Debating Mitt’s Impossible Math

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 16 2012 @ 7:14pm

Galupo wonders whether Obama can effectively attack Romney's tax plan:

Of all the Romney parries that Obama seemed most unprepared for, it was the issue of tax reform. The president seemed to cling to the Tax Policy Center’s reckoning of Romney’s tax plan as if it were his woobie. That’s not going to fly tonight. Will he find a new, more effective way to stuff Romney back into the pack ’n’ play with Grover Norquist? And, on the same token, will Romney make Obama look like a guy who’s unusually obsessed with raising taxes? Like: is that you’re only idea, pal? That, and "green jobs"? Really?

Bouie's advice:

The genius of Mitt Romney’s vague tax plan is that it allows him to mount any defense that sounds plausible. Indeed, if there is anything Romney is ready for, it’s attacks on his tax proposals. And as we saw in the last presidential debate, he’s adept at twisting any criticism into an opportunity to extol the claimed virtues of his tax plan.

Rather than get stuck in this mud, President Obama should avoid the issue altogether.

Instead, he should return to the rhetoric he used to great effect in the spring and summer—a firm explanation of what the Romney/Ryan budget would cost in terms of national investment, environmental commitments, and aid to the less fortunate. Force Romney to defend his proposed massive cuts to Pell Grants, food stamps, environmental protection, and other federal functions. Or at least, take advantage of the fact that he’ll respond with banal generalities; Obama had one solid line in the last debate—"He’s not hiding his plans because they’re too good for the middle-class." This should be the basis for his attacks tonight.