Conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan says President Barack Obama is out of touch with reality, given his comments that his economic plan for the country has worked.
“With due respect to the president, I think he’s taking leave of reality,” Buchanan told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night.“We’ve had 40 months of 8 percent unemployment. Even the president’s friends . . . are saying he’s not doing well on the economy and the economy’s bad.
“It’s gone close to a stall,” Buchanan said. “How do you say something like that is working and expect people to take it seriously?”
Buchanan — who has run for president three times — suggested Obama might be able to legitimately claim that he inherited “a horrible situation” as president and that the nation is “making some progress” toward recovery. But, he added, “Don’t say it’s working when the American people know it is not.”
Buchanan was referring to a speech Obama delivered at fundraiser in California Monday night, when he dismissed GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s economic plan as the same “top-down” policies that have failed in the past.
“Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried out plan, and it worked,” Obama said, taking credit primarily for the auto-industry bailout.
Buchanan, however, appeared at a loss himself to explain what kind of policies might turn the economy around.
“We [tried] Keynesian economics, the president's economics, and it has not worked. I mean, my concern is, quite frankly, is what will work,” Buchanan said. “I mean, because we've had the Bush tax cuts for four years, too, and that hasn't ignited the economy. And you take a look at what's happened in Europe. We are in real trouble”
But given all of that, Buchanan said he still detects “a lack of seriousness on the part of the president” in dealing with the hard facts.
At the very least, he said Obama should take the lead and say, “The economy is still down. Let’s extend the tax cuts [to every income earner] for one more year and do tax reform.”
Drawing a comparison between Obama and another recent Democratic president, Buchanan said Obama just doesn’t measure up. He said Bill Clinton wouldn’t “sit there and do nothing.”
“Bill Clinton would say, ‘Look, this thing’s not working, fellas,” Buchanan said, calling the former president a “hardcore, centrist Democrat.”
The problem now, Buchanan continued, is the president “is holding the whole economy hostage” by not doing anything that helps businesses plan, even for the short term.
Buchanan also offered some advice to Romney on picking his running mate and organizing the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa.
The political columnist gave a nod to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a possible ‘roll of the dice” choice. But he suggested that Romney might be able to win the election on his own and might consider going with someone who might be “a safer choice” who can deliver a key state.
“I would say my good friend T-Paw [former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty] could bring Minnesota, or maybe [Sen. Rob] Portman could bring Ohio,” he said.
Turning to the convention, Buchanan said Romney should do his best to make sure it’s not “boring.” That means bringing in Sarah Palin to join New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a key speaker to help shake things up.
“Why don’t you bring in all the voices of the party and say, ‘Look, you may not agree with these folks, those folks, but we are all united behind Governor Romney,’” he said. “Don’t . . . bore the country for, you know, four straight nights with speakers . . . who’ve been vetted.”
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