Where is the guy who pulled our car out of the ditch?
Remember? In May of 2010 when President Obama encapsulated a ton of economic jargon for the average American in one succinct metaphor: "After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can't drive. We don't want to have to go back into the ditch."
His "Republicans are like bad drivers" remarks -- first served at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) fundraising dinner and then offered to future audiences like free refills -- made the economic mess understandable to the average American.
But God knows what toxicity the president experienced in Washington that keeps him glued to a stale one-liner -- the math doesn't add up -- when it comes to exposing the follies of the Romney tax proposal. His neurons are in dire need of Miracle-Gro if a "sketchy deal" is the best metaphor he could germinate after months of campaigning.
Who cares about the math not adding up if the governor keeps getting an "A" on his economic plan?
So here are five fresh metaphors the president ought to consider while explaining the inadequacies of Romney's tax proposal to five different audiences across the nation. Imagine the president talking to...
1. Children: Look, Governor Romney's tax plan is like saying: Five rabbits plus one elephant equals three rabbits. If you ask: "How is that possible?" The governor will explain: "You see the elephant ate two rabbits." "But elephants" -- you wonder -- "don't eat rabbits." To this, the governor will respond: "In Massachusetts, they did."
2. Students: Governor Romney's tax plan is like saying: I can show you how to save 3000 songs, 10 movies, and 500 pictures in your 8GB iPod Touch. He will accomplish that by removing your contact list, using files in a compressed format and ditching the gaming apps. Don't doubt him for a second because Romney still likes the playlist on his iPod better than Paul Ryan's.
3. Travelers: Governor Romney's tax plan is like saying: Next time you fly, he could save you big on luggage charges. He proposes that you stuff all your belongings in three carry-on bags and sneak into the plane. If caught, then stuff your pockets with towels, wear multiple layers of pants, shirts, and jackets and pack the rest in two carry-on bags. Cut some slack to the poor guy. People flying in private jets don't know that airlines allow you only one carry-on item.
4. Homemakers: Governor Romney's tax plan is like saying: I can reduce your home utility bills by 50 percent per month without you changing your lifestyle. He would do it by fixing the leaky faucets and switching to energy-saver bulbs. When you snap that there aren't that many leaks and bulbs in your house to cause that big a dent, he says: Just trust me. There are.
5. Weight-watchers: Governor Romney's tax plan is like saying: I can help you reduce your weight by 25 percent in one month and you don't even have to stop eating Big Macs, French fries and ice cream. He plans to get you back in shape by closing the loopholes of using elevators and living like a couch potato. Have faith. Don't be skeptical.
Mr. President, in the same speech to DCCC, you said: "After a stormy time, people may be a little sea sick. But right now the waters are calm. There on the horizon we can see our destination. Now is not the time to lose heart... Now is the time to remind ourselves of what America is all about..."
I agree. After nearly four years of watching partisan waves crash, the people are a little sea sick. But there are no calm waters in sight. We are unable to see our destination through a thick cloud of economic jargon. Now is not the time for you to be professorial.
Use strong metaphors and remind us of what America is all about.
This article was originally published here.
Dr. Younus is a clinical associate professor at the University of Maryland. He is the founder of Muslimerican.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org