The clown prince “assigns” Mitt Romney a fool’s errand

Dana Milbank, the Clown Prince of the Washington Post, assigns “a last public duty” to Mitt Romney. That assignment is “to step[] forward and to help find a way out of the fiscal standoff” by “return[ing] his party to reason.”

Milbank doesn’t define “reason.” Instead, he ridicules Romney for accepting a position on the board of his longtime friend Bill Marriott, moving to California, and driving a foreign-made car.

There are several problems with Milbank’s assignment to Romney. First, Romney’s voice carries no weight with congressional Republicans. For Romney to act as if it does would be a fool’s errand. The only impact would be to allow the likes of Milbank to attack congressional Republicans for not following the “voice of reason,” suddenly represented by the recently-demonized Mitt Romney.

Second, Romney doesn’t believe that tax rates should be raised on any American. He believes in, and advocated during the campaign, debt reduction very much along the lines House Republicans have proposed. For Romney to advocate raising of tax rates would be the ultimate flip-flop — and for no purpose, since his voice carries virtually no weight.

Third, “finding a way out of the fiscal standoff” requires compromise by President Obama as well as Republicans. If such a compromise is possible, it will be achieved only through hard bargaining by both sides, especially the Republicans because Obama perceives them (not without cause) as being in a weak position.

Concessions by Republicans at this juncture, beyond those they have already made on the revenue side, would likely harden Obama’s position because it would reinforce his view of Republican weakness. If anything, concessions made now would reduce the chances of a compromise later.

It’s doubtful, however, that Milbank favors a compromise. What he wants is a capitulation. That’s understandable. But Milbank is a fool if he really believes Romney can help deliver it, or that Romney can be “shamed” into attempting to do so by a clown’s column.