The Obama Campaign’s Absurd ‘Big Bird’ Ad

This campaign has gone to the birds.

The news of the morning involves a web ad put out overnight by the Obama campaign that features an eight foot tall yellow bird:

The Obama campaign on Tuesday unveiled a television ad mocking GOP candidate Mitt Romney for his calls to cut federal funding for PBS, saying it would do little to address the deficit.

The sardonic ad compares “Sesame Street” character Big Bird, whom Romney mentioned during last Wednesday’s presidential debate, to corporate titans prosecuted for financial misdeeds.

“Bernie Madoff. Ken Lay. Dennis Kozlowski: Criminals. Gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them?” a voiceover says as a silhouette of Big Bird moves on screen.

“Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” the ad says.

The video then plays a clip of Romney vowing “to stop the subsidy to PBS.”

(…)

The Romney campaign dismissed the ad, saying Obama was attempting to distract voters from his own record.

“The choice in this election is becoming more clear each day. Four years ago, President Obama said that if you don’t have a record to run on, ‘you make a big election about small things.’ With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in a statement.

“Mitt Romney knows we can’t afford four more years like the last four, and he will lead us to a real recovery.”

Here’s the ad:

The political press has reacted fairly negatively to the ad in the hours since its been available. Politico noted that the Obama campaign appeared to be playing “small ball” and that it wasn’t being serious all. National Journal noted that Obama’s team seems to be taking silly season to a whole new level. NBC’s Peter Alexander called the ad “absurd” while his colleague Chuck Todd wondered why the Obama campaign was still talking about a debate that has been universally perceived as a horrible loss for the President. ABC’s Rick Klein, meanwhile, wonders where the Obama campaign’s priorities are at the moment:

Four weeks out, in the midst of a race showing signs of heading in much different directions, Team Obama makes a play using … Big Bird? The new Obama campaign ad uses a mock-serious tone to jump on Mitt Romney’s most famous debate line. It’s all in good fun, but the contrast may not be what President Obama is after, not now, not in this race. Romney is getting more serious by the day, with a foreign-policy speech and now Paul Ryan about to make the case for conservative fiscal policies. Romney marches toward Benghazi, while the president marches down Sesame Street?

I get what the Obama campaign is doing here. They are looking for something to salvage out of a pretty terrible debate for their candidate and they’ve latched on to an offhand remark that Mitt Romney made about how he’d approach Federal spending. His comment, which essentially boiled down to the idea that funding for PBS should not be considered a sacred cow when we sit down to decide what to cut from the Federal Budget.  Even though PBS funding only amounts to some $450 million per year and there are plenty of other areas of the budget that we need to focus on if we’re going to get spending under control, I find nothing controversial about this. Given that federal funding amounts to less than 15% of PBS’s annual funding, the argument reducing or eliminating federal subsidies. Moreover, Sesame Street itself gets the vast, vast majority of its funding from outside sponsors and licensing revenues of its beloved characters, not from PBS or the Federal Government. Cutting the PBS subsidy isn’t going to kill Big Bird or Elmo. However, the Obama campaign is latching onto this because, well, it’s Big Bird and who doesn’t love a big yellow bird. Serious politics, though, it isn’t.

The other problem with this, of course, is that there’s just something, well not Presidential about stuff like this. Is this really what the President wants to use to turn around his campaign, a silly commercial that ignores the real issues. The RNC alleges that Obama and/or his campaign has mentioned Big Bird or Elmo in public  more than a dozen times, but hasn’t mentioned the terrorist attack in Benghazi a single time. That strikes me as profoundly misplaced priorities. Up until now, Obama for America was running a polished, nearly error-free, campaign. Ever since the debate, it’s seemed as though they’ve not known which direction to go as the momentum of the race as clearly changed. If this is the kind of ideas they’re coming up with, then perhaps the men and women in Chicago aren’t as professional as I thought they were.

Update: The people behind Big Bird aren’t too thrilled about the Obama campaign’s “Big Bird” ad:

The folks on “Sesame Street” aren’t happy with the Obama campaign.

The Sesame Workshop, which runs “Sesame Street,” put out a statement on Tuesday asking the campaign to take down a cheeky ad that prominently features Big Bird.

The ad mocks Mitt Romney’s vow to end the federal subsidy to PBS. It paints Big Bird as the shady criminal mastermind behind a raft of financial scandals.

The Sesame Workshop objected to having its characters used in a partisan context, as it said in its statement:

Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.

The Obama campaign says they are reviewing the request.

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moderate Mom says:

    Watching the ad, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t an Onion parody.

  2. mantis says:

    they’ve latched on to an offhand remark that Mitt Romney made about how he’d approach Federal spending.

    It was a well-rehearsed remark.

    However, the Obama campaign is latching onto this because, well, it’s Big Bird and who doesn’t love a big yellow bird. Serious politics, though, it isn’t.

    Sure it is. It points out how utterly unserious Romney is about the budget. His goal is to give himself a big tax cut, and he refuses to give us any details about what he will cut to pay for it. He finally gave one detail: he would cut Big Bird.

    If anyone lacks seriousness here, it’s Romney.

    The RNC alleges that Obama and/or his campaign has mentioned Big Bird or Elmo in public more than a dozen times, but hasn’t mentioned the terrorist attack in Benghazi a single time. That strikes me as profoundly misplaced priorities.

    You think they should be campaigning on a horrible tragedy? Who do you think is president, George W. Bush?

  3. mantis says:

    Even though PBS funding only amounts to some $450 million per year

    This is incorrect. $450 goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. PBS is only one entity funded by the CPB. Here’s info on exactly where that money goes.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    The single deficit cutting specific that Romney has offered is firing Big-Bird.
    If you were serious about what you do you might question that.
    But you aren’t…so you write this drivel.
    Yawn.

  5. stonetools says:

    Its a small buy in a limited market, which they hope will go viral. Its not an ad meant for the wonky, Very Serious People set, but guess what- most Americans don’t fit in that set.

    The Democrats’ real haymaker is at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpZufniukuc&feature=player_embedded

    The Dems haven’t forgotten the 47% remarks and aren’t going to let the public forget it either .

  6. legion says:

    I’ve got to admit, I thought there were lots of other things Romney said that should have been much more damaging – his blatant lie on pre-existing conditions comes to mind at once. But the Big Bird line is clearly the thing he said that resonated the most with voters, and that’s what’s important in a political ad.

    The political press has reacted fairly negatively to the ad in the hours since its been available.

    Yes, but they’re not the ones Obama is trying (or needs to) reach. There is not a number small enough to express the percentage of likely voters who give a rat’s fuzzy ass what “the political press” thinks.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    What you weak-assed reportage fails to mention is that the spot is targeted at comedy programs…late night TV.
    And that the Sesame Street folks have asked that it be taken down.

  8. JKB says:

    Given that federal funding amounts to less than 15% of PBS’s annual funding, the argument reducing or eliminating federal subsidies. Moreover, Sesame Street itself gets the vast, vast majority of its funding from outside sponsors and licensing revenues of its beloved characters, not from PBS or the Federal Government. Cutting the PBS subsidy isn’t going to kill Big Bird or Elmo. However, the Obama campaign is latching onto this because, well, it’s Big Bird and who doesn’t love a big yellow bird. Serious politics, though, it isn’t.

    I would love to see Romney capitalize on this. A simple ad pointing out for Obama and the Dems no amount of success and outside profit justifies taking a government dependent off government subsidies. We can never break their plate and cause them to make their own way in the world.

