Washington Post liberal columnist Dana Milbank opened the floodgates mid-week when he published a piece that began, “President Obama admits it: His proposed ‘Buffett Rule’ tax on millionaires is a gimmick.” Milbank didn’t give the president the full benefit of context — Obama was trying to make the case that the Buffett Rule was worthwhile, even if it would have little effect on the deficit — but Milbank’s column started a wave of anti-Buffett talking points.
“It’s total gimmickry,” added another prominent voice in journalism, Politico executive editor Jim Vandehei. Speaking on MSNBC, Vandehei noted that the Buffett Rule is “one percent of what you need to take care of the deficit. There’s a big danger for President Obama in that they become so insanely political in an insanely political culture…He’s not offered tax reform when he could have offered tax reform. Did not offer budgets when he could have offered budgets.”…
Carney defended the Buffett proposal as “a basic matter of fairness and economic good sense.”
The next day, a note of snarkiness crept into the briefing, when a reporter, noting that the president had scheduled talks with several local news stations around the country, asked, “Jay, what’s left for President Obama to say about the Buffett Rule in his four interviews this afternoon?” Carney didn’t have much of an answer.