The Los Angeles Times wants Mitt Romney to get his presidential campaign in higher gear, but Romney like everyone else with a good sense of the nation’s priorities is right to hold back and allow the key Congressional debates over the CR, the debt limit and the FY 2012 budget to remain at center stage and for the president to declare his response to whatever the GOP unveils, followed by the negotiations and a final fiscal plan for the next crucial 18 months. President Obama’s 2012 budget was such a complete collapse of leadership that the GOP has to do all the lifting, and depending on what it proposes and the president’s response, the outlines of the 2012 campaign will begin to become clear. The GOP field shouldn’t obscure the president’s complete refusal to address the country’s deep fiscal problems, most of which were created by his fecklessness in tandem with the Pelosi/Reid Congress of 2009/2010.
2012 will be a referendum on the president’s ability to lead and make tough choices, and in the first half of his term he has done neither and as a result America is on the edge of a fiscal cliff and now refuses to do anything to address the peril. Watch this short video of Ben Bernanke talking with Congresman John Campbell:
None of the GOP presidential candidates can or should plan a campaign until they see what the president and their Republican colleagues propose for FY 2012 –especially on entitlement reform and the fiscal crisis. If, as will probably be the case, the president once again chooses to do nothing and simply preside over the accumulating fiscal nightmare, the campaign will be a referendum on his dithering and his clear intent to massively raise taxes on the private sector and the middle and upper-middle class in 2013.
When the GOP presidential debates begin –hopefully no earlier than August and preferably in October– they will probably feature the “short field” that Rich Lowry noted this week. Everyone in that field benefits from the spotlight remaining as it should on the president’s epic incompetence and lassitude in the face of enormous problem sets. No matter how much a stupefied MSM that just cannot understand the problems associated with a $1.5 trillion dollar deficit and a $14 trillion dollar debt might wish for the ease and familiar comfort of a horse race story, the country needs the would-be nominees to stay off stage, doing their relatively quiet work of fundraising and endorsement recruitment (or not). The contests will arrive soon enough.
No recent word from MSNBC and Politico.com on their attempt to dictate terms on the GOP race for the presidency by demanding all candidates be at the Reagan Library in May. Perhaps Ron Paul and Gary Johnson will show up. No one else should, and it would be a great opening effort by Reince Priebus to lay out a schedule of GOP presidential debates beginning in October and hosted/moderated by an array of journalists, not all from the Obama-smitten MSM.