    And/or one pointing out the derision Democrats throw at the thought of cutting back on small amounts of spending ($450 million, in government speak) when Romney as a turnaround specialists knows you have to cut and save the small expenditures which add up to big part of the bottom-line if you hope to save the company. One of the best ways to turnaround you personal finances and get out of debt is to stop buying your morning latte. The lesson is the real savings come from cutting small expenditures, unless there has been real malfeasance with some big ticket item.

    They could show Big Bird in the PBS basement watching the Obama poster fade.

  9. Fiona says:
  10. Geek, Esq. says:

    This is Obama’s big idea. He ‘d rather talk about this than the drop in the unemployment rate.

    As a Democrat, I’m rapidly approaching Andrew Sullivan’s “stick a fork in him” approach. This is the Obama that we all remember from the debt ceiling negotiations, where the Republicans slapped him around and then got the public to blame him for having his face hurting their hands.

    He’s not Jimmy Carter–he’s Dukakis.

  11. bk says:

    “Mitt Romney knows we can’t afford four more years like the last four, and he will lead us to a real recovery.”

    But don’t ask us how!

  12. bk says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    then got the public to blame him for having his face hurting their hands.

    Actually, the “public” didn’t blame Obama. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?

  13. Geek, Esq. says:

    @stonetools:

    Been there. done that.

    The real issue isn’t sowing doubts about Romney–those still exist and will exist.

    The problem is that the guy is simply unwilling to make a case for his own re-election.

    Two questions he does not answer, and refuses to answer:

    1) What have you done to deserve re-election?

    2) What will you do to reward the people if they re-elect you?

    He’s running the same campaign Romney was–trying to make it all about his opponent and focusing on the media cycle instead of pushing a larger picture.

    His re-election campaign is about nothing.

  14. Fiona says:

    @JKB:

    And/or one pointing out the derision Democrats throw at the thought of cutting back on small amounts of spending ($450 million, in government speak) when Romney as a turnaround specialists knows you have to cut and save the small expenditures which add up to big part of the bottom-line if you hope to save the company.

    Romney’s going to do a lot of small cuts to make up for the additional two trillion in military expenditures he wants over the next ten years. The talk about PBS is disingenuous coming from someone who isn’t even willing to entertain cuts to the bloated defense budget. Or Medicare for that matter.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…

    “…One of the best ways to turnaround you personal finances and get out of debt is to stop buying your morning latte. The lesson is the real savings come from cutting small expenditures, unless there has been real malfeasance with some big ticket item…”

    Which would make a lot more sense than most of the stuff you type…if Romney wasn’t proposing to explode Defense Spending…for no reason.
    So to continue your metaphor…Romney is going to cut out the latte…but buy a fully restored Duesenberg…and folks like you and Jan and Florack and Doug believe him when he says it’s a wash.

  16. Geek, Esq. says:

    @bk:

    His approve-disapprove rating went to 40/52 in late July 2011.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

    That’s the meek, overcautious guy who’s in the process of tanking this election.

    Big Bird is a freaking Facebook photoshop meme and a punch line. It’s not a campaign theme.

    But that’s all he’s offering, that and “Romney is a liar.”

  17. Eric Florack says:

    let me get this straight. romney is ‘unserious’ because he wants to cut funding from an organization that is profitable on its own? I mean PBs as a whole is profitable. hell, Big Bird alone with all the merchandising could fund all of PBS’s activities.

    if you’re not serious about cutting that off your
    not serious about any kind of spending reduction. let’s call this ad what it is…. desperation

  18. Fiona says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    I agree. He needs to make a case for his re-election. Maybe he should get some tips from Bill Clinton who did a far better job of making the case for Obama’s re-election at the DNC than Obama has thus far.

  19. Mr. Replica says:

    I am inclined to agree with some of the other posters here.

    What is more absurd…

    Attacking Romney for his one specific on what he would cut from the deficit, which is PBS/Big Bird?

    or

    The fact that a presidential candidate is winning in the polls when his only specific on how to cut the deficit is cutting a miniscule amount of money from PBS/Big Bird?

    To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson:

    “Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on 500gig hard drive.”

    Unless Romney is willing to offer other/more specifics on how he will cut the budget, pay for his and the “Bush” tax cuts, his increase in military spending (which to date he has not offered any real details on any of those plans), then saying that he is serious about the deficit is really more absurd than making a political ad featuring Big Bird.

    ( For the record I do not buy into the talking point that Romney wants to kill Big Bird. PBS gets their majority of money from other sources, so Big Bird is not going any where.)

  20. Eric Florack says:

    Fiona…. why is it that the only govt program the left wants to cut is the military?

  21. mantis says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    This is Obama’s big idea. He ‘d rather talk about this than the drop in the unemployment rate.

    Stop being a child. This is not “Obama’s big idea,” it’s a limited ad they are running during comedy shows at night.

    As a Democrat, I’m rapidly approaching Andrew Sullivan’s “stick a fork in him” approach.

    Then you’re an idiot. And by the way, Sullivan is no Democrat. He’s a freak. Stop reading him and take a Xanax.

    Democrats don’t lose to Republicans. They defeat themselves. Keep calm and carry on.

  22. mantis says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Big Bird is a freaking Facebook photoshop meme and a punch line. It’s not a campaign theme.

    No, it’s not. Stop claiming it is.

    But that’s all he’s offering, that and “Romney is a liar.”

    Incorrect again.

    You’re no Democrat. You’re a concern troll. Back to your bridge, troll!

  23. C. Clavin says:

    For those of you who are, like Doug and Florack and JKB and Jan, mathematically challenged…there is more to consider beyond the Big-Bird ad aimed specifically at late night comedy viewers….

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/10/08-romney-tax-debate-gale

    “…the basic power of arithmetic is overwhelming in showing that Governor Romney has so far overpromised on the tax side…”

  24. Geek, Esq. says:

    @mantis:

    In two sentences, what argument is Obama driving for:

    1) Why he earned re-election in his first term; and

    2) How the country will benefit from a second term for him.

    To be precise, not what argument YOU would make, but rather what argument he is actually choosing to emphasize.

  25. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    One of the best ways to turnaround you personal finances and get out of debt is to stop buying your morning latte. The lesson is the real savings come from cutting small expenditures,

    As someone who works in finace, that is completely untrue. It’s a comforting myth people tell themselves in order to have some feeling of control, but it’s a myth nonetheless. The thing that kills most people isn’t the small expenditures like morning lattes, it’s the sudden and/or unexpected expenses such as mortgages, school loans, hospitalizations, car accidents, extended job loss, etc.

    A morning latte is, what, $3.50? Multiply that by 250 work days and you get $875 over one year. Which is not nothing for most people, but it’s also not going to be the amount of money that pulls you out of poverty and into the middle class, and is an amount that is de minimis compared to most people’s housing, healthcare, car and education expenses.

  26. bk says:

    @Geek, Esq.: Nice cherry-picking you’ve got going there; unfortunately, it is not responsive to the point that was being discussed, as to the apportionment of blame between Congressional Republicans and Obama for the budget fiasco in July 2011.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    “…why is it that the only govt program the left wants to cut is the military? “

    You are either ignorant…or a liar…please tell us which.
    The Presidents budget for Defense does not cut Defense…it merely slows down growth.
    The President proposed the largest deficit reduction plan in history which included cuts to entitlements.
    The President passed the PPACA which reduces the deficit.
    Government spending is flat under President Obama…something no Republican in modern history can claim.

  28. bk says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Why he earned re-election in his first term

    I hope that your legal practice doesn’t involve drafting documents.

  29. jan says:

    Mark Steyn puts Romney’s flippant Big Bird comment and Obama’s performance as president in perspective:

    “Vote Obama: He didn’t cancel Big Bird, just the Benghazi consulate security.”

