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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press David Brooks Tries His Hand as a Romney Speechwriter

David Brooks Tries His Hand as a Romney Speechwriter

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 04:41

It apparently is that time of year when columnists try out as speechwriters for the candidates. After Robert Samuelson tried his hand by writing speeches for both candidates in his Washington Post column yesterday, David Brooks took a shot in drafting a debate intro for Governor Romney today. Brooks' speech is not especially truthful, but I suppose that is par for a presidential candidate.

He tells readers:

"The next president is going to face some wicked problems. The first is the “fiscal cliff.” The next president is going to have to forge a grand compromise on the budget. President Obama has tried and failed to do this over the past four years. There’s no reason to think he’d do any better over the next four."

Actually there is no reason that the next president has to "forge a grand compromise on the budget." Budget deficits were in fact quite modest until the collapse of the housing bubble tanked the economy. If the economy were back near full employment, deficits would again be quite modest. The ratio of interest payments to GDP is near its post-war low.


Source: Congressional Budget Office.

As Brooks' speech continues, he has Romney say:

"the nations that successfully trim debt have raised $1 in new revenue for every $3 in spending cuts."

So Brooks wants Governor Romney to assert with no basis in reality that the next president must have big budget cuts. This almost certainly means cuts to Social Security and Medicare (there ain't much else in the non-defense budget), but Brooks would not have Romney be this honest in his opening debate statement.

He then has Romney go into a diatribe about regulatory horror stories under President Obama:

"The Obama administration, which is either hostile to or aloof from business, has made a thousand tax, regulatory and spending decisions that are biased away from growth and biased toward other priorities. American competitiveness has fallen in each of the past four years, according to the World Economic Forum. Medical device makers, for example, are being chased overseas. The economy in 2012 is worse than the economy in 2011. That’s inexcusable."

Hmm, were the bailouts of Citigroup and Bank of America against business? How about the administration's green light to fracking? How about a health care plan that was based on a 90s plan from the Heritage Foundation and the health care plan that Governor Romney put in place in Massachusetts?

We now know that most U.S. corporations are managed by big cry babies who are unhappy unless they are constantly told that they are wonderful people, but as a practical matter praise or criticism of the "job creators" doesn't seem to have much economic consequence. Investment in equipment and software under our Kenyan socialist president is almost as high, measured as a share of GDP, as it was in the rein of the very business friendly George W. Bush. This is especially impressive since large segments of the economy are still suffering from substantial amounts of excess capacity.

Furthermore, we have the Brooks-Romney line that:

"Medical device makers, for example, are being chased overseas."

This makes no sense. The comment is a reference to a small tax on medical devices that is being used to help finance the Affordable Care Act. The problem with the story is that the tax applies to the devices when they are sold in the United States. This means that manufacturers will not be able to evade the tax even if they move their operations overseas. Was Romney really this clueless when he ran Bain Capital?

Okay, the statement goes on, but you get the flavor. So, should Governor Romney hire David Brooks?

Comments (11)Add Comment
Charley Pierce as Mitt speechwriter...
written by Richard, October 02, 2012 6:15
writes far better and far more honest speeches for Mitt

For Example
Link didn't come through
written by Richard, October 02, 2012 6:20
The Speech Brooks Should Have Written for Romney
written by Last Mover, October 02, 2012 7:25
The next president is going to face some wicked problems which forces me to do the Dubya thing in upcoming debates in order to win by strapping a wireless voice receiver to my back underneath the fake blue collar outfit or $8k suit, whichever is perceived.

This will subdue spontaneous outburst gaffes with mild electrical shocks that have set me back in the campaign, replaced with well tested responses like "There you go again, Taxing anything means less of it and When spending cuts of $3 result in $1 of new tax revenue they pay for themselves".

All orchestrated into the mic by a VSP behind the Wall Street curtain a few feet away.
Rags for Riches(t)
written by Nassim Sabba, October 02, 2012 7:54
That is what New York Times has been, is, and shall be. Why do you assume a huge for profit corporation would have a different agenda, except to be a rag for richest, and to take the last piece of winter rag of the poor and give it to the richest. That is the American dream, rags for riches.
written by jerry, October 02, 2012 9:39
I always love hearing politicians or the media describing a policy as being "anti-growth", as if by design:

"Yeaa we just really wanted to cut back on some growth with this one, too much of that going on right now.. and uhh, we feel like this bill will get us there."

All this of course while both parties are figuring out the most politically feasible ways to push through austerity: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10...ml?hp&_r=0

Sighh, what a country.
written by JSeydl, October 02, 2012 10:35
Awesome post, Dean. I particularly loved this line:

We now know that most U.S. corporations are managed by big cry babies who are unhappy unless they are constantly told that they are wonderful people

Ruthless and true.
written by Roger Bloyce, October 02, 2012 11:19
Babbling Brooks is in the difficult position of having to put conservatives in the best possible light. With the Republican Party now dominated by a far-right element that has lost touch with reality, that ain't easy.

To keep his job, Brooks has to review books of sociological nonsense and lie a lot, but hey, that's exactly what he's paid to do. Give him some credit.
written by f.fursty, October 02, 2012 11:48
Brooks is a fundamentally dishonest person. He is not worth reading. Waste your brain cells elsewhere. Try smoking something. I promise it'll be better for you.

I actually prefer Douthat. I don't agree with him but I find a certain level of honesty there. Brooks is just a front.
Keep Telling it Like it Is
written by Widgetmaker, October 02, 2012 2:24
Thanks for the post, Dr Baker - shovel duty ain't easy. The more I get into this the more I am dismayed to see the illogical writing of such notable pundits. How can they get it so wrong so often? So much of what they say does not make sense and I am grateful there are people like you who continually point it out.

One would think that being right should make might.
written by diesel, October 02, 2012 3:02
No matter who wins the election, we're fracked.
Even Serious Set Didn't Like Brooks
written by Frankly Curious, October 03, 2012 1:27
On Twitter this morning, even the Serious Set were commenting what a pathetic column Brooks had offered up. Thanks to Dean Baker who suffers so we don't have to.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.