President Obama deviated from his campaign’s talking points during an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski at a campaign rally in New Hampshire last Saturday in order to address some of his ‘big government’ criticisms. The president told the Morning Joe hosts that if he gets re-elected he wants to reduce the size of the federal government by consolidating nine federal agencies.
The president stated that this would promote a leaner cabinet that would fall under one department led by a “Secretary of Business.” He explained that the Secretary of Business would be a “one stop shop” for managing the business-related responsibilities of the federal government. Obama highlighted components of the Small Business Association (SBA) and the Department of Commerce to be potential targets for this merger. He states that under one unified bureaucracy, this merger would save money, be easier to manage, and would streamline the functionality of government.
These proposals have now become the center of Governor Romney’s latest attacks against the president. This was featured Thursday during a campaign event in Virginia, where Romney explained to his supporters that President Obama is “considering putting in place a Secretary of Business, a Department of Business” even though we “already have a Department of Commerce.” Romney continued his criticism of the president’s proposal by stating that a “new chair in the [president’s] cabinet” will not create jobs for the American people.
Ironically, these remarks were later batted-away by the pundits, describing Romney’s comments to be nothing more than campaign fodder. The irony is not in Romney’s hollow critique. Rather, it is that Romney is attacking something he claims to embrace: shrinking the size of the federal government. What is even more ironic is that Romney is using his last few days on the campaign trail to attack the same mantra of his self-described idol, Ronald Reagan.