    Bird Bird is small potatoes in comparison to the Administration’s ineptness and decisions surrounding the Benghazi tragedy. Also, Big Bird is a zillion dollar entity who could manage to survive, quite well, on his own without government funding. The Romney reference to such a cut, is one similar to how many families deal with paring down their own expenditures, in hard times — eliminating all the little more frivolous ones first, which often times adds up to a tidy sum of money, saving other cuts that will hurt more.

  30. mantis says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Fiona…. why is it that the only govt program the left wants to cut is the military?

    That’s not true, but the reason it is at the top of the list is defense is 20% of federal spending. After spending on Social Security, Medicare, safety net programs, and debt payments, the only things left are defense a big bag of small potatoes. Unless you are talking about eliminating SS and Medicare/Medicaid, which nobody seriously is, then defense is the only really big line item left. More importantly, defense spending has an unbelievable amount of waste.

    The question shouldn’t be why do you want to cut the military, but why wouldn’t you?

  31. bk says:

    @bk: @Geek, Esq.: Sorry, I reread that phrase again and it made sense this time – my bad!

  32. wr says:

    What a shock that the Chuck Todds of the world are so offended by this ad. After all, it’s underlying premise is that Romney is a poser who doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously — his positions rate only mockery. But the beltway media has to see every moment in a campaign as deathly serious, because that makes them serious and important as well.

    This is a group of “journalists” who all agree that if Romney utters lie after lie in a debate, it’s a masterful performance and it’s not their job to check to see if there’s any truth to what he says. The courtiers to Louis 16th had more integrity than Chuck Todd and the staff of Politico…

  33. Geek, Esq. says:

    @bk:

    Obama:

    1) looked weak and ineffectual;
    2) was way too willing to concede social security and medicare;
    3) got blamed by independents for not being willing to work with Republicans.

    House Republicans took their own hit, but they’re still massively favored to hold Congress.

  34. stonetools says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Obama really doesn’t have a mandate for doing anything big in the second term, other than complete what he started in his first term. He especially has to work on getting unemployment down with a job program , but for that he needs at least a Democratic majority in the house, which is looking more unlikely. What else do you think he should be running on?

  35. Mr. Replica says:

    The Presidents budget for Defense does not cut Defense…it merely slows down growth.
    The President proposed the largest deficit reduction plan in history which included cuts to entitlements.
    The President passed the PPACA which reduces the deficit.
    Government spending is flat under President Obama…something no Republican in modern history can claim.

    I would also like to add to this the fact that on the right we have people wanting to cut medicare, medicaid, and social security because they are bankrupting us. Yet at the same time are more than willing to increase military spending a few trillion dollars. Even tho along with all those other programs, the military takes up an almost equal amount of the budget. Yet, when you look at the numbers America is spending, it is almost the same amount of money as the rest of the countries on this list, combined.

    By the way, cutting or streamlining Military spending does not = weakness.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah Jan…cut out the lattes…but don’t bother refinancing your mortgage…in fact go ahead and buy a bigger house with the coffee money.
    Rafar (at 12:05) explains how stupid you are…so I don’t have to.

  37. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: the sudden and/or unexpected expenses such as mortgages, school loans,

    Wait, you work in finance and think mortgages and student loans are sudden and/or unexpected expenses? What part of fiance do you work in? Debt collections?

    If you are spending more than you earn, cutting out $3.50 a day is a good way to start getting yourself out of deficit spending. Now, if you’ve amassed large debts, then it’ll take longer and you’ll have to cut deeper.

  38. stonetools says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    House Republicans took their own hit, but they’re still massively favored to hold Congress.

    Well, you see that’s the problem. Unless the House goes Democratic, all Obama can do is play defense. You deal with the Congress you have, and unfortunately the Congress is full of batsh!t crazy Republicans who want to take us back to the 19th century. What’s your idea for dealing with them?

  39. mantis says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    In two sentences, what argument is Obama driving for:

    1) Why he earned re-election in his first term; and

    2) How the country will benefit from a second term for him.

    To be precise, not what argument YOU would make, but rather what argument he is actually choosing to emphasize.

    Why two sentences? Why not just two words? How about half a syllable?

    Anyway, the message they have been putting out consistently for many months, as I see it, is this:

    President Obama has made the hard choices to get the country on the road to recovery despite a Republican Party that wants to see the country fail. He made the hard choices that saved the auto industry and took care of bin Laden. Republicans have amnesia and want to go back to the policies that caused all the trouble in the first place.

    Now go away, troll.

  40. Geek, Esq. says:

    @stonetools:

    “I don’t have any big plans for my second term. Maybe a jobs program, but only if Democrats take the House back. If Republicans keep the house, I got nothing.”

    That’s pretty much the worst general election theme, if not ever at least since “it’s not about ideology, it’s about competence.”

    That was Obama’s theme going into the debate, and that’s part of why he got spanked.

  41. mantis says:

    @jan:

    The Romney reference to such a cut, is one similar to how many families deal with paring down their own expenditures, in hard times — eliminating all the little more frivolous ones first, which often times adds up to a tidy sum of money, saving other cuts that will hurt more.

    Too bad it is the only cut he will name. Such managerial genius!

  42. Geek, Esq. says:

    @mantis:

    That’s a solid argument, if they would push it consistently.

    Instead, for whatever reason they’re choosing to relitigate the debate (Romney lied, Big Bird died).

  43. JKB says:

    @mantis: More importantly, defense spending has an unbelievable amount of waste.

    It’s true. We spend millions of dollars building missiles, bombs, bullets, etc. Then we just give it away to anyone who wants it bad enough to start something. Heck, we even cover the delivery costs often sending personal representatives to ensure it is delivered on-time and at the right place. And what do we get in return, crappy foreign-made stuff that is often improvised and unstable.

  44. Fiona says:

    @jan:

    Mark Steyn–is there any right wing hack you won’t quote? And it’s just plain untrue that the Obama administration cut security for the Benghazi consulate. Perhaps security was inadequate but, overall, the number of attacks on American has greatly decreased over the Bush II and Obama years. While we shouldn’t undercut the tragedy, let’s not lose perspective.

    As for the rest of your argument, Big Bird is just a symbol for PBS. Most of the federal money goes to public television and radio in smaller metropolitan and rural areas that lack the ability to raise as much funding as stations in large urban areas. This is the one area of government Romney can name that he’d cut and not just some of it’s funding but all of it? As I said above, totally disingenuous on Mitt’s part.

  45. mantis says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Instead, for whatever reason they’re choosing to relitigate the debate (Romney lied, Big Bird died).

    It’s a targeted message, and a good one IMO. If Romney wants to name another cut he would make besides Big Bird, maybe we can talk about that too.

    But just because you see one video does not mean the campaign is all about that video. Look at the Obama campaign’s YouTube page. There are more than 600 videos there from this year. 600! Only two reference Big Bird. Put it in perspective.

  46. stonetools says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Well, let me ask again, what big idea should he be campaigning on, given the realities of Congress?
    Its one thing to set out with a big legislative program, if you have the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. If you don’t have that, then a big legislative program is political fantasy, and I for one leave political fantasy to the Republicans

  47. jan says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Yeah Jan…cut out the lattes…but don’t bother refinancing your mortgage…in fact go ahead and buy a bigger house with the coffee money.

    Talk about numskull comments, Clavin, your’s is off the planet of making any sense!

    This is probably way too pragmatic for you, but people eliminate cable TV, going out to eat (includes a stop at Starbucks), movies/entertainment expenditures, vacations, discretionary spending on things they basically can do without in order to pay the mortgage, feed the kids, put outrageously expensive gas in the car to go to work (which may be a low-paying part time job or two because of our terrible economy).

