In Maureen Dowd’s flight of fancy about Obama doing debate prep with the West Wing’s imaginary president Jed Bartlet, there is much to laugh at, but my favorite is this:

BARTLET [playing Romney] “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare.”

OBAMA The $716 billion I’ve cut is from the providers, not the beneficiaries.

Oh! It comes from the providers, not the beneficiaries! Well, then!

Jed Bartlet is supposedly an economist, but Aaron Sorkin is not, and it shows. The idea that there is any difference between cutting from the providers and cutting from the beneficiaries is quite hilariously naive.

Honorable mention is this:

BARTLET “You doubled the deficit.”

OBAMA When I took office in 2009, the deficit was 1.4 trillion. According to the C.B.O., the deficit for 2012 will be 1.1 trillion. Either you have the mathematics aptitude of a Shetland pony or, much more likely, you’re lying.

That is so precious. Yes, if you don’t count his first year in office, Obama’s budget record doesn’t look as bad. After ballooning the deficit in the first year with his stimulus boondoggle (among other things), he can keep spending at the new elevated rate and look like a master of fiscal rectitude.

What is hilarious about this isn’t just the chutzpah of charging Obama’s stimulus plan, passed with virtually no Republican support, to President Bush. What is hilarious is to use this absurd talking point in a piece about how Romney is dishonest.

Yes, indeed; Mr. President, please take Maureen Dowd’s advice. I want to see you try to make that argument on the national stage.

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