The laziness of his opponents: Our side is so dumb it just hurts.
Consider what happened when E. J. Dionne showed up to chatter with Rachel.
The nonsense in question occurred Tuesday night. E. J. offered this:
DIONNE (10/9/12): In preparing for this show, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before. Romney said in the debate, “I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” Now, that’s exactly what George W. Bush said in the 2000 debate.Valiantly, Rachel defended Obama. He tried, but he couldn’t connect!
You can cut rich peoples’ taxes by a whole lot of money and still have them pay the same share of the total. So that’s what he was really saying.
He was also— He said he’s going to cut everybody’s taxes by 20 percent. And then he said in the debate, we’re not going to have tax cuts that add to the deficit. Now, if this is math, it’s math on meth. I mean, it just doesn’t add up at all. And I think that’s the issue that has to be raised over and over again.
And then Big Bird is really a good illustration of how—in addition to all these tax cuts, in addition to all the military spending, all he talks about is Big Bird, and it’s got to be turned on him.
MADDOW: In terms of the way the president tried to make that case during the first debate, that is what the president returned to over and over and over again. That’s why he kept saying $5 trillion, talking about the extra trillion of dollars in defense spending and how expensive the tax cuts were going to be. The president, I think, was trying to make that case, but wasn’t able to connect with it.
In truth, Obama did a very poor job at last week's debate. In truth, he was unprepared. He seemed to be completely surprised when Romney said various things about his tax proposal he has said many times in the past.
But then, if Dionne represents our brain trust, perhaps the president shouldn’t be blamed. Just look at what Dionne was still saying, six days later, concerning Romney’s proposal:
First, Dionne said he had just noticed something Romney said at the debate. Sad! Romney has made that very same statement many times in the past, extending back to the very day he unveiled his tax proposal.
In Dionne’s account, here's what Romney said: “I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.”
Even now, does Dionne know what Romney means by that? It seems that he doesn’t know. (But then again, Dionne seems to think that this is some sort of new statement!)
Good grief! In making that statement, Romney doesn’t mean that he’s going to “cut rich people’s taxes by a whole lot of money” but cut everyone else’s taxes too, thus keeping rich people’s share of taxes the same. Whatever Romney would end up doing, that just isn’t what he means when he makes that statement.
You know that isn’t what he means because, at that same debate, Romney said that any tax reform he signs will have to be revenue neutral. That completely contradicts what Dionne says Romney “was really saying.”
Next, Dionne entertained us rubes with an apparent contradiction. “He said he’s going to cut everybody’s taxes by 20 percent. And then he said in the debate, we’re not going to have tax cuts that add to the deficit.”
That would be a ludicrous pair of claims. But that isn't what Romney has said.
In fact, Romney has said, from the beginning, that he would cut everyone’s tax rates by twenty percent (with deductions and loopholes to be eliminated). But duh! Cutting someone's tax rates is not the same thing as cutting that person's taxes.
Does E. J. really not know that? How about Our Own Rhodes Scholar? She just bumbled ahead!
Romney’s original proposal didn’t add up. It was mathematically impossible, the Tax Policy Center said, in early August.
Beyond that, it’s amazingly stupid to cite PBS as the way to balance large cuts in tax rates. Romney proposed that too, as Dionne somehow managed to note.
But Obama seemed surprised when Romney said various things about his tax plan—things he has said many times in the past. And six days later, E. J. Dionne still wasn’t making much sense.
Romney is smart and facile. In debate, it’s easy to beat such opponents.
Finally, look at Bill Clinton. Last night, Lawrence exulted over the big pile of piffle which follows. We're sorry, but this is just wrong:
CLINTON: I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did. I mean, I thought, "Wow! Here’s old moderate Mitt. Where you been, boy? I missed you all these last two years!"We're sorry, but that's total horseshit. In fact, Romney hasn’t had his tax plan “for the last two years.” At the debate, Obama said eighteen months. Clinton is even more wrong.
But I was paying attention in the last two years. And it was like one of these Bain Capital deals where, you know, he’s the closer. So he shows up, doesn't really know much about the deal and says, "Tell me what I’m supposed to say to close." Now the problem with this deal is, the deal was made by severe conservative Mitt. That was how he described himself for two whole years.
Until three or four days before the debate they all got together and said, "Hey, Mitt, this ship is sinkin’ faster than the Titanic. But people are still frustrated about the economy, they want it fixed yesterday. So just show up with a sunny face and say, “I didn’t say all that stuff I said for the last two years. I don’t have that tax plan I’ve had for the last two years. You’re going to believe me or your lyin’ eyes here? Come on.”
Nor did Romney change his plan in the three or four days before the debate. The things he said at that debate he had said many times in the past, including on Meet the Press.
Obama showed no sign of knowing. Six days later, E. J. Dionne still seemed basically clueless.
Our leaders are lazy, indifferent, dishonest. Given the laziness of his opponents, are you still sure Mitt Romney can’t win?