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

  48. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    We spend millions of dollars building missiles, bombs, bullets, etc….

    And we make planes the military doesn’t need and can’t use by manufacturing a different piece in each of twenty different states. We develop new weapon/armor/vehicle systems designed to respond only to very particular, immediate threats or problems, spending billions in development, and then shelve them because the threat or problem they were meant to address has changed. Billions and billions are lost to waste and fraud in warzones. And on and on and on.

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    Wait, you work in finance and think mortgages and student loans are sudden and/or unexpected expenses?

    Good catch and fair point — I’d meant to write “large, sudden and/or unexpected” but my typing fingers never caught up to my brain and so didn’t write out the “large.”

    If you are spending more than you earn, cutting out $3.50 a day is a good way to start getting yourself out of deficit spending. Now, if you’ve amassed large debts, then it’ll take longer and you’ll have to cut deeper.

    Cutting out $3.50 a day is only a good way if you’re overspending by $3.50 a day. If you face a post-car accident hospital bill of $100,000, or if you that $3.50/day savings isn’t going to do much.

    And most people simly don’t have the abiltiy to cut their way out of debt, because most people don’t earn that much. The best way out isn’t to spend less, it’s to earn more. That’s how we created a middle class in this country in the first place, by providing decent-paying jobs. But since wages have stagnated the last 30 years, this avenue is increasingly closed off.

    All this “cut out the morning lattte!” is just propaganda by the rich to paper over the fact that the middle-class is no longer sharing in income growth.

  50. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    (And, of course, if everyone cuts out their morning latte, then the corner coffee shop and its employees will go out of business, and then those people will spend less, etc. until we’re in a negative cycle. As Professor Krugman often points out, your spending is my income and vice versa).

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @ Geek, Esq.

    “…“I don’t have any big plans for my second term. Maybe a jobs program, but only if Democrats take the House back. If Republicans keep the house, I got nothing.”…”

    Please provide a link for that quote.

  52. The Q says:

    Hey wingnuts, just last week you idiots were complaining how bias/unreliable the polls are, now you are touting them, when we know this is all a ruse by the polls to placate the stupid wing of the moron party. Its a conspiracy to make them look like they are accurate barometers, when in reality we all know the “Chicago” people manipulate the data at will and are lulling you into a false sense of security.

    Hey Florack, whats your excuse now for the polls being so inaccurate that they show R in the lead?

    Crickets…..

  53. Matt says:

    Judging by the reaction here and elsewhere I feel safe in saying the Obama campaign just wooshed the entire beltway media.

    Congratulations.

    Laugh. Seriously.. it’s ok.

  54. C. Clavin says:

    No Jan…because that is what Romney is proposing…explode military spending, give $5T in tax cuts…and pay for it by cutting big bird. Reconcile that for me. Go ahead.

  55. Rafer Janders says:

    @jan:

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

    Unlike common ordinary folks, the government (a) prints its own money, (b) can borrow trillions of dollars at essentially zero percent interest purely on its good name, (c) has a perpetual income stream since it can continue to tax, and (d) does not have to save for retirement, since the government, unlike an individual, will never retire.

  56. C. Clavin says:

    Jan…
    Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

  57. JKB says:

    jan,

    It is quite amazing how completely clueless some on here are over frugality. I wonder if it is just they won’t be frugal with other people’s money?

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government, but don’t dare go after giant talking birds on television funded in the face of hundreds of other channels. Especially advocating for cutting defense after just today Doug posted a report by Lara Logan on our enemies growing threat. And she, sadly, has intimate knowledge of the real Arab Spring.

  58. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Hell, this is nothing. Just wait until late-October, especially if Obama’s internal polling is very bad. Gulp.

    Then you also have to consider the demographics of Obama’s target audience. Obviously for all practical purposes they’ve already given up on people who are employed in the workforce. This is a pitch to the “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital” crowds. As silly and as downright frivolous as the ad is I’m not entirely sure it’s a bad tactic.

    On a separate but related topic, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I got to the final sentence of the main blog post, specifically: “…perhaps the men and women in Chicago aren’t as professional…” Yikes. Chicago politicos don’t have any shame. None. Nada. Zilch. The term “professional” as applied to Chicago politicos is oxymoronic, unless the phrasing is a euphemism for professional political assassins. Shit, if Team Obama thought they needed to dress in Indian headgear and have a peyote seance to win this election they’d do it in a heartbeat. Seriously.

  59. stonetools says:

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

    The idea that managing government finances is like managing a household budget is sheer nonsense and shame on the Republicans for promoting and the Democrats for acquiescing in this absurd idea.

    Government SHOULD be running a deficit in tough times in order to stabilize the economy and provide relief to the unemployed. That’s Depression Economics 101. Hoover was the one ho balanced the economy and “cut back on the cable bill” during the Great Depression, thus prolonging it and making it worse. The governments ran gigantic deficits during WW2-should it have done so?
    The only people worse than the morons who spout this nonsense (Republicans) are the morons who enable them.

  60. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: Geek, Esq can’t answer right now. He’s gone out to lunch with Jay Tea, Jenos Idanian #13 and Hoot Gibson.

    Amazing how many people Burger King can fit at a table for one.

  61. john personna says:

    The PBS thing is something that excites the base, and is recycled periodically for that reason. No one in the middle is going to care, especially if the $250M is scaled. Compare it to “Afghan war costs $300 million a day.” Especially that, actually, as Romney both doesn’t want to commit to withdrawal and wants expanded defense spending.

    In youth internet circles ridicule of Romney’s Big Bird attack were pretty common anyway. Perhaps the ad plays to that demographic.

    I think the real opportunity is for Obama to return to this when they do talk defense spending. Maybe it would be a good move for him to accelerate Afghan withdrawal and tie it to costs.

  62. David M says:

    @JKB:

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government, but don’t dare go after giant talking birds on television funded in the face of hundreds of other channels. Especially advocating for cutting defense after just today Doug posted a report by Lara Logan on our enemies growing threat. And she, sadly, has intimate knowledge of the real Arab Spring.

    There’s a little bit of a difference in magnitude between military spending and CPB spending. CPB spending isn’t worth discussing as far as the budget goes, similar to how deleting text files on a hard drive isn’t a useful way to free up space.

  63. G.A. says:

    But just because you see one video does not mean the campaign is all about that video. Look at the Obama campaign’s YouTube page. There are more than 600 videos there from this year. 600! Only two reference Big Bird. Put it in perspective.

    All ineffectual blatant lies and stupidities….

    Show me one that is not of blame, division,or deflection and aimed at the emotion of those who have been conditioned to hate certain groups and the truths that they are made up of……

  64. Just Me says:

    I don’t really care whether Big Bird and PBS are cut or not. The reality is the expense is very small compared to the vast majority of government expenditures, but it is still an expense my taxes pay for and may not be the best way to spend those dollars even if it is small.

    Obama should have moved on and he should pretend like the debate didn’t happen-avoid referencing it or trying to make it look like it was filled with Romney gaffes. Obama just looks weak or at least like he is reaching. Better move is to focus on his next debate and throw this one down the memory hole.

    What I actually notice in this ad is the long list of charged and convicted Wall Street/corporate thieves and how ironic it is that these men were all charged while Obama’s administration has opted to let Corzine walk.

    Obama wants to protect the corporate criminals that are democrats and campaign donors.

  65. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB and Jan…
    Explain to me, puhleeeease, how $5T in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and an explosion in defense spending is frugal?
    And how many spending cuts like big-bird is it going to take to even out those expenditures?

    The funny thing is that in an effort to win at team sports you people are willing to accept anything Romney says…and defend it to the hilt. If you have no principles you can be sold anything. And that is exactly what Romney is doing to you.

