President Obama commissioned former Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles to come up with a deficit reduction plan. When they delivered their plan, Obama ignored them and proceeded to rack up about $5 trillion in new debt for the nation.
One might expect that the president’s actions could come up in the presidential debates this fall. But if several Democrats get their way, no questions about Simpson-Bowles will be asked.
In the original letter, Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) asked the debate commission to devote “specific and extensive attention to the question of how the candidates would get our nation’s fiscal house in order during the first debate dedicated to domestic policy.”
“Specifically, we request that you ask the presidential candidates which of the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform they would adopt as part of their plan to reduce the deficit,” they wrote.
But that caused Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to cry foul, writing in their own letter to the debate commission on Tuesday that although the Simpson-Bowles commission’s plan “may contain proposals helpful to our recovery…to hold it out as the only pathway to fiscal responsibility and economic success is foolish and wrong.”
“We urge the [Debate] Commission to fight any effort to unnecessarily narrow such an important debate by placing disproportionate attention on one set of proposals over another,” they wrote, adding that such a question would “cheapen the debate” and “thwart the candidates’ ability to explain alternative proposals.”
I know that this is a political question, but can we just be honest here and say that the request to put Simpson-Bowles out of bounds is ridiculous and unworthy of being taken seriously? Can we note that the three Democrats — Honda, Nadler and Schakowsky — are doing nothing more or less than protecting the Incompetent in Chief from his own miserable and very obvious failure?
The Romney campaign should, behind the scenes at first and then publicly if necessary, play hardball here. It should demand that the Debate Commission openly reject the Democrats’ request. Otherwise, the debate has been rigged and the Romney campaign should say so.