President Obama's much-anticipated speech about the economy Thursday was supposed to distinguish his vision of the future from presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney's, and it did. As I wrote in my last post, Obama made a case for spending more -- on education, infrastructure, research and other pursuits that benefit the country in the long run -- and taxing more to pay for it.
Not surprisingly, he prefaced that message with yet another recap of his predecessor's missteps. Obama can't seem to help himself; he's always looking backward even when he's trying to cast the election as a choice about the future.
But at some point, voters are going to tire of revisiting how we got into this mess, if they aren't already. The risk for the president is that they'll tune out, missing what he says about where we should be going now.
The folks at American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-affiliated political group that's backing Romney and other GOP candidates, are trying to hasten that process. They posted an edited version of Obama's speech on YouTube that adroitly mixes the muffled teacher's voice from the Charlie Brown television specials with withering summations of Obama's comments. The reductionist version is all about the past, not the future -- which is precisely what Romney wants the election to be about.