    You have been complaining about the crushing debt for years…Obama came n and flattened spending…the deficit has not changed sunstantially since he inherited it from Bush…Romney is promising to make Bushes deficit look tiny…and yet because it is a Republican you are A-OK with it.

    You are pathetic fools.

  66. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government,

    Please point out to me where in the Constitution it authorizes the Air Force….

  67. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government, but don’t dare go after giant talking birds on television funded in the face of hundreds of other channels.

    Priorities, dufus. We want to cut military spending and a lot of other spending too. Mitt Romney wants to cut Big Bird and…………..well, he just won’t tell us, will he? So we’re forced to focus on Big Bird because that’s the only cut the Republican candidate for president will name that he supports. Wasteful military spending? He wants to increase that dramatically. But the $8 million that Sesame Street gets every year will balance it all out, right?

  68. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government, but don’t dare go after giant talking birds on television funded in the face of hundreds of other channels

    Promoting the general welfareis also a function of government, bird brain. Its right there in the Constitution, along with providing for the general defense, and is is in no way secondary or illegitimate.
    We can debate whether or how PBS should be funded, but funding PBS is as legit a government function as funding the next pork barrel military project or overly expensive fighter jet.

  69. G.A. says:

    On a separate but related topic, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I got to the final sentence of the main blog post, specifically: “…perhaps the men and women in Chicago aren’t as professional…” Yikes. Chicago politicos don’t have any shame. None. Nada. Zilch. The term “professional” as applied to Chicago politicos is oxymoronic, unless the phrasing is a euphemism for professional political assassins. Shit, if Team Obama thought they needed to dress in Indian headgear and have a peyote seance to win this election they’d do it in a heartbeat. Seriously.

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. mantis says:

    @G.A.:

    Show me one that is not of blame, division,or deflection and aimed at the emotion of those who have been conditioned to hate certain groups and the truths that they are made up of……

    Here you go.

  71. G.A. says:

    Promoting the general welfare

    Does not mean promoting welfare.

  72. G.A. says:

    Here you go.

    Ruthless evil greenish blue bug eyed bastard!!!!!! That was so wrong:(-

  73. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Other “unconstitutional” government programs not “enumerated ” in the Constitution:

    The FBI, ICE, DEA, ATF, and just about every federal LE agency.
    The NSA, CIA, DIA,DNI, and just about every intelligence agency.
    The, FDA, EPA, CDC, the NSF
    and oh yeah, NASA and the USMC as a separate force.

    All unconstitutional , according to the logical implication of ” originalist’ and Tenth Amendment conservative legal theory , yet somehow they never call for these agencies to be de-funded.

  74. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Two things I “disliked” enough to vote:

    1) it is actually fiscally irresponsible to talk about $250M when you need trillions to balance the budget. It is not just a waste of time, it is completely misleading for the “low information” voter.

    2) Both parties protect their crony capitalists. For that to be a solid ding against Obama you’d have to show me how “Trust Busting Mitt” is taking them on.

  75. Geek, Esq. says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I was paraphrasing the argument the person presented.

    Lesson #1: It’s the salesman, not the product that counts in American politics. Mitt Romney is a good salesman. Obama is a lousy one.

  76. Moderate Mom says:

    @mantis: True. And all of this takes place in businesses located in individual Congressional districts. And Democratic congressmen fight just as hard as Republican congressmen to stop those cuts in their own back yards. NIMBY has a long bi-partisan track history when it comes to defense cuts.

  77. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    Please look into the differences in the definitions of “promote” and “provide”.

  78. john personna says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Vote for the better liar? Serious?

  79. G.A. says:

    Mantis, I had not looked at the top of the page, was putting on my socks and waiting for the advertisement to end. lol…

  80. rodney dill says:

    If Biden shows up for the Vice Presidential debate in a Big Bird costume, The Romney campaign is doomed.

  81. David M says:

    @jan:

    This is probably way too pragmatic for you, but people eliminate cable TV, going out to eat (includes a stop at Starbucks), movies/entertainment expenditures, vacations, discretionary spending on things they basically can do without in order to pay the mortgage, feed the kids, put outrageously expensive gas in the car to go to work (which may be a low-paying part time job or two because of our terrible economy).

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

    The government budget process is completely unrelated to a family budget, and the two should not be compared. Regardless of what you think the government should or should not be spending money on, it’s budget is not a household budget. This cannot be stressed enough.

  82. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    I did. The courts don’t see much difference.

  83. john personna says:

    @rodney dill:

    All he needs is a couple yellow feathers stuck in his hair.

  84. C. Clavin says:

    You know…Big-Bird is really just a symbol for Discretionary Spending. I would have liked Doug to write something intelligent along those lines. But I know better.
    Romney is promising to cut Discretionary spending by around 20%. I would like some of the voracious defenders of Mitt, including Doug, to explain to me the employment consequences of cutting Government spending by that much…by a fifth.
    A massive part of our current employment hole is the cutting of 600,000+ public sector jobs, and the failure to hire another 700,000 or so, for a total shortfall of around 1.3M public sector jobs. Add those jobs back into the mix and we are in the 6-something % range of UE. But what if instead you cut an additional 20% in Government funding…what does that do?
    Sure…cutting Big-Bird may seem frugal to low-information voters. But what are the real world effects of those cuts? There is a lot of complaining about the employment picture….by the very same people applauding the Big-Bird cuts. Not very smart, are they?

  85. jan says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Explain to me, puhleeeease, how $5T in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and an explosion in defense spending is frugal?
    And how many spending cuts like big-bird is it going to take to even out those expenditures?

    It’s not $5 trillion, and it’s skewed to the wealthy. The middle class, who have fewer deductions, will have their median tax rate lowered, as well as no capital gains taxes. The so-called ‘rich’ will have their median tax rate lowered too, but will be taking a big hit in sheltering their income by having deduction loopholes closed. You can default to your ‘whine’ about not having those deductions disclosed. But, even if they were, it would be more fodder for attack than helpful information. There is also talk of having a financial cap imposed as to a dollar amount one can take for any deduction.

    Big Bird has corporate sponsorship, and is a ‘Big Boy,’ in financially being able to take care of himself. And, as I previously posted, all these little giveaways add up to bigger savings when put together. Stop being such an idiot!

    The funny thing is that in an effort to win at team sports you people are willing to accept anything Romney says…and defend it to the hilt.

    You’re talking more about the behavior of Obama defenders than Romney ones. This whole Benghazi deal should have had you guys out there criticizing Obama for his total mishandling and lying of what happened over there. Instead you simply have shugged your shoulders and moved on to rail about Romney’s minor gaffes and misstatements. Talk about disingenerous shills for the current POTUS!

    Obama came n and flattened spending…the deficit has not changed sunstantially since he inherited it from Bush…

    The only flattening of spending has come because the House membership, in the last 2 years, has not agreed to everything obama wanted. If Pelosi had continued on as Speaker, there would not have been any flattening. Obama said he would cut the deficit in half. Instead he grew it 5-6 trillion dollars.

  86. anjin-san says:

    Lesson #1: It’s the salesman, not the product that counts in American politics. Mitt Romney is a good salesman. Obama is a lousy one.

    Yep. And one thing we know is that salespeople are often prepared to lie like a rug to close the deal.

  87. G.A. says:

    Biden shows up for the Vice Presidential debate in a Big Bird costume, The Romney campaign is doomed.

    So you want Animal to dress up as Big Bird….lol interesting…

  88. rodney dill says:

    @john personna: With only a couple of featuresfeathers he might be mistaken for Elizabeth Warren.

