Harold Ford Jr. Pushes Austerity and 'Entitlement Reform' as Winning Message for President Obama
After we saw Harold Ford Jr. (D-Wall Street) step all over the Obama campaign's criticism of Bain Capital along with some of his fellow surrogates like Cory Booker last month, it's not surprising to see Ford continuing to give bad advice to the Obama administration on economic policy whenever we're unfortunate enough for someone in the media to allow a microphone to be put in front of his mouth.
After the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel went after the Obama campaign for daring to attack Mitt Romney, his time at Bain Capital and what his policies might mean for the country and claiming that they've laid out no plan for the future, never mind that he has put forth a jobs bill that Republicans rejected, and her ignoring the obstruction he's had to deal with, we got treated to Harold Ford telling the Obama administration they should be running on austerity and "entitlement reform."
Ford is repeating the lines we've heard out of Republicans time and again and that's fearmongering over this "debt bomb" and using that as an excuse to slash our social safety nets and claiming they want "tax reform" that I will be shocked if it ends up being anything other than going after tax breaks for the poor and middle class and ending up lowering rates on the richest among us. We also had Ford touting "entitlement reform" which is code for privatizing Social Security and Medicare.
I think the only advice the Obama administration needs to take from the likes of Ford is to ignore him completely or ask him to please STFU. Austerity is killing European economies right now and we need more stimulus and not a retraction of government spending in the U.S. right now. I'll be happy when I no longer see Ford's face on the air again to give anyone bad advice on how to lose an election as he did here, or how to protect his buddies on Wall Street, but Joe Scarborough and David Gregory insist on having him on as a fixture on their programs. Sadly we'll never see any former progressive members of the Congress given the same amount of air time.
Apparently no amount of failure ever goes unrewarded if the Villagers in our mainstream media want to get your message out. If Ford actually believes that "reforming" Social Security is a good idea for Democrats to run on, which we all know means privatizing it, maybe he should ask George W. Bush how that worked out for him when he went out there and tried to sell that to the electorate.
Transcript below the fold.
DAVID GREGORY: Right. And you heard from David Plouffe, Kim, a lot of about what's wrong with Mitt Romney but not a lot of ownership over the past three and a half years.
KIM STRASSEL: Well, and that's the question of whether or not this speech is going to work because it was a reframing and an attempt to reset. But the problem he fundamentally has is, if you look at that speech, 90% of it was about Mitt Romney. It was the new way of attacking Mitt Romney. It was all about how Republican ideals have brought this country to a terrible place and how Mitt Romney would continue it.
There was only about 10% that had to do with the president. And what he fundamentally did was buckle down to some extent on what they've done for the past three years, saying, "I like my green jobs program. I like my healthcare bill. I want to continue with this idea of higher taxes." And the problem for the president and his campaign and that no one is really happy with the last three and a half years. And he didn't lay out anything new for the future. And so he hasn't addressed that fundamental question, which is what Democrats are nervous about. Is he looking ahead?
DAVID GREGORY: Yes. And, Harold, what they're also worried about is the news. I mean, I've spoken to administration officials who say not only is there weak demand now, but as you get closer to the fiscal cliff coming at the end of the year, there's worry that businesses will pull back even further. And then, of course, there's Greece in the news today and what's happening in Europe.
HAROLD FORD, JR.: There's no doubt. The president, to Kim's point and to Mark's point and a funny inflection point, he doesn't quite know what to say about the last four years other than things were really bad. And for whatever reason, he's been reluctant to lay out where we go the next four years, which he has to do a much better job of.
This week, though, should give him some comfort. I think Mark is right. He's getting off to a good start, explaining what he wants to do with the economy and how it behaved differently and how markets would look differently if Romney's elected. But he took control on the immigration issue.
I think he has to take control on two or three other issues. He has to take control on tax reform I think before this election is up to demonstrate to Americans, particularly the markets, that the fiscal cliff, which obviously with Europe as a terrible backdrop and obviously today we all hope that things go well there in Greece. When I say "well," that the austerity campaign wins out.
But he has to take control on tax reform, take control on entitlement reform, take control on innovation reform and demonstrate to the country here is where I will take us. Otherwise, I'm not convinced the narrative we have now is a winning one. I say now "we" being a Democrat.