Over the weekend, the editorial board at the Spokesman Review endorsed Mitt Romney for president. I was busy with cyclocross racing and taking photos of races so I put this on the back burner until today. I really tried to give the board the benefit of the doubt but it looks like they based their decision solely on Romney ads and skipped doing their homework.
is up to telling important truths about the economy and the budget. That’s
tragic, because all of the other issues won’t matter if we can’t right
the fiscal ship."
What are the important truths that both
sides fail to tell? The editors aren't telling us yet.
Barack Obama’s slogan is “Forward,” but he hasn’t put forward a detailed
plan for the next four years. Staying the course won’t cut it. He inherited
a $1 trillion deficit, and the Great Recession. But as the nation’s chief
executive, it’s been his job to chart a course toward a balanced budget.
He hasn’t, and his dithering has discouraged businesses flush with cash
but unwilling to invest until they know what changes he has in store in
a second term."
Since when is it only the president's job to balance the
budget? It's as if the board is totally unaware of the toxic partisanship
that has paralyzed our Congress. Nearly all Republican members of Congress,
including our own Cathy McMorris Rodgers, have signed a pledge to never raise taxes. Ever. There is no bargaining room, no area of discussion,
and no possible compromise when the firmly entrenched refuse to budge.
The unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with the Bush tax cuts
were the greatest contributors to the deficit. Top that off with the recession and the board expects the president
to balance the budget some time soon?
I particularly enjoy the irony of
complaining that Obama hasn't put forward a detailed plan and yet they endorse Romney who says he has a plan but we have to wait until he's elected to
see it. In the meantime, he claims he will do something nobody has ever
done even in the best of times--create 12 million jobs in four years.
Plus, he says six "studies" consisting of online articles, an
op-ed, and blog entries lacking any formal quantitative research support
his tax plan, which raises taxes on people who make less than $250,000
even though he says it doesn't.
"He seemed on the right path when he assembled the
Simpson-Bowles Commission, which was a bipartisan effort to devise long-term
budget solutions. The panel produced a well-thought-out analysis and action
plan. Obama walked away. He didn’t use the bully pulpit to sell the plan,
which made it easy for Congress to ignore it. That’s a significant failure
The original idea for the fiscal commission that became
Simpson-Bowles came from bipartisan legislation that would have required
Congress to vote on the commission's recommendations without amending them.
That legislation did not pass the Senate when six Republican members who
co-sponsored the legislation voted against it. Obama then used an executive
order to create the commission. In the end the commission's final vote was
11-7 in favor of adopting the recommendations but it needed 14 votes to
formally endorse them. One of the members voting against the plan was Paul
Ryan, ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee who became
chairman a month later when Republicans took control of the House. The
recommendations included tax increases which--as the editorial board neglects to mention--Republican lawmakers have pledged never to do. Using the bully
pulpit to sell the plan would have been as futile as a leaf blower in a wind storm.
"His time for solving this crisis – and it is a
crisis – has come and gone. He has little leverage with Congress. He hasn’t
changed the tone in Washington, and we cannot endure four more years of
gridlock. This standoff is not entirely his fault, but he hasn’t figured
out how to end it."
This is almost as comical as it is sad. The editorial board conveniently
forgets the benefits reaped from the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act, the Dodd-Frank bill, the Affordable Care Act, ending the Iraq war,
31 months of private sector job growth, an all time high of domestic oil
production, and more. As contentious and obstinate as many members of Congress
are, Obama was fortunate to get this much done. As for changing the tone
in Washington, he leads by example. You have yet to hear him tar anyone's
patriotism, family lineage, or political leanings with innuendo or falsehoods.
He is not the cause of gridlock, but he bears its burden. It's the voters
who can end the gridlock. What a shame the Spokesman Review not only fails
to educate voters, but highlights the fallacy that the problem is Obama
failing to fix the problem.
"We believe Mitt Romney could bring a fresh approach
unburdened by recriminations. He has extensive management and leadership
experience, and worked with the opposite party as Massachusetts governor.
The nation needs that Romney, not the one who pandered to the tea
party wing of the Republican Party to secure the nomination. If elected,
he needs to take on that faction with the same resolve he’s shown challenging Obama."
Recrimination - An accusation in response to one from
Mitt Romney, who has a well-documented history of changing
positions on issues depending on who he's talking to, is unburdened by
recriminations? His work with the opposite party while governor of Massachusetts
involved scores of vetoes and 844 line item budget vetoes, most of which
were overridden by the legislature. What's really amazing is that the editors think
they can choose which Romney should be president, as if the pandering Romney
will suddenly discover he's an egalitarian at heart. Why does Romney need
to take on the Tea Party? What problems do they cause? Is Obama not resolute
enough in taking on that faction?
"By the same token, he’ll need to renounce his anti-tax
pledge, and in so doing perhaps embolden others to do the same. Those pledges
are killing deals before they can even be discussed."
Wait, wait, wait. Has the editorial board forgotten who signed a pledge to never raise taxes? And yet they endorse our own CongresswomanCathy McMorris Rodgers who plays a key role in the deal-killing position they're complaining about.
"In Massachusetts, Romney was able to work with Democrats
to achieve important successes, including health care reform. Despite his
threat to repeal Obamacare on Day One, we trust he won’t do so without
coming up with an effective alternative that targets cost containment.
We will learn more about his foreign policy and defense
positions in Monday’s debate. So far, he has been too ready to rattle
his saber, and too willing to open the Treasury to the defense industry."
The editorial board doesn't believe Romney will do what
he says he'll do. What better argument for endorsing him than
"The truth that neither candidate will tell is that
we need a combination of large spending cuts and some tax increases, and
not just the kind that punish the wealthy. Businesses do need a break on
taxes to be competitive globally. The nation needs to tax carbon to lower
greenhouse emissions and expand green industries. Direct capitalization,
as evidenced by Solyndra, is the wrong approach."
The editorial board now releases the truth left untold
by either candidate. We need to spend less and raise taxes (some?). The
two wars and the Bush tax cuts were the largest contributors to the deficit.
Defense spending is ridiculously high and our country's revenue is anemic.
Any talk about reducing defense spending is quickly renounced by the hawks
as a spineless act that threatens to weaken America. Raising taxes is anathema
to Republicans who paint all tax increases as unnecessary. Raising taxes
on just the weathy is punishment? Portraying it like that makes me wonder
if the editorial board thinks that Washington state citizens, enduring
the most regressive tax system of any state in the union, will avoid becoming
wealthy so they won't be punished by taxes. The editorial board sees a need to tax carbon emissions and
expand green industries and yet completely ignores the extremely powerful
and vocal climate science deniers in Congress. The board is apparently
too lazy to dig into the facts behind the Solyndra case. Only two of the
33 companies that received funding went bankrupt. There is no evidence
of any wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration. But if you repeat
a lie often enough, even the Spokesman Review editorial board will believe
"We need immigration reform."
An ambiguous afterthought that appears to be there to
reach the necessary word count. I feel I should answer the board using
their own words. "That’s tragic, because all of the other issues
won’t matter if we can’t right the fiscal ship."
Obama has failed to make sufficient progress on most of those issues. We
think voters should give Mitt Romney a chance."
There's an old saying that you don't buy a pig in a poke
without seeing it first. If the Review editorial board bothered to look inside,
they would let the cat out of the bag. And their recommendation that we give Romney a chance will leave voters holding the bag.