  89. Geek, Esq. says:

    @anjin-san:

    Some are, some aren’t.

    But honesty is not a distinguishing characteristic either way.

    Something that still has not penetrated the ivory tower where Sir Obama lives.

  90. Geek, Esq. says:

    @john personna:

    That’s what people do.

    To put it another way, they vote for the more convincing candidate. When your own supporters wonder if you want to win, you’re not very convincing.

  91. David M says:

    @jan:

    It’s not $5 trillion, and it’s skewed to the wealthy. The middle class, who have fewer deductions, will have their median tax rate lowered, as well as no capital gains taxes. The so-called ‘rich’ will have their median tax rate lowered too, but will be taking a big hit in sheltering their income by having deduction loopholes closed. You can default to your ‘whine’ about not having those deductions disclosed. But, even if they were, it would be more fodder for attack than helpful information. There is also talk of having a financial cap imposed as to a dollar amount one can take for any deduction.

    I don’t think you could possibly be more wrong here if you tried. The reason Romney’s tax plan doesn’t add up is the cut in the top rate for the wealthy is a larger amount than their deductions, so completely removing all their deductions still results in a tax break aimed at the wealthy. You are astonishingly uninformed, there is no other way to describe it.

  92. Andre Kenji says:

    @Just Me:

    I don’t really care whether Big Bird and PBS are cut or not. The reality is the expense is very small compared to the vast majority of government expenditures, but it is still an expense my taxes pay for and may not be the best way to spend those dollars even if it is small.

    I´m a big fan of the BBC, and I can say that the BBC(Specially the World Service) is money pretty well spent(Margaret Thatcher, that communist, pointed out to that). There are lots of people in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia that speaks English just because they listen to the BBC, and that translates in political and cultural influence and soft power. The Voice of America, what could be consided the US version of the BBC, is far less important than the BBC, but it´s still a force to be considered, and they broadcast many PBS shows.

    Public broadcasting is not waste of money. Besides that, talking about very small things in the budget is demagoguery. That makes people thinks that PBS is a larger share of the budget than it´s really is, and it also make people thinks that things tha they like(Medicare and Social Security) aren´r as expensive as they really are. The idea of the Ryan Budget that current seniors(AKA the whole Baby Boomer generation) would not be affected by Medicare cuts is ludicrous.

    Obama may be demagoguering with his attacks, but Romney is not anything better in this aspect.

  93. C. Clavin says:

    Jan…
    That is mathematically impossible. Even if you close all the loopholes and assume astronomical growth…it still doesn’t work.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/10/08-romney-tax-debate-gale

    Just because you want Romney to win…and he says it will work…doesn’t change math.

    Yes…the debt has grown $5T…which is the deficit Bush left with unpaid for tax cuts, unpaid for wars, and unpaid foir Medicare expansion…multiplied by 4 years. So what you are saying is we left a huge mess, and Obama didn’t clean it up fast enough…so let us back in so we can create an even bigger mess.

  94. jan says:

    @David M:

    I never said that deduction reduction would be equal to or greater than the tax breaks received by the upper brackets. I said “It’s not $5 trillion…” even Stephanie Cutler was reluctantly forced to admit that fact in a recent interview. Nevertheless, she immediately went right back to that ‘talking point,’ which is all it is, a democratic talking point meant to continue putting salt in the wounds of the class warfare theme, which Obama is almost exclusively running on — aided and abetted by his ‘war on women, race and age’ mud thrown into this contest.

    It’s all about divide and conquer in order to win at any cost.

    BTW, tax breaks for everyone, including those evil weathy people, will ultimately grow the economy, resulting in more revenue via this growth rather than simply relying on taxing one segment of society more than another. That is the philosophical math behind Romney, whereas, the philosophical math behind Obama is to punish people defined as ‘rich.’ As the economy goes more south, though, that definition will ‘evolve,’ like many of Obama’s lines in the sand and values have — moving that dollar amount considered ‘rich’ downward far below $200-250,000 range he originally notched as the dividing line.

  95. Andre Kenji says:

    @jan:

    This is probably way too pragmatic for you, but people eliminate cable TV, going out to eat (includes a stop at Starbucks), movies/entertainment expenditures, vacations, discretionary spending on things they basically can do without in order to pay the mortgage, feed the kids, put outrageously expensive gas in the car to go to work (which may be a low-paying part time job or two because of our terrible economy).

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

    Well, you must know that you don´t balance a personal or a family budget by taking small expenses. Take out Defense, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and servicing the debt and you have nothing in the Federal Budget. What Romney wants to do is to cut family expenses with chocolate while buying a Lexus or a Mercedes, keeping the most expensive cable package and traveling to the Europe in the vacations.

  96. David M says:

    @jan:

    BTW, tax breaks for weathy people, will ultimately grow the economy, resulting in more revenue via magic…That is the philosophical nonsense behind Romney

    Fixed it for you

  97. jan says:

    …in the meantime, since Obama’s win has become less inevitable, you are starting to see the pace pick up on cars being keyed having Romney bumper stickers on them, Romney signs defaced in VA, people like :Stacey Dash catching heat for Mitt Romney support. Where was there this kind destructive R anger when Obama was riding high in the polls?

  98. Andre Kenji says:

    By the way, to real conservatives the whole Republican line of attacking PBS while complaining that Obama is “stealing” 700 million from the Medicare(And let´s not forget the Death Panels) is much damaging than anything that Obama has ever said. Or even done, including all these trillion dollars deficits.

  99. C. Clavin says:

    JAN

    “…BTW, tax breaks for everyone, including those evil weathy people, will ultimately grow the economy, resulting in more revenue via this growth rather than simply relying on taxing one segment of society more than another….”

    You cannot really believe this. No one is that flippin’ stupid.
    We have had historically low tax rates for a over decade and the growth has been anemic. Romney’s own tax rates put the lie to high tax rates. We are a low tax country. Tell me when all this magical growth is going to start…Please. Please. Please. Please.

  100. David M says:

    As far as the $5 trillion tax cut goes, Romney has specifically proposed lowering tax rates by 20% which will cost $5 trillion over the next 10 years, while not identifying a single deduction he will eliminate, so it’s completely fair to describe it as costing $5 trillion dollars. If Romney wants to specify how he will make up the lost revenue, that’s when it’s no longer a $5 trillion tax cut.

  101. jan says:

    @David M:

    When all else fails, I guess you just have to resort to arrested development remarks.

    @Andre Kenji:

    When your mind has no more space left in it for anything else but ‘blaming it on Bush or the intangible rich’ then you make silly comments about relating to your opponent’s tax plan as “cut family expenses with chocolate while buying a Lexus or a Mercedes, keeping the most expensive cable package and traveling to the Europe in the vacations. “

    BTW, have you ever read “The Millionaire next Door.” A majority of millionaires don’t live as high on the hog as you label them. It’s often the ‘want-to-be-rich’ yuppies and libs who love those laps of luxury items and trips to Europe, not self-made people who tend to respect the value of money more, and spend with more circumspection and less foolishly/flamboyantly.

    Romney and Ryan, if you recall, were the ones who brought up the 3rd rails of politics dealing with entitlement reform, as well as tax reform — something Obama has only ‘mouthed’ but done nothing about in real actions. The same goes with Obama’s recent show of toughness towards China, following Romney’s lead again — I guess it is all part of his ‘leading from behind’ philosophy.

