Obama vs. Ryan and Romney

Two really nice posts today by Ezra on the Paul Ryan budget.  I still think this race will predominately be decided by the state of the economy, but I think Republicans are really setting themselves up for an argument they just cannot win in a general election with the Ryan budget.  I really like this frame Obama has taken (via Ezra):

Here’s a riff from Obama’s budget speech today that I predict you’re going to hear quite often over the next year:

Meanwhile, these proposed tax breaks would come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year. That’s an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country — $150,000. Let’s just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for:

A year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen. Plus a new school computer lab. Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran. Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease. Plus a year’s salary for a firefighter or police officer. Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable. Plus a year’s worth of financial aid. One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined — investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us. For $150,000, that would be going to each millionaire and billionaire in this country. This budget says we’d be better off as a country if that’s how we spend it.

This will, I think, prove one of the crucial arguments of the election. If Obama can convince the electorate that taxes go to fund services they actually care about, and the Republicans are unwisely committed to gutting those services in order to cut taxes on the richest Americans, then he’s likely to win. If Mitt Romney is able to persuade them that taxes are mostly wasted, and that spending should be gutted to pay for large tax cuts, then he’s likely to win.

It’s all about the frame and if Obama successfully frames the issue this way, he wins.  The American people are quite ready to raise taxes on rich people.  Presumably especially so if you can show them the concrete benefit from so doing.   And another Ezra post:

By lashing Romney to Ryan’s budget, Obama intends to lash him to the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Where Romney has purposefully refrained from filling in the details on his agenda, the Obama campaign intends to use Ryan’s blueprint to fill them in on Romney’s behalf.

This can only work because Romney can’t actually walk away from Ryan’s budget: He’s already called it “an excellent piece of work” and campaigned alongside Ryan. Worse, Romney knows full well that conservatives would shriek if he began publicly distancing himself from the policy framework that the Republican Party has coalesced around.

And just because this is a horse that deserves beating well beyond death, let’s also take a reminder of just what this budget is about:

Ezra’s post that goes along with this chart also shows just how intellectually bankrupt and incoherent Ryan’s budget is (the immorality is obvious).

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It’s over already

Of course, it’s been over, but we’re seeing the kind of things in the exit polls that really show that Romney is consolidating support.  From the Wisconsin exit polls:

That’s Romney winning handily among tea party supporters and even among the “very conservative” who have been Santorum’s base.  The upcoming primaries look good for Romney, but even if they were not the most hospitable ground, it appears that Santorum’s quest is becoming ever more quixotic.  Heck, he was even behind Ron Paul when I checked Intrade yesterday.  If things had gone just right in Michigan and Santorum had not said so many stupid things, that might have been a turning point where he would’ve been able to pull this off.  That time is past.  And, of course, Santorum staying stupid things is entirely what we should expect from Santorum.

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