Erskine Bowles tells the president his budget is a bust. “It is $4 trillion, however, over 12 years. It is heavily back-end loaded, so when you compare it to the Ryan plan and to the Commission’s plan, which also has $4 trillion in savings, it is probably more like $2.5 trillion. And in fairness, the way it is setup, according to our analysis, it really doesn’t stabilize the debt, and the debt as a percentage of GDP gets up to around 77 percent and it never gets to primary balance, which is about a deficit-to-GDP ratio of around 3 percent.”
Peter Wehner tells Republicans that “conservatism” and “combativeness” are two different things.
Elliott Abrams tells the administration that when it comes to the new “unity”government: “The United States needs to be far clearer: we cannot and will not support any government where Hamas has a real influence and the security forces stop fighting terror. We must certainly not fund such a government, and indeed once [Salam] Fayyad leaves we should be very wary of the financial practices of the PA. . . . We do no favor to any Palestinian who really seeks peace, democracy, and independence if we pull our punches when a murderous terrorist group maneuvers to gain power in—and then take power over—all the Palestinian territories.”
Jeffrey Anderson tells us it isn’t even a “budget”: “The president’s framework fails to rise to the level of an actual budget in essentially every way, but its most glaring oversight is its failure to say what number the $4 trillion would be saved from. There are three possibilities: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) current law baseline, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) baseline, and Obama’s own budget.”
The sharpest brain trust on Afghanistan (Fred and Kim Kagan) tells us, “Osama bin Laden’s death has no implications for the number of American or international forces in Afghanistan, for their mission, or for the timeline for their reduction. George W. Bush sent forces into Afghanistan not to kill bin Laden, but to oust al Qaeda from its safe haven there, defeat that organization, and create political conditions that would preclude its return to Afghanistan. Barack Obama reaffirmed that mission in his December 2009 speech setting out the current strategy. He chose a counter-insurgency approach. . . . President Obama has been pursuing the right strategy, and the forces the United States and its international partners have committed to executing it are—just barely—adequate to achieve it.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells us she is a fool when she reports that “we are pushing hard for the government of Syria to live up to its own stated commitment to reforms.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tells the media for the umpteenth time that there is no daylight between the House leadership and the Paul Ryan budget.
Paul Wolfowitz tells the president to get out in front: “When you have freedom sweeping the Arab world, and you have people willing to risk their lives not as suicide bombers to kill innocent people, but to save lives and to gain freedom, the United States, first of all, should recognize generally speaking which side of that issue we’re on. . . . There are all kinds of ways it can end badly, but that would seem to me to be even more reason to be deeply engaged — to find people who want it to end the right way and to support those people, rather than holding back.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tells the president not to sign an executive order seeking an end run around the Supreme Court and the First Amendment. “Republicans are warning President Obama not to issue an executive order that would require government contractors to disclose their political donations. . . . ‘Let me be clear: No White House should be able to review your political party affiliation before deciding if you’re worthy of a government contract,’ McConnell said in a statement. ‘And no one should have to worry about whether their political support will determine their ability to get or keep a federal contract or keep their job.’”