    Regarding cutting military expenditures, Romney has said he would go through their budget and cut ‘wasteful’ costs, while keeping the strength of the military viable and intact. Even Sec. of Defense Penetta has given dire warnings about cutting back the defense too much, endangering the security of this country. If Obama was aware of keeping this balance, why did he not take on his obligation of addressing the sequestration deadlines, instead of letting them expire, and now jeopardizing massive layoffs in the defense industry — lay-offs he is now trying to sweep under the carpet until after the election (dealing with legal 60 day notices that should be going out). If this plays out, and military personnel sue their military employers, the Obama administration has promised these employers that the government would pay their legal expenses and financial settlements — through tax payer monies, of course. Yes, lots of transparency from Obama’s type of governance.

  102. C. Clavin says:

    “…I said “It’s not $5 trillion…” even Stephanie Cutler was reluctantly forced to admit that fact in a recent interview…”

    Provide a link.

  103. C. Clavin says:

    Jan…tell me when the magical growth is going to start…how low do rates have to get?
    C’mon. Stand by what you said.

  104. slimslowslider says:
  105. David M says:

    @jan:

    Romney and Ryan, if you recall, were the ones who brought up the 3rd rails of politics dealing with entitlement reform, as well as tax reform — something Obama has only ‘mouthed’ but done nothing about in real actions.

    Extending the Medicare financial viability by nearly a decade is not nothing. Romney and Ryan have not proposed anything that will address health care costs (entitlements), and have promised to make the problem worse. It’s been pointed out many times how untrue your quoted statement is, but yet you keep repeating it. Why?

  106. Andre Kenji says:

    @jan:

    When your mind has no more space left in it for anything else but ‘blaming it on Bush or the intangible rich’ then you make silly comments about relating to your opponent’s tax plan as “cut family expenses with chocolate while buying a Lexus or a Mercedes, keeping the most expensive cable package and traveling to the Europe in the vacations. “

    I´m not talking about the rich. I´m pointing out that Romney wants to cut a ridiculous small expense while leaving the really big expenses untouched. That´s not how you cut expenses. Yöu don´t balance a family budget doing that. The whole talk about waste and abuse is political cowardice, and Obama said the same thing in 2008.

    Romney and Ryan, if you recall, were the ones who brought up the 3rd rails of politics dealing with entitlement reform, as well as tax reform

    Nope. Ryan´s Budget does not talk about cutting a dollar of the Medicare from the Baby Boomer generation, That´s political cowardice. And Romney never talks about things like the mortgage interest deduction when he talks about Tax Reform. He does not says that the 1986 Tax Reform increased, not cut, taxes.

  107. steve says:

    “It’s not $5 trillion, and it’s skewed to the wealthy. The middle class, who have fewer deductions, will have their median tax rate lowered, as well as no capital gains taxes. The so-called ‘rich’ will have their median tax rate lowered too, but will be taking a big hit in sheltering their income by having deduction loopholes closed.”

    Romney refuses to specify any tax expenditures he will eliminate. He is very specific about tax cuts. He will not specify spending cuts (other than Big Bird and Medicaid). Your faith in the guy is touching, but to me this just reads like every other GOP president since 1980. Tax cuts, but no real effort on the spending side and/or reducing tax expenditures. If he is going to try to cut them, I would like to know which ones. The mortgage deduction, charity, health care or the EITC? What we are left with is a guy who has concrete proposals for $5 trillion in tax cuts, and vague promises about everything else.

    Steve

  108. bains says:

    Doug: Up until now, Obama for America was running a polished, nearly error-free, campaign.

    Only if you rely upon the MSM for your views. Out here in the sticks – fly-over country for Michelle and Barack et. al. – that well oiled and nearly error free campaign cratered months ago.

  109. Stupid liberals says:

    Stupid liberals making bitter attacks at Mitt Romney’s stated plans just because they got crushed in the first debate.

  110. Rafer Janders says:

    @jan:

    It’s often the ‘want-to-be-rich’ yuppies and libs who love those laps of luxury items and trips to Europe, not self-made people who tend to respect the value of money more, and spend with more circumspection and less foolishly/flamboyantly.

    Two words: car elevator.

    (Also love the idea that a “trip to Europe” (!) is seen as the height of decadent luxury). My God, Mabel, can you imagine, all the way to Europe! And back, too!

  111. john personna says:

    @Stupid liberals:

    Who is stupid? Lots of links to Romney saying he won’t give details.

    Show me a link to a detailed budget plan.

  112. bk says:

    @jan:

    in the meantime, since Obama’s win has become less inevitable, you are starting to see the pace pick up on cars being keyed having Romney bumper stickers on them,

    While, of course, there have been no defacement of Obama materials in the past four years. Seriously, where do you come up with this crap?

  113. Tony W says:

    @stonetools: Thanks for the link – I watched the YouTube video – it’s the only way those of us in California can see political ads without traveling to a swing state. But that’s one of Doug’s other pieces today 🙂

  114. An Interested Party says:

    If common ordinary folks can do this, so can the government, IMO.

    Perfect! One way the government can do that is by getting rid of your home mortgage interest deduction…after all, balancing the budget is far more important than you…

    More interesting is the love of cutting defense spending, which is a function of government, but don’t dare go after giant talking birds on television funded in the face of hundreds of other channels.

    The point, of course, is that Romney’s only declared cut to the federal budget is going after that giant talking bird, this along with his massive tax cuts and increased defense spending is not even on the same planet as the balanced budget he claims to want…I realize that context is something that you are completely unfamiliar with, but really…

    Meanwhile, it’s fascinating that many of the same folks who need the smelling salts and fainting couches because of this ad didn’t seem concerned in the least when Romney lied his ass off in the debate…priorities, priorities…

  115. steve says:

    “Romney and Ryan, if you recall, were the ones who brought up the 3rd rails of politics dealing with entitlement reform, as well as tax reform — something Obama has only ‘mouthed’ but done nothing about in real actions.”

    Wow, just wow. Did we forget the 2010 election already? How the old people voted for Obama after the GOP campaigned on Obama cutting Medicare? Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare, even Romney says so. He put this plan out well ahead of Ryan and Romney. He actually passed the bill. Please name on real action taken by Romney/Ryan to cut entitlements.

    Steve

  116. jan says:

    @bk:

    I would like to see a link to defacement of Obama materials. Do you have one.? Or, is it crap that you are posting?

  117. jan says:

    @steve:

    The mortgage deduction, charity, health care or the EITC? What we are left with is a guy who has concrete proposals for $5 trillion in tax cuts, and vague promises about everything else.

    This is a repeating charge of everyone — to detail what deductions Romney would target. And, if he doesn’t than he shouldn’t be believed. So, let’s say Romney names all the ones in your comment, that he wants to eliminate those specific deductions. What would happen? The dems would then spin those ‘possibilites,’ weaving a worse-case-scenario’ into the campaign conversation, negatively speculating in ways that the Romney people would be on the defensive until November 6. Romney has nothing to gain, and everything to lose in that kind of situation where he lays all his cards on the table for the dems to then tear apart. Also, a big component of Romney’s plan involves economic and job growth, rather than just taxation, to increase revenue sources. And, it will be more the ability to make the economical picture more viable, than simply taking more money away from people through taxation, that will bring in greater, long term revenues.

    BTW, what is Obama’s tax plan, other than raising taxes on the rich? Why aren’t you curious about any new ways and means Obama has to turn this economy around? Or, is your attention only focused on Romney, because you think Obama is doing such a great job, and want more of the same.

  118. jan says:

    @steve:

    Please name on real action taken by Romney/Ryan to cut entitlements.

    Romney is not president, and Ryan is only one member of the House. How could they have taken any action? Their entitlement reform ‘ideas’, which Ryan has been talking about for some time, deals with changing medical care options for people under 55. Means testing has also been bantered around. But, again these two men haven’t been in the seat of power like Obama was in, fully, for the first two years of his presidency, and then he had the presidency and a democratic Senate for the last two years. How many times was entitlement reform brought up in all that time? Also, the monies extracted from medicare had nothing to do with entitlement reform. It was a way of making his ACA proposal be fiscally crafted so as to pass the CBO’s assessment of it.

