Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Democrats and Progressives need to accept the likelihood that their nominee will be facing Trump in November. And they need to seriously consider what that actually means. [Edited. Cringe-inducing cut-and-paste typo corrected**.]

— Clinton [at a CNN-sponsored town hall last night in South Carolina] promised to go hard after Wall Street. The former Secretary of State faced criticism in a different department: her failure to release transcripts of paid speeches given to Goldman Sachs. “Sure, I’ll do it if everybody else does,” the former Secretary demurred, circling back to a familiar refrain after being pressed by moderator Chris Cuomo. “But this is about whether I have the best plan to go after Wall Street,” she said. “Why is there one standard for me and not for everybody else?” [All boldface in original.]

— James Hohmann, the Washington Post’s PowerPost blog, today

Okay, you probably have figured out the answer to Clinton’s question all by yourselves: She, unlike, say, Marco Rubio, who wants Dodd-Frank repealed and replaced with no financial-industry regulation at all, and who wants also to eliminate the capital gains tax—completely eliminate it—is a Democrat who has proposed a detailed plan to regulate some aspects of the financial services industry but believes that nothing beyond the provisions in Dodd-Frank is necessary regarding actual banks.

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Sooo …. which of Obama’s economic policies do you want to repeal or defeat, Repubs?? And replace those policies with whose–I mean, what–economic policies, exactly? Do tell!

Barack Obama wanted to galvanize Democrats when he insisted this week that his economic policies are on the ballot in November. Instead, the soundbite has already become the centerpiece of new Republican attack ads.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell uses the clip in a new commercial, shared first with POLITICO. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts turned his own ad earlier Friday morning. And New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown is using the clip in a web video against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

“Alison Grimes says this election is not about her support for Barack Obama and his failed policies,” a narrator says over footage of a Grimes commercial that showed her shooting a gun. “But Obama himself says a vote for Alison is a vote for his policies.”

Obama’s comments Thursday came in front of a supportive crowd in Illinois during a speech billed as an attempt to refocus the national discourse on his economic agenda.

“I am not on the ballot this fall … But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot — every single one of them,” he said.

GOP ads pounce on Obama’s economy comments, James Hohmann and Kyle Cheney, Politico, today

The article goes on to say that Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and New Hampshire Repub. Senate nominee Scott Brown will run similar ads in their respective states.

To which I say: Please do.  It is, after all, Obama himself, not Obama’s actual economic policies—which most people have no clue about—that creates the problem for the Democrats.  Much less is the problem for the Dems the Senate Democrats’ proposed economic policies— which most people have no clue about.  The economic policies that the Senate Republicans are blocking.

Obama prefaced those comments with some actual specifics about the results thus far of one set of his policies, Obamacare. Justic Sink of The Hill reported yesterday (H/T Paul Waldman):

“There’s a reason fewer [Republicans] are running against ObamaCare — because while good, affordable healthcare might still be a fanged threat to freedom on Fox News, it’s working pretty well in the real world,” the president said.

The day after the anniversary of rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, Obama argued that a “dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of healthcare” had led to more individuals being covered and prices staying lower.

“If we hadn’t taken this on, and premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are,” Obama said. “That’s $1,800 you don’t have to pay out of our pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That’s like an $1,800 tax cut.”

And, Obama said, the cost of government healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid are decreasing alongside the costs of private insurance.

“Healthcare has long been the single biggest driver of America’s future deficits,” Obama said. “Healthcare is now the single biggest factor driving those deficits down.” …

“In just the last year, we’ve reduced the share of uninsured Americans by 26 percent,” Obama said. “That means 1 in 4 uninsured Americans — about 10 million people — have gained the financial security of health insurance in less than one year.”

The president also argued that the availability of insurance through ObamaCare meant young entrepreneurs were freed “to strike out on your own and chase that new idea,” rather than remaining in jobs that provided medical coverage.

It’s great that Obama finally deigned to speak publicly about the specifics—including specific results—of one of his policies, Obamacare.  He generally doesn’t do speaking publicly about the specifics (and certainly not specific results) of his policies, or, regarding most of his and the congressional Dems’ economic policies, even the existence of their policies and policy proposals.  Which may be why no one knows the specifics, or even the generalities.

But, the press being the press, and the political punditry being the political punditry, what matters is that Obama said the words, “I am not on the ballot this fall … But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.”  “These policies” could mean … well … it doesn’t matter.

As it happens, a majority of the public, even in “red” states, aren’t all that keen on the prospect of the Koch brothers’ policies becoming Congress’s blatant policies.  So the new Republican ads about Obama’s policies being on the ballot should be countered not only with a demand to know which specific economic, fiscal and regulatory policies these candidates want to repeal but also with reminders that the Koch brothers’ policies are on the ballot, too.

Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

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Did Romney Begin to Reverse-Etch-A-Sketch Today?

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Mitt Romney tried Thursday to borrow the campaign themes that got President Barack Obama elected in 2008.

The Republican nominee repeatedly promised “big change” in Washington, a fresh phrase for him and one that he used more than a dozen times in a 20-minute speech at a rally that kicked off a day-long Ohio bus tour.

Romney borrows Obama campaign themes, James Hohmann, Politico, today,

Seems to me that Obama should point out what big changes would be in store.  He can start with Medicare and then get into some other highlights of the Ryan budget—and of Romney’s primary-campaign statements, and run ads using clips of Romney saying these things.

He can then point out that Romney is doing what he’s so good at: writing generic fine print that he can then point to and say, “But this is what I said during the campaign that I would do! Seeee??”

Sorta like, it depends on what the meaning of “Let Detroit go bankrupt” means.  Which depends on what the meaning of “managed bankruptcy” is, when you’re suggesting that the government shouldn’t provide GM and Chrysler with money to fund a managed bankruptcy that would not result in liquidation.  Which in turn, I guess, depends on what the meaning of liquidation is.  

Which a very large number of people who are now employed directly or indirectly by those companies would have no trouble defining.

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