A possible caveat to Sean Trende’s piece yesterday arguing that attack ads can’t hurt Obama because voters already know him so well: What if the ad showcases something he’s said recently that appears to reveal his true economic beliefs? There’s virtually no new, relevant information about him available — except his gaffes, as new windows onto his thinking. You’ve got two bruising spots here that play on that, one from Team Mitt picking up on his claim that “our plan worked” and the other from the American Future Fund targeting the “you didn’t build that” line that’s got Obama hyperventilating. They strike me as attacks not so much on his economic perspicacity (although they’re that too) as attacks on his character. The vibe from both spots is indignation at his refusal to recognize the economic reality that Americans live with. He comes off, more than anything, as callous, not merely naive. Tough stuff. No wonder he’s doing those gauzy West Wing “fireside chat” ads now.
We’ve been over the argument that “you did’t build that” was taken out of context in other posts. Re: the new lefty argument that “our plan worked” was taken out of context too, i.e. that by “our plan” Obama meant the Clinton-era tax rates favored by Democrats and not the dismal failure you and I know as Obamanomics, read Guy Benson for a rebuttal. It’s easier to scream about O being taken out of context, I guess, than it is to try to defend his jobs record. But even if you accept his own spin, it’s simply goofy to imply that restoring ’90s-era tax rates for the top income bracket alone will be some kind of panacea for an economy saddled with 21st-century fiscal liabilities. Your plan’s not going to work with new revenue disappearing into the widening black hole of Medicare and Social Security, champ. Either man up and start pushing across-the-board tax hikes with entitlement reform (as some liberals fear he might in a second term) or stop talking about “the plan.” There is no plan in any meaningful sense except winning the election.