Scott Walker dialed up his criticism of Mitt Romney's campaign.
"I think there’s a lot of caution. I think the mistake that they’ve made is the feeling like it can just be a referendum on the president,” said Walker, a Republican, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s certainly a part of it for any incumbent, it’s got to be a referendum on, do you like or dislike, not just the president, but his policies… but there’s got to be something more. People don’t just vote somebody out, they’ve got to vote somebody in.”
It has been the sense of many observers including many GOP observers that this is Romney's strategy-to just say I'm not President Obama and the economy's bad. The Wall Street Journal gave a very pointed critique of this Romney strategy three weeks ago. Since then there have bee a few mild editorials for Romney but not much.
The WSJ doesn't necessarily care much these days about carrying Romney's water judging by the editorial page. Kristol is also knocking Romney again. Two weeks ago he pointed out that the President is holding his own despite the bad economy.
Then he said Romney must be crazy not to release his tax returns "tomorrow"-this was a week and a half ago. Now he's calling Romney on some strange anecdote about Reagan he's been peddling:
"Mr. Romney made that clear [that he's most focused on the economy] at a July fundraiser in Montana as he rehashed the challenges Mr. Reagan faced when he took office. He recounted how [James] Baker, a former secretary of state, held a national security meeting about Latin America during the first 100 days of Mr. Reagan’s presidency. “And after the meeting, President Reagan called me in and said, ‘I want no more national-security meetings over the next 100 days—all of our time has to be focused on getting our economy going,’” Mr. Romney recalled Mr. Baker saying.
"For one thing, as Marc Thiessen points out, the fact that Romney's recounting this anecdote doesn't reflect well on Romney's understanding of the job he's campaigning for:
"Given the challenges a Romney administration will face – from a spiraling Syria to key decisions on the way forward in Afghanistan to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and the threats from al Qaeda in Yemen and East Africa – it is unlikely Romney will have the luxury of ignoring foreign policy for his first 100 days....But the fact that Romney thinks it would be desirable to ignore the world for his first 100 days is troubling. Yes, the American people are focused on the economy – and understandably so. But Romney isn’t running for treasury secretary – he is running for Commander in Chief. And those responsibilities begin on Day 1 of his presidency."
"What's more, I can't believe the story is true. Or if Reagan did once say what Baker says he said, it was an expression of exasperation after one (presumably unsatisfactory) meeting that neither Reagan nor Baker followed through on. In fact, I'll buy Jim Baker a very good dinner next time he's in Washington if he or anyone else can find a 100-day stretch (or a ten-day stretch) of the Reagan presidency in which President Reagan was involved in no national security meetings. I encourage interested readers to research this eminently researchable topic, and e-mail us what you find at email@example.com. I was able to spend just a few minutes scrolling thought the Reagan Foundation's helpful account of President Reagan's daily schedule, and I see no week, let alone three months, in which President Reagan doesn't seem to have held some sort of national security and foreign policy meetings. To say nothing of the fact that he ran for the presidency highlighting national security issues, and was a historic president in large part because of his national security accomplishments."
No doubt Romney offered up this strange bon motif in an attempt to deflect from the criticism that he has no experience on foreign policy while the President has major accomplishments in his first term. However, say what you will about Ronald Reagan-I was never a fan-few can accuse him of being unconcerned with foreign policy matters, to say the least.
For a bonus, it's interesting to see Tom Coburn continue to spar with Grover Norquist. Since last year, Coburn and Norquist have been at odds over the GOP Senator's support for the Simpson-Bowles budget plan.
Then Sen. Coburn wrote an ope-ed in the New York Times-of all places-entitled "Grover Norquist's Phantom Army."
"Consider the evidence: I recently proposed amendments to end tax earmarks for movie producers and the ethanol industry. Mr. Norquist charged that those measures would be tax hikes unless paired with dollar-for-dollar rate reductions. And yet all but six of the 41 Senate Republicans who had signed his pledge voted for my amendments."
"Those 35 Republican pledge-violators are hardly soft on taxes. Rather, they understand that the tax code is riddled with special-interest provisions that are merely spending by another name. If asked to eliminate earmarks for things like Nascar, the tackle-box industry
"As a result, rather than forcing Republicans to bow to him, Mr. Norquist is the one who is increasingly isolated politically. For instance, while his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, was calling my ethanol amendment a tax hike, the Club for Growth, which is far more influential among conservative lawmakers, endorsed my amendment outright."
Again, in the NY Times as well-that's got to hurt. Even worse, it now emerges that Coburn actually donated $250 to the Democrat Joe Machin's re-electin campaign!
"One post highlighted Coburn’s and Manchin’s shared support of the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan. Another cited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) estimate that Bowles-Simpson would raise taxes by $2 trillion over 10 years."
“Coburn says he gave money to Manchin (D) because Manchin supports Simpson-Bowles, a $1 - 3 TRILLION tax hike,” Kartch wrote in another tweet.
"Coburn told The Hill he gave $250 to Manchin’s campaign on June 27 because his colleague shares his concerns for the long-term interests of the nation.
“I think he votes thinking about the long-term interests of the country. We don’t agree on everything but he’s a good guy,” Coburn said.
To ad to the idea of Norquists's "phantom army" George Herbert Walker Bush recently asked of Norquist "who the hell is he."
On balance I'm still no real fan of Simpson -Bowles though of course it raises revenue of $1 to $3 trillion that's the point. Ultimately, Coburn comes from the wrong perspective-he believes there's a coming "debt bo" which is pure science fiction. Still at least it actually raises revenue rather than the Ryan plan which cuts revenue while cutting spending and therefore actually increasing the deficit.
It's fun to see him with some egg on his face. And I'll certainly never complain about any Republican who wants to contribute to a Democrat. You go, Tom Coburn.