A Presidential Campaign Play Surprise from a “NY Times” Columnist

August 26, 2012 8:16 pm 0 comments

In my August 19, 2012 article “Obama’s Presidential Campaign Playbook?” Chapter I included these actions:

  • Obscure Obama’s actual record as President.
  • When impossible to obscure, spin Obama’s record to present his failed initiatives and policies as significant accomplishments.

However, I didn’t anticipate how thoroughly some Democrats have already accepted Obama’s failures as accomplishments worthy of a second four years.  That lesson was driven home 08/26/2012 with the publication of three “letters to the editor” in the “Houston Chronicle” extolling Obama’s Medicare “plan” and foreign policy successes.  The letters were in response to “NY Times” columnist David Brooks’ 08/23/2012 op-ed praising Romney/Ryan’s Medicare Plan.  That column is presented in Chapter III so the three letters follow comments about Brooks op-ed item.

Chapter II of the playbook stated the Obama campaign would “vilify Ryan as a deficit reduction hawk who will slash spending on Medicare”.

So, it wasn’t surprising 08/21/2012 when “NY Times” columnist, Paul Krugman, attacked Ryan’s fiscal responsibility.  That’s analogous to a prostitute questioning a nun’s vows of chastity and provoked my following letter to the “Houston Chronicle”.

“Despite my Herculean attempts to simply ignore Paul Krugman liberal blathering, it’s impossible to allow Paul’s untruthful claim: Ryan fails fiscal responsibility test — 08/21/2012, “Chronicle”, to go unchallenged.

The Hearst newspapers probably have a contract with the “NY Times” to publish Krugman but don’t have a reprint arrangement with the “Wall Street Journal”. Even so, you should obtain WSJ permission to reprint their 08/18/2012 article: “What’s Really in the Ryan Budget” by Daniel J. Mitchell.

Mitchell analyzed what Paul Ryan’s budget actually proposes versus Democrat attempts to promote hysteria about Ryan cutting spending to the bone while abandoning welfare spending and safety nets.

If the Houston Chronicle  can’t afford to purchase reprint rights for the article, I’ll chip in $50 and have a friend who may provide another $50.  However, on the remote possibility the “Chronicle” doesn’t publish Mitchell’s entire article, please include his following points:

“Annual budgets assume the current spending rate will continue. On Obama’s watch (where the national debt has increased by $5 trillion) the annual increase would be 4.3%. The Ryan budget would reduce Obama’s spending rate from 4.3% to 3.1%, a reduction of 1.2 percentage points (hardly slashing to the bone) but the 2013 annual budget would still be 3.1% greater than the 2012 spending rate for which there is no 2012 budget.”

Also these points: “Under Democrat Bill Clinton, government spending consumed 18.2% of GDP.  Obama’s spending spree increased the percentage to 24%.  If unchecked, the percentage will jump to 35% by 2040 compared to 18.75% of output under the Ryan budget.”

Krugman accuses Ryan of an economics con game when, in fact, Krugman won a Nobel Prize for his economics con artistry.  Also, when you consider Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded on the basis of 2008 campaign speeches, he too is a master con artist.”

Krugman’s attack on Ryan is also consistent with Chapter III of the playbook that included: “enabling NY Times and Washington Post columnists to demonize Republicans generally, Mitt and Paul specifically.”

However, the pleasant surprise from a “NY Times” columnist came two days later when the “Houston Chronicle” featured a column by David Brooks praising the Romney/Ryan plan to “tame Medicare” and, effectively, refuting Paul Krugman’s attack on Ryan.  Here’s my 08/23/2012 letter to the “Chronicle”.

“Thanks for publishing David Brooks’ column Romney and Ryan proposing best plan to tame Medicare” (08/23/2012, . It was unexpectedly refreshing for a “NY Times” columnist to refute fellow “NY Times” columnist, Paul Krugman’s claim: (08/21/2012, “Chronicle”, page B11) “Ryan fails fiscal responsibility test”.

Whereas Krugman will advocate deficit spending – until the Treasury Department no longer has credit or funds to purchase currency paper stock and ink to print U.S. currency – Brooks examines the largest entitlement program (until Affordable Care Act is effective) Medicare and how Ryan’s plan to reduce entitlement spending compares to Obama “(who has) not done anything that might alter their ruinous course”.

Brooks documents that “ruinous course” with “A study by Jessica Perez and others at the group Third Way (that) lays out the basic facts: ‘In 1962, 14 cents of every federal dollar not going to interest payments were spent on entitlement programs, Today 47 cents … is spent on entitlements. By 2030, 61 cents of non-interest dollars will be spent on entitlements’.”

Brooks goes on to say: “Entitlement spending is crowding out spending on investments in our children and on infrastructure. This spending is threatening national bankruptcy. It’s increasing so quickly there’s no tax increase imaginable that could conceivably cover it.”  That last sentence is critical since Obama’s 2013 budget increases taxes without cutting entitlements.

Brooks’ column presents a clear-cut choice between Ryan’s carefully crafted plan for Medicare to Obama’s “spending (that) is threatening national bankruptcy.” The “Chronicle” is to be congratulated for providing its readers this definitive comparison.”

Hopefully, Brooks and some other mainstream columnists will continue to analyze and challenge unsupported attacks on Romney/Ryan.  Although Obama started his 2012 presidential campaign immediately after he was inaugurated – and the “circular firing squad” Republican presidential primary seemed to last forever – there’s still plenty of time for Obama’s Presidential Campaign Playbook characters to revert to form before November 6.

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