Another point is worth making about Karl Rove and Michael Gerson and Pete Wehner, all active members of an administration that added more spending, more debt and more government to America than any since LBJ. They were all dismissive and contemptuous of criticisms that their administration was fiscally reckless. Rove will say and write anything, of course, so expecting any kind of personal responsibility for the fiscal wreckage on his watch would be de trop, but seriously, it's still amazing that a man with his record can write this with a straight face:
It was the concern of independents and "soft partisans" about national debt and spending that gave rise to Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election. More significantly, independents angry about deficits and spending were the key swing bloc in the 1994 congressional races, where Republicans picked up eight Senate seats and 54 House seats, winning their first House majority since 1955.
This is the same Rove who said to my face in 2001, as I complained about debt, that "deficits don't matter" and that "the public doesn't vote on deficits." As for Gerson, at least he has this fig leaf:
I am not generally a deficit hawk. A government can run a responsible deficit in a growing economy -- and may have to run one to counteract an economic downturn. But Obama's proposed level of debt is irresponsible.
But adding an unfunded $32 trillion entitlement - which is part of the debt load that Obama projects over the next ten years - never prompted a twitch of anxiety when Bush did it.
We will indeed need to address entitlement and defense spending for the long term once this crisis is past. The long-term budget forecasts from Obama are indeed intolerable. But the president himself has said he intends to tackle this, and brought many Repiublicans into the tent at an early fiscal responsibloity summit. He spent more time with Congressional Republicans in the stimulus package debate than Bush did. For all this, he will be tarred as a radical, polarizing extremist. Projection, again.
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