Political Animal

Blog

October 29, 2012 4:58 PM If the Campaign Lasted Twenty Years….

By Ed Kilgore

So now, predictably, the Romney campaign is backtracking on his primary campaign suggestion that emergency management needs to be taken over by the states (implying in turn that FEMA should be abolished). Oh no! Mitt wouldn’t do that!

We’re witnessing a pattern that is getting very interesting to anyone paying attention. Romney has endorsed a variety of budget blueprints that require very deep reductions in domestic spending, and particularly non-defense discretionary spending. Matt Yglesias has the basic math:

[T]he fact is that his overall budget requires sharp cuts in everything. The central issue is that Romney wants to cap government spending at 20 percent of GDP while boosting military spending to 4 percent of GDP and leaving Social Security harmless. That means a 34 percent across-the-board cut in other programs according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Unless, that is, Medicare is also exempted from the cuts in which case you’d need a 53 percent cut.

Them’s some big cuts. But whenever Mitt is challenged on any particular budget item, we hear: Oh, no! Mitt wouldn’t cut that! But every time something’s taken off the table, the level of cuts needed for programs not taken off the table goes straight up. And greater specificity, of course, is always ruled out on grounds that Mitt will have to work out the details in negotiations with Congress—meaning, in terms of a Romney administration’s position, negotiations between Mitt and his running-mate.

If the campaign were to continue for another twenty years or so, we might eventually find out what Mitt Romney’s actual intentions are for major areas of domestic spending.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • bleh on October 29, 2012 5:06 PM:

    If the campaign were to continue for another twenty years or so, we might eventually find out what Mitt Romney’s actual intentions are for major areas of domestic spending.

    Yes, but it wouldn't matter, because long before then we all would have committed suicide.

  • Peter C on October 29, 2012 5:28 PM:

    He'd cut taxes for the rich and Big Bird. That's the extent of it.

  • T2 on October 29, 2012 5:42 PM:

    "very interesting to anyone paying attention" but who is? Certainly not the Des Moines Register, or pretty much half the voters in the whole country. Hell yes Romney's plans fall apart if scrutinized. But who's doing that, other than a few bloggers. But not to worry, everyone will be paying attention in about a year when they wake up to find the new retirement/Medicare age is 76 and income taxes have been eliminated for anyone making more than a million a year.

  • c u n d gulag on October 29, 2012 5:44 PM:

    "If the campaign were to continue for another twenty years or so, we might eventually find out what Mitt Romney’s actual intentions are for major areas of domestic spending."

    Actually, we all know that NOW!

    He'd cut the living sh*t out of any and every program that doesn't help the rich, corporations, and military contractors.

    PERIOD!

  • MCD on October 29, 2012 5:46 PM:

    Simple - cut Big Bird's funding for the next billion years to pay for next year's deficit.

    We'll cut two billion years' worth of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to cover FY 2014.

    By then, the confidence fairy will probably have kicked in enough to balance everything from then on out.

  • paul on October 29, 2012 5:50 PM:

    If the campaign went on for another 20 years it would be slightly clearer that Romney and Ryan are lying every time they open their mouths. But really, why should anyone believe a word of what this guy says he'll cut or leave alone?

    I bet when he was a Bain he promised every acquisition that he would only cut the jobs of unnecessary workers.

  • schtick on October 29, 2012 5:59 PM:

    I can't stand his campaign of lies now, nevermind another 20 years. Please!

  • Mikhail on October 29, 2012 6:33 PM:

    I suppose we needed something horrible for Halloween... 20 years of this campaign *shudder*

  • zandru on October 29, 2012 7:00 PM:

    Mitt's position? "Any". It won't take another 20 years.

    The reason it works is because a significant fraction of the voter population just listens until they hear one or two things they like, then they tune out the rest.