:
...we have a campaign in front of us. If the president is truly committed to a strategy for progressive fiscal stability, as Bill Clinton was, he'll make that the center of his campaign. He'll earn a mandate. He'll win over independents who want fiscal discipline but worry about the way Republicans get there.
If he doesn't have a passion for fiscal stability, he'll campaign on side issues and try to win by scaring everybody about the other side.
So he'd better not offer any rhetorical red meat, or rhetorical dessert (no soaring visions of the future, Barack!) -- just vegetables, vegetables, vegetables. Otherwise, he's an irresponsible demagogue who's "scaring everybody."
A couple of points here. First, Mitt Romney doesn't have to "campaign on side issues" because he has people to do that for him. He doesn't have to talk about the New Black Panther Party, or say that the liberal media is railroading George Zimmerman, or whine about voter fraud, because Fox News and talk radio and the Internet right will do all that for him. And Romney knows that much of the base isn't going to vote for him in November -- it's going to vote for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, with Romney getting the actual votes, as Rush and Sean's surrogate.
Another point: Romney can rant about the debt and deficit because the right-wing message on the debt and deficit is pure fantasy -- just cut lots and lots of spending and nothing important will actually have to be sacrificed. Romney knows (or at least his campaign knows) that large numbers of Americans don't think they're using any government programs when they actually are. He and his campaign also know that much of America really wants deficit reduction -- until you specify cutting the biggest-ticket domestic programs. So Romney can keep his talk vague, and that fires up the right, and makes people like David Brooks think he's being incredibly responsible. He's not being responsible. He's just pandering. Too bad David Brooks can't tell.