Today in Ohio, the two candidates gave speeches about the economy. Governor Romney attempted to upstage the President by moving his speech forward. IMO all he accomplished was undercutting any power his words may have had, not only by giving the President the opportunity to respond, but primarily but demonstrating the absence of substance in his message as compared to the President's speech which was criticized by his own people from being too deep. A non-sensical criticism to my mind because it suggests we aren't smart enough too parse it.
The Presidents' speech, IMO, was one of the best of his career. It may not have contained a lot of easily quotable sound bites, nor did it contain a lot of jingoistic confrontational rhetoric. What it did contain, what made it great, was a clear and fair outline of the views of both sides in this election and what the results of choosing one or the other will be for the nation. This was not an advertisement, this was a philosophical presentation.
On the right, our President says, (paraphrased by me) is the Supply Side school of economics which says our best bet is to lower taxes, remove regulations, and cut government programs. This school of thought teaches that this package will allow the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations to grow the economy, and the resulting wealth will trickle down on the rest of us. Soon after the entire economy should become stronger and we should all become more prosperous.
The President then went on to say that the last decade has proven this theory false. That the end result is the wealthiest individuals and corporations do get wealthier, but it never trickles nown, instead the bubble busts, crushing the middle class and further enriching those at the top. For those who agree or disagree this is a fact check-able point and the President encourages you to do so. He also says that the entire decade in which this theory was used produced fewer new jobs than the last 3 years, and he encourages you to check that.
Then the President lays out his vision. (again, paraphrased by me) In which he says he believes the best way to strengthen an economy is through growing the middle class, AKA consumer side economics. He suggests a complex package of slightly increased taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, tax cuts for small businesses and middle calls families, government subsidies for education and green tech/energy, ending subsidies for fossil fuels, ending tax breaks for foreign investments while giving tax breaks for domestic investments, and government investment in roads, bridges, and school buildings to create both short term jobs and long term market access.
He then goes on to say that history supports his vision because every (he may not have said every) great period of economic growth in American history was built this way. He encourages you to fact check this theory by looking at Lincoln and the railroad, FDR and entitlements,Eisenhower and the highways, LBJ and welfare, and Clinton and the surplus.
Towards the end he offers this summary sound bite: If you agree that the best way to strength an economy is by supporting those at the top, then vote for Mr. Romney and his allies in Congress. If, however, you believe the strength of America is in her middle class, then you should give me four more years.
Several times he asks some variation on the questions: Why would the policies which wrecked our economy be able to save our economy? why would the same actions get different results?
Many policy wonks on the left criticized the President today for not providing a more concise, sound bite ridden speech. I think they forget how the President builds a message. 4 months from now this will be viewed as day one of the two vision message development that won the President re-election, unless somehow Romney completely surprises me and is able to develop an answer to a the question those questions.