The template for last night’s confusion: Until a few moments ago, we hadn’t seen this column by E. J. Dionne.
It appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post—in the late editions.
Dionne’s piece was written on the fly after Wednesday night’s debate. It’s grossly misleading regarding its substance—but it does show the change in the times.
Dionne was reacting to Romney’s statements at the debate about his tax cut proposal. Here’s how the column starts:
DIONNE (10/4/12): The strangest aspect of Wednesday night’s debate was Mitt Romney’s decision to change his tax policies on the fly. Having campaigned hard on a tax proposal that called for $5 trillion in tax cuts, he said flatly that he was not offering a $5 trillion tax cut.We’re sorry, but that’s pure sophistry—and it's hard to believe Dionne doesn't know it.
“I don’t have a tax cut of the scale that you’re talking about,” Romney said— even though that is exactly the tax cut he has proposed.
Was Romney for his tax plan before he was against it?
That said, all the children were repeating this line on pseudo-lib cable last night.
Did Romney ever “call for $5 trillion in tax cuts?” Did Romney ever “offer a $5 trillion tax cut?” If you’re a pure sophist, yes—he did. In the proposal he unveiled in February, Romney proposed lowering all income tax rates by 20 percent.
That single action, on its own, would reduce federal revenues by roughly $5 trillion over the next ten years. But Romney didn’t propose that single action on its own.
Surely, Dionne understands that fact. Why won’t he share it with others?
When Romney proposed that cut in income tax rates, he also said that he would eliminate tax deductions to balance off the revenue loss. His proposal would be revenue neutral, he said.
In August, the Tax Policy Center reported that there simply aren’t enough deductions to balance the $5 trillion Romney would lose from that cut in tax rates. But Dionne is citing one part of what Romney proposed, while deep-sixing the other.
If Obama or Jim Lehrer had been prepared to function on Wednesday, someone might have asked the obvious question: What does Romney propose to do if he isn’t able to balance the revenue lost by that cut in tax rates?
No one asked, but on his own, Romney restated two basic principles he has stated since February:
He won't enact a tax proposal which costs the treasury money. He won't enact a tax proposal which lowers the share of taxes the wealthy are required to pay.
Or so he said.
Romney's proposal strikes us as foolish. Beyond that, as originally stated, his proposal doesn't seem to add up.
That said, Dionne’s account is stunningly misleading. We’d call that a sign of the times.
Back in the day, during Campaign 2000, E. J. Dionne kept his pretty trap shut about what his colleagues were doing.
He understood what his colleagues were doing in their shameless war against Gore. That much was clear from sidelong remarks in a few of his columns, and from the fact that Dionne is smart. But E. J. Dionne never tattled.
By now, times have changed. By now, a pseudo-liberal world has emerged. As an official MSNBC contributor, Dionne is part of the fun. And sure enough!
Dionne is still avoiding the truth. But back then, he avoided the truth is a way which massacred Candidate Gore. Today, he misstates the truth in a way designed to help Candidate Obama!
That column was stunningly misleading. Last night, it formed the template ac the children floundered and flailed on the One True Pseudo-Liberal Channel.
You’ve come a long way, E. J. Dionne! Wouldn’t tell the truth back then. Still won’t do so now.
Dearest darlings, careers are at stake! Careers and good jobs at good pay!