    What I find ironic about Obama people is that they are treating the challengers like they were the incumbents, pressing for details like there was some ‘record’ of inforcement behind them. And, conversely, Obama is being treated like a mere contender, coming anew to the office with no record to defend or explain what he wants to do to merit a second term. That’s not usually how it is done. After all, when Obama came into office, the big reason to vote for him was because of ‘hope and change.’ What policy was there in that vagary?

  119. wr says:

    @jan: ” So, let’s say Romney names all the ones in your comment, that he wants to eliminate those specific deductions. What would happen? The dems would then spin those ‘possibilites,’ weaving a worse-case-scenario’ into the campaign conversation, negatively speculating in ways that the Romney people would be on the defensive until November 6.”

    If Romney wants to do something that many, many Americans would hate, don’t they have a right to know before they vote for president? Are we children who should vote for a daddy who will do what he believes is Right, whether or not we want it?

    The Democrats can only campaign against Romney’s specific plans if what he wants to do is not what the majority of voters wants. And yet you think this is a good reason for him to hide his plans?

    Do you even believe in democracy? Or do you just want a dictator, as long as he’s got an R after his name?

  120. Andre Kenji says:

    @jan:

    This is a repeating charge of everyone — to detail what deductions Romney would target. And, if he doesn’t than he shouldn’t be believed. So, let’s say Romney names all the ones in your comment, that he wants to eliminate those specific deductions. What would happen? The dems would then spin those ‘possibilites,’ weaving a worse-case-scenario’ into the campaign conversation, negatively speculating in ways that the Romney people would be on the defensive until November 6.

    Naninana. The problem began when Romney presented a Tax Plan that basically pandered to the Grover Norquist crowd, offering huge cuts at tax rates. When people began to say that the plan would explode the deficit he began to sayy that he would cut deductions. The problem is that most deductions are politically very popular and that all these deductions would not cover the tax cuts. In fact, i think that the deficit should be curbed to something like 3 or 5% of the GDP.

    I really don´t like the mortgage interest deduction, I think that´s the most bizarre thing that I know. But I also know that it´s very difficult for anyone to kill it. Worse, when Romney and Ryan talks about cutting these deductions only to high incoming people they are talking about creating a even more complicated tax code. That´s not conservative.

    Yes, Obama has been horrible from the fiscal perspective. But Romney is trying to be even worse than him.

    Also, a big component of Romney’s plan involves economic and job growth, rather than just taxation

    That´s pretty unrealistic, considering that for most businesses taxes aren´t the problem and that the United States has an aging and expensive workforce.

  121. David M says:

    @jan:

    the monies extracted from medicare had nothing to do with entitlement reform

    That’s Jan in a nutshell, Obama did it, therefore it is bad. Specifics don’t matter.

    So, let’s say Romney names all the ones in your comment, that he wants to eliminate those specific deductions. What would happen? The dems would then spin those ‘possibilites,’ weaving a worse-case-scenario’ into the campaign conversation

    God forbid voters actually heard what a candidate would like to do before they vote. Anyone who takes that seriously needs help.

  122. jan says:

    @David M:

    God forbid voters actually heard what a candidate would like to do before they vote. Anyone who takes that seriously needs help.

    Hey, that’s the new politics, as created by Nancy Pelosi —> “You have to pass the bill before your see what’s in it!” It worked for her, and there were few objections noted in the liberal crowd when that happened. Did you object? Do you need help?

  123. David M says:

    @jan:
    The bill was publicly debated for nearly a year, it wasn’t remotely a surprise unless you weren’t paying attention.

  124. anjin-san says:

    I would like to see a link to defacement of Obama materials.

    This is coming from the girl who has made a mantra of “I am not playing the link game”?

  125. Fiona says:

    Here Jan, since you seem to think this kind of nastiness is only, ever aimed at your guy:

    http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Clermont-couple-writes-message-to-Obama-sign-vandals/-/1637132/16874530/-/ah1vgjz/-/index.html

    http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2012/10/9/racial_slur_spray_pa.html

    And then there’s this charming behavior:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/20/13989510-empty-chair-lynchings-anti-obama-protests-gone-too-far?lite

    Stuff like this happens during every election cycle, but it’s really pretty rare. Most people are tolerant and respectful of other’s free speech rights. I live in a swing state. Lots and lots of political yard signs around here, probably a few more for Obama. None have been defaced. Amazing isn’t it?

  126. john personna says:

    @jan:

    The thing that has become crystal clear to me is that Republicans are falling back into the GW Bush pattern. They accept impossible fiscal promises, because they come from their candidate. Those plans will fail, because they are impossible, creating an ever greater deficit and debt.

    To show you aren’t fooling yourselves this way, in the old Bush pattern, you need numbers and math.

  127. Rob in CT says:

    Having not watch the debate, nor the ad, all I have is a quick gut reaction: this sort of thing is best left to surrogates. It’s good for blogger/commentor snark, but not much else.

    The ads need to be about the many faces of Mitt.

  128. slimslowslider says:

    @jan:

    I posted a link yesterday!

  129. Rob in CT says:

    How many times was entitlement reform brought up in all that time? Also, the monies extracted from medicare had nothing to do with entitlement reform

    LOL.

  130. Eric Florack says:

    @mantis: Why wouldn’t I cut the military?
    Well, gee… I dunno… maybe because we’re involved in a war that’s been declared on US?

    And, yes, it IS true. Tell me, what program was EVER cut by Democrats, hmmm?

    I’ll wait.

  131. Eric Florack says:

    There’s something further that this ad reveals about Obama and company…

    “Bernie Madoff. Ken Lay. Dennis Kozlowski: Criminals. Gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them?” a voiceover says as a silhouette of Big Bird moves on screen.

    “Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street.”

    OK, so we see that from Obama’s point of view, Wall Street types are greedy criminals, in the view of Obama and Company. Rather like what Marx preached, if I’m not much mistaken. The point about Marx aside for the moment, I’ll ask again what I’ve been asking for the last three years… When you make enemies of successful people, enemies of anyone motivated by profit, why on earth is anyone surprised when companies leave the country, taking jobs with them, and when as a result, the beconomy takes a dive?

    Clearly the lesson of the last three years has been lost on Obama… he’s still of the misbegotten idea that the problem is Capitalism, and the solution is government. You’d think the evidence to the contrary would be overwhelming.

    Then again, this is the same guy who told us a movie was responsible for Benghazi a week after it was obvious to everyone else what the story was…

  132. Andre Kenji says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Rather like what Marx preached, if I’m not much mistaken.

    ]
    Marx did not “preach” anything. He attacked the bourgeoise because he thought that they used the means of production to oppress the proletariat, not because they were rich. The whole Das Kapital is dedicated to proving that evertything of value that industries and business produced was due to the work of labour, not because of it´s owners. He establishes a coherent poltical philosophy in the Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848(But not in Das Kapital), but it´s not preaching.

    Besides that, Wall Street is much more complicated because they don´t own any means of production.

  133. David M says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Tell me, what program was EVER cut by Democrats, hmmm?

    Are you actually unaware of any spending cut ever by the Democrats? Really?

  134. mantis says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Well, gee… I dunno… maybe because we’re involved in a war that’s been declared on US?

    Ignoring your assertion that some country has declared war on us, how does spending billions on weapons that are of no use in the types of wars we fight these days make sense?

    You need to address my points about wasteful military spending if you are going to respond and be taken seriously, moron.