One of the staples of political campaigns is cherry picking, in which candidates choose an issue or angle and only discuss the parts of it that fit the argument they want to make.
The problem with cherry picking, however, is the lack of information – or the distortion of the information – usually turns on the picker in the end.
When presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nevada this week, he criticized President Obama for a plan that would cut military spending by $1 trillion.
Unfortunately for Romney, the cuts are triggered by the Budget Control Act of 2011, a “compromise” bill passed after Republicans vowed to throw the U.S. in default unless the Democrats went along with automatic budget cuts if a bipartisan budget agreement wasn’t reached.
So while it’s true that the budget cuts might occur on Obama’s watch, they also will occur on the watch of the Republican House and Senate leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, creating a small flaw in what Romney thought was a great line of attack.
According to The Washington Post, the Republican members of the so-called super committee, created to try to reach the bipartisan agreement, pushed the cuts because they did not want to raise any taxes to bring in additional revenue.
On Wednesday, Republicans again chose to tax cuts, which means they would rather cut spending, regardless of whom it hurts – even some of their own presumed constituencies – rather than raise personal income taxes for the wealthy or find some other non-income taxes to balance the budget.
So Romney seeks to win friends and influence votes by calling for greater military spending, while his party’s legislative leaders are calling for what they say is fiscal discipline.
The cuts needed to balance the budget are so deep, that it would decimate the government, The Post said.
“If Romney wants to make good on his vow to increase defense spending by $2.1 trillion, and he also wants to make good on his support for the tax cuts incorporated in the House Republicans’ budget, he would need to cut the rest of the government’s functions – including Social Security and Medicare benefits – by about 14 percent, according to the Center for American Progress.”
That would be all well and good if Romney hadn’t also vowed not to cut Social Security and Medicare for those 55 and older.
To pull that off and keep the tax cut the Republicans want, Romney would have to shut down the functions of the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Commerce, Interior, Justice, Labor, Treasury and NIH.
But he didn’t mention any of that in his VFW speech.
Apparently, inconvenient truths aren’t worth uttering unless they inconvenience the other side.