In the New York Times today, David Brooks uses his column to lay out the speech Mitt Romney should make to open tomorrow's presidential debate. Brooks' alterna-Romney promises that from now on, he's going to actually be himself. Then he runs down the many problems the next president will face: forging a budget compromise (alterna-Romney argues that he, as a Republican, could convince the GOP to raise taxes as Obama has failed to do); fixing Medicare and fighting rising health care costs; and combating sluggish growth. On the latter, alterna-Romney says, "I assume you know that everything President Obama and I have been saying on this subject has been total garbage."
"Presidents and governors don’t 'create jobs.' We don’t have the ability to 'grow the economy.' There’s no magic lever," says alterna-Romney. "Instead, an administration makes a thousand small decisions, each of which subtly adds to or detracts from a positive growth environment." Obama's administration has made bad decisions, but alterna-Romney's administration "will be a little more biased toward growth. It’ll treat businesses with more respect. There will be no magic recovery, but gradually the animal spirits will revive." In Slate, Matthew Yglesias says Brooks' speech "would rightly lose [Romney] the vote of basically everyone," and calls the "no magic lever" statement "false." "Brooks' pitch," Yglesias writes, "is essentially that we need to elect a Republican president in order to swindle a Republican congress into enacting Obama's policy ideas."