At Ace’s site, DrewM is goofing on him for rolling out a 59-point plan that runs literally 160 pages long on the theory that no one but no one among the electorate will actually read the thing. True enough, but I don’t think Team Mitt expects any voters to read it. They expect voters to note the sheer size and detail of it and conclude, “This guy really does have a plan. He’s actually thinking about this.” Whether it’s a good plan or not, ironically, is a secondary question, but it’s been made that way by the utter failure of Obamanomics. Byron York notes that today’s WaPo poll finds fully 81 percent of the public claiming either that Obama’s economic program is having no effect on the economy or that it’s making things actively worse. Almost the entire country has given up on him on this seminal issue, in other words, which means all Romney has to do is show that he’s serious about finding a solution and he has an advantage. Fifty-nine points says, “I’m serious.”
As for the specifics: Not many specifics at all on entitlement reform, unfortunately, which I’m sure is strategic given the attacks on Perry and his “Fed Up” book to come. (Then again, this is after all a jobs plan, not a deficit reduction plan.) Plus, a curious bit of economic saber-rattling towards China. The Journal is unhappy:
By far the most troubling proposal is Mr. Romney’s call for “confronting China” on trade. This is usually a Democratic theme, but Mr. Romney does Mr. Obama one worse by pledging to have his Treasury brand China a “currency manipulator” if it doesn’t “move quickly to bring its currency to full value.” He’d then hit Beijing with countervailing duties.
Starting a trade war is a rare policy mistake that Mr. Obama hasn’t made, but Mr. Romney claims it is a way to faster growth. His advisers say he doesn’t favor a 25% tariff on Chinese goods as some in Congress do, but once a President unleashes protectionist furies they are hard to contain.
His economic aides say this idea comes directly from Mr. Romney himself, which is even less reassuring. It looks like a political maneuver to blunt the criticism he’ll receive because some of Bain Capital’s companies sent jobs overseas, or perhaps this is intended to win over working-class precincts in Pennsylvania and Ohio. But giving Americans the impression that a trade war will bring those jobs back to the U.S. is offering false hope. It also distracts from the other fiscal and regulatory reforms that are needed to attract capital and create jobs.
Said Romney, cleverly, “We can’t have a trade war. But we can’t have a trade surrender, either.” CNN has a nice brief overview of his plan, but as for the bottom-line number on unemployment, I’m exceedingly skeptical. Not because I don’t think having a Republican president will help, but because — well, just read this in case you haven’t already. There’s every reason to think the global economy will get dramatically worse before it gets better and there’s only so much even a capable executive can do. Maybe The One should try campaigning on that idea, actually. “Obama 2012: We’re doomed no matter who you vote for.”