Jennifer Rubin's Selective Attention To Details

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin has had it with busybody journalists pressing Mitt Romney to provide details for the policies he would implement as president:

The latest media obsession (or is it an Obama campaign talking point?) is to demand Mitt Romney explain how his budget and entitlement ideas differ from those Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). When he declines, the media screams, "Evasion!"

Why on earth would Romney answer that, and, more important, does anyone care? If the media is really interested in a compare and contrast exercise they can do their own analysis or ask some staffers. Romney, of course, is running at the top of the ticket, and both Romney and Ryan are running on Romney's agenda. All Romney need do is explain what HE is for and how that differs from the president's plans. Is there any voter who will decide to vote for or against Romney because of deviations from the plan his VP has proposed? That would be a first.

The details separating Romney's and Ryan's budget plans are moot, she argues, since the two agree on the "basic framework:"

The media might have a point if Ryan had criticized Romney's plans or if his own plans were vastly different from Romney's. But in basic framework there is no difference between the two. They both want to lower tax rates and expand the base. Both Ryan and Romney want to block grant and reform Medicaid. Both favor a premium-support plan for Medicare. In short, they are in sync on every significant fiscal issue, and Ryan has agreed to be Romney's VP. 

But therein lies the problem: the "basic framework" is really all that Romney has provided, and the devil is, of course, in the details. More than a few observers have noted that Romney's budget plan lacks detail and doesn't adequately explain how it would achieve its stated goals. And this has people like Jonathan Cohn concerned:

Romney's failure to provide actual budget numbers on these proposals has made it difficult to evaluate them individually -- and, I'm sure, it's spared him some of the scrutiny he'd otherwise get. But Romney made one other promise that ought to make very clear what his plans would entail. He's called for capping federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, while setting aside 4 percent of gross domestic product for defense spending.

So yeah, people want to know the details of the presidential candidate's budget plan because they want to know what he'd do as president. And Rubin, it turns out, shares that interest -- just not when it comes to Mitt Romney. After scolding reporters for digging into Romney's vague policy proposals, she writes:

The president hasn't given a press conference in weeks, and his stump speech is devoted to attacking his opponents. It sure would be nice if the media showed just a little interest in finding out what his second term plans are.

You can't really get more hackish than that.

Posted In
Economy, Budget
The Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin
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