Obama is selling his own fantasies. He told Harwood that he would not alter his plans for a middle-class tax cut, adding that "It's important to pay for it." How? Through closing "tax havens and loopholes." In other words, sticking it to the "bad guys" without any pain for the rest of us. Sorry, but that's just not a serious proposal.
When asked if he would cut back his $100 billion plan to extend healthcare coverage, Obama demurred by saying, "Keep in my mind, my healthcare plan is paid for."
Well, no, it's not. Paying for it would require abolishing the Bush tax cuts for "the wealthiest Americans." And unless a President Obama has a filibuster-proof majority of 60 Democratic senators — which he won't — repealing those tax cuts would be extremely difficult.
Another favorite Obama fantasy, especially popular with union members in swing industrial states like Ohio and Michigan: Renegotiate (or even negate) the NAFTA trade pact, and steel and auto jobs will return to the Rust Belt like swallows to Capistrano. No, they won't.
The next president will inherit a real mess: a slumping economy, soaring budget deficits and very few dollars to spend on new initiatives. So when the candidates tell you to believe in Tinkerbell, resist the temptation to clap.