Republicans are giddy over the recent spate of bad economic news, as well they should be. It’s their only ticket to the White House. After all, no sane voter would consider returning to Bushland unless he was desperate.
But complicating matters for the GOP is the Tea Party, which has pushed the debate so far to the right that candidates are reluctant to defend their own proposals. Here’s a clearly embarrassed T-Paw running away from the economic plan he unveiled only a few days ago:
TIM PAWLENTY: We have achieved 5 percent growth twice in the recent history of this country. Once under Reagan, once under Clinton. Now was it sustained for 10 years in those circumstances? . . .
CHRIS WALLACE: But governor, is it declinist to doubt the 5 percent number or is it just a realist to doubt the 5 percent number? You talk about the fact that for a few years in the 80s and a few years in the 90s that we did have average 5 percent growth — or close to it, it was 4 point something. But the fact is, the difference is, in both of those occasions that was coming directly out of a recession, not after a year, a year into a weak recovery. And actually, in both of those cases, it came after a tax increase, not a tax cut.
PAWLENTY: But Chris, as I said — this is an aspirational goal.
The former governor kept hedging by admitting his plan is “aspirational”.
Michele Bachmann tried this same bob and weave last month. Gazing in horror at the Medicare-killing monstrosity she had voted for, Ms. Bachmann started sprinkling it with asterisks:
Her support for Ryan’s proposal seems to have gotten steadily murkier. She now calls the Ryan budget “an aspirational document,” and worries about “shifting the cost burden to seniors.”
Republican candidates may find it difficult to oppose Obama while simultaneously opposing themselves.