Mitt Romney went on Fox and Friends yesterday. His comments, and his tone, on President Obama’s lack of economic literacy, are noteworthy. He defended his Bain record:

“With regards to Bain Capital, they just put a report out about their record, the Bain Capital guys did, they noted they’ve made about 350 investments since the beginning of the firm, and of those investments, about 80 percent grew their revenues. So I’m pretty confident that the overall record of the enterprise I helped begin is pretty solid.”

But it was his bemused reaction to the president’s discussion of “productivity” that was most revealing. In response to Obama’s accusation that “[Romney thinks the] only reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not productive enough”:

I’m afraid he doesn’t understand what the word ‘productivity’ means. Gosh, this is quite a revelation if you have the president of the United States that doesn’t understand that productivity is a measure of output per person in the nation as a whole, and is driven by such things as the level of automation in a society, the extent to which the government encourages output and production, it’s not just a measure of how hard people are working. As a matter of fact, the American people are harder-working than people in France, in Europe, even in Germany.

Romney, I think is genuinely shocked that he is running against someone who either is ignorant about basic economics or is entirely invested in distortion. (I am surprised he didn’t bring up Obama’s assertion that innovations like ATMs were responsible for job losses.)

Romney is also becoming adept at calling out the president for his army of straw men. The president’s latest trope is that Romney wants to “go back” to the Bush era. Romney eviscerated the claim.

From The Hill:

Romney defended his economic proposals during his television appearance Thursday, saying his plans to repeal the president’s signature healthcare reform package, revamp the country’s energy strategy and reduce the deficit all qualified as fresh ideas that broke the mold of former President George W. Bush.

“It’s actually kind of funny listening to him. I just described three things I’d do — they have nothing to do with what’s [been] done in the past,” Romney said. “These are new problems we have that have been created by President Obama; they need new solutions if we’re going to get this economy going again.”

Romney could have added to his list of un-Bush policies a new tax code, a get-tough-with-China stance, and market-oriented Medicare reform. It’s fundamentally dishonest, and lazy rhetoric, to declare Bush=Romney. Whatever you think of Bush, Romney’s outlook on a wide array of issues from debt reduction to entitlement reform to education is distinct from, and in many instances, contrary to Bush’s proposals.

That the left-wing punditocracy recycles the false equivalence, accusing Romney of “forgetting” about the Bush years, is only one more bit of proof that running against the actual Romney and his actual agenda is unthinkable for Obama and his spinners.