The president can’t very well run on his record or on his agenda (it is nonexistent, at least in any meaningful detail). So the next “shiny object” — the distraction meant to deflect attention from his own lousy record is to scare Americans into thinking his opponent is a Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) clone. He came up with this hooey for his speech:

They haven’t specified exactly where the knife would fall, but here’s some of what would happen if that cut that they proposed was spread evenly across the budget.

10 million college students would lose an average of a thousand dollars each on financial aid. 200,000 children would lose the chance to get an early education in the Head Start program. There would be 1,600 fewer medical research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS; 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students and teachers.

Where did he get that from? He made it up. No Republican is proposing any of that. But we are now into the stage when the not-excessive Mitt Romney is painted as a libertarian. (“So they maintain that if we eliminate most regulations, we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, if we strip down government to national security and few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed and that will automatically benefit us all.”) If only.

In fact, Romney is the most moderate Republican since Richard Nixon (whom President Obama praised) to run for president. He is reforming, not eliminating, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If Romney follows Rep. Paul Ryan’s lead, we’ll be spending about 20 percent rather than 23-25 percent of gross domestic product on the federal government. You’d never guess from the liberal hysterics that Romney will be spending more, just a little smaller increase, in future years.

The lefty bloggers have been setting up this argument since the debacle in Wisconsin. Romney wants to fire cops and teachers! (Really? Well, no. He just doesn’t agree with Son of Stimulus, and states with reform-minded Republican governors like Gov. Scott Walker have avoided teacher layoffs).

The president and his followers in the blogosphere operate from a false premise: If it is good, the federal government must do it. If you oppose spending (borrowing, actually) more money to do X, then you hate X (teachers, light-rail, broadband access).

The irony here is Romney is the most likely Republican to make deals and reach compromises with the other side. It is for this very reason that the anti-governance crowd in the GOP base opposed him. But if a president who can’t make deals wants to beat an opponent who’s made deals all his life, then you have to convince voters — shiny object! — that insistence that we spend and borrow less is tantamount to returning to the pre-New Deal. It is an argument only a liberal would believe.