Now let’s chuck the horse race and get to the substance

Hurray for the Globe. On Monday, it analyzed the assumptions of Mitt Romney’s proposals to beef up the military till expenditures hit four percent of GDP, challenged the relevancy of his data on the number of ships and planes we have and questioned the implications of his proposed goals. On Tuesday, the paper took a sobering look at the Mittster’s proposal to raise the eligibility age for Medicare and even to eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions for 66 and 67-year-olds.
It is indeed time to downplay the horse race and look long and hard at the truths behind the policy posturing during this primary season.

Mitt may not be breaking out the champagne bottles after each primary result, but it’s pretty clear he’s on the path to the nomination. Because of the new process, with states dividing the primary votes proportionately among congressional districts, his opponents are increasingly unlikely to put together the 1144 needed to secure the nomination. Mitt’s more than halfway there, with twice as many delegates as Santorum. And, even if he loses bragging rights in one state or another, he still picks up delegates here and there so that by Memorial Day he should be pretty close to securing the nomination. So, my former colleagues across the media, how about let’s drop the incessant horse race analysis and tackle the substance of his candidacy. I know it’s easier to treat politics as entertainment, but it’s time to eat our spinach.

Early on, Romney put out a 50-some-odd-page economic plan. It got little attention. Then he proposed to cut federal income tax rates by 20 percent more for all earners, and, according to Josh Barro of Forbes, that would decimate U.S. revenue by more than $5 trillion over the next decade decade. 

The Romney campaign asserts that the red ink would be stanched by closing tax loopholes and growing the economy. Perhaps he’s got a bridge for us in Brooklyn, too. Some budget analysts warn that Romney’s plan overall would add nearly three trillion in debt over the next decade. Plus, remember his expansive view of the military. No savings there. Saying that Romney’s budget is realistic, as his campaign contends, does not make it so. It’s time for the media to press him harder on the details. While they’re at it, how about pushing him harder on how his approach will generate the jobs and growth he is promising. Closing tax loopholes and growing the economy is part of everyone’s plan, including Obama’s. But where are the details?

I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts in the comments section below.

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