Bravo, Jake Tapper.
Finally a member of the increasingly supine White House press corps gave us a question that demanded President Barack Obama specify his proclaimed willingness to “upset his base.”
ABC newsman Tapper asked the president to “tell us one structural reform that you are willing to make to one of these entitlement programs that would have a major impact on the deficit.”
The president spoke a long time in response, but provided no such specificity about even one such reform. Tapper prefaced his question with the statement, “We have an idea of the taxes that you would like to see raised on corporations and on Americans in the top two tax brackets.” And that really isn’t true. We actually don’t know the specifics of the president’s tax-hike list and we don’t know what sort of “revenue” he thinks these tax hikes would bring.
Many suspect the president’s tax agenda wouldn’t raise anything close to the amount of money he implies it would, and the impact on economic growth of another round of tax hikes is never discussed by the president.
The few honest brokers such as Tapper get a question a month, which is buried under an avalanche of asides and self-referential quips about AARP cards and the president’s wealth.
The key questions are what federal expenditures does the president want to cut and by how much, and what taxes does he seek to raise and by how much, and what revenue would those hikes generate?
Search for any article that begins with those facts and you will have found the rarest of Manhattan-Beltway media-elite products, a spinless account of the president’s alleged “plan.”
There is no such plan, which goes unreported because it does not reflect well on Obama. And the White House press corps knows that access depends on not embarrassing the boss.
But there is no excuse for the leadership of the House GOP not to have hammered this message home on many occasions throughout every day.
“Send us your non-defense-spending cuts, Mr. President,” House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor ought to be saying, again and again and again on every cable and radio talk show that will have them.
The president avoids specifics because the numbers in his world don’t add up. Rarely have so many reporters done so little to illuminate such an important issue.
Examiner columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at www.hughhewitt.com.