Terrible, irresponsible column from David Leonhardt:

s the conventional wisdom has it, neither senator has been serious about the long-term budget deficit; both have made rosy assumptions about the revenue that will come from cracking down on waste, fraud, abuse, overseas tax loopholes and other vague fiscal bogeymen.

All this is true enough. Mr. Obama, for instance, relies on hypothetical savings from electronic medical records to claim that he can reduce the deficit, and he hasn’t been totally clear about his tax plans. But the unknowns about the McCain agenda are simply on a different scale.

So far, Mr. McCain is having it both ways. On the campaign trail, he has sounded like a bold tax cutter. To budget wonks, though, his campaign has gingerly inched away from those plans, saying details will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the most-cited analysis of his proposed budget doesn’t square with what he is saying on the stump.

What he doesn't understand here is that McCain is a well-known straight-talker whom everyone respects and knows is honest. Therefore, this analysis can't be right.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.