As he escalates his class war re-election campaign, President Obama has taken to calling Mitt Romney's economic plan "Robin Hood in reverse" or "Romney Hood." The charge is that even though Mr. Romney is proposing to cut tax rates for everybody across the board, Mr. Romney will finance this by imposing a tax increase on the middle class.The Journal goes on to explain that Obama's source for this claim is "a single study by the Tax Policy Center, a liberal think tank that has long opposed cutting income tax rates." It then proceeds to dismantle the study piece by piece and show that it's utter nonsense. Far from dry reading, it's one of the most devastating and entertaining take downs I've read in quite a while. I recommend it.
But setting the facts aside for a moment, I have to say that Team Obama has come up with something pretty brilliant here. Dubbing Romney's proposal "Romney Hood" is a great stroke of marketing and propaganda. The phrase is clever, evocative, and highly memorable. I'm already imagining the caricatures of Romney romping through the inner cities, clad in green tights and felt cap, relieving the poor of their meager possessions. I bet you are too. Now try to get that image out of your head.
Yes, substantive or not, this mockery has the potential to gain legs and be a real problem for Romney. If it takes hold, it could suck all the oxygen out of the campaign, taking the focus off Obama's record on jobs, the economy, and a handful of major scandals that are only now managing to percolate through the filter of the liberal media and into public awareness.
Ironically, Obama himself may be Romney's biggest ally in preventing this from happening. Despite all the hype surrounding the force of Obama's personality, his public speaking prowess, and his superior intellect, there's very little evidence that any of it matches the reality. He's still reading the same canned speeches he was three years ago. He's managed to take a flagging economy and make it appreciably worse. And his purported abilities to influence and persuade have been found lacking in everything from his attempt to bring the Olympics to Chicago to his selling of Obamacare, which remains as unpopular now as it did before he launched his relentless speaking tour to promote it. In short, there is a huge Obama fatigue factor; we're simply tired of listening to the guy.
Still, Romney would be foolish to rely on his opponent's fecklessness to fend off what could be a game changer for Obama. As always, the media will have Obama's back. Romney needs to respond quickly and decisively, and keep the focus on Obama's performance.