Posted by: Jeff | October 18, 2010

Where Have All the Democrats Gone?

I was talking to a friend this morning about the Kentucky Senate debate from last night – the one where Democratic candidate Jack Conway did nothing but lob bombs about Rand Paul’s college flirtation with something called “Aqua Buddha” – and Rand Paul spent his allotted time calling Conway a coward, liar, and moral degenerate.  And it begs a question – why are Democrats using inane personal issues to attack Republican candidates from the right?  Especially for those GOPers currying favor from the Tea Party, isn’t this a lost cause?

I can understand the motive behind hitting a Tea Party candidate from the right on ideological issues.  After all, GOP support right now is coming from many disparate groups who want many different things.  But it seems to me that there is a really bleeding obvious conservative issue that Democrats could use as an electoral wedge.  Fiscal responsibility.

Three fiscal policy issues that every Democrat should be talking about, but so few of them are:

  1. The Bush tax cuts.  The expiration of these cuts is not an issue of raising taxes.  Indeed, the tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, there is little evidence that they stimulated the economy (exhibit A: the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression), and they were never intended to be permanent.  Even Bush realized that anything but a temporary reduction in government revenue would be disastrous.  The Bush tax cuts are in part why you get graphs like this:
     

     

    Budget Deficits as Proportion of GDP

  2. The other reason for the rise in deficits under Bush?  The Iraq War.  There is a significant amount of consensus among the American people that the Iraq War was a bad idea.  The majority of Americans understand that we were sold a bill of goods from the Bush Administration that did not represent reality.  There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein was not consorting with al Qaeda.  And Iraq did not pose an imminent threat to the strategic interests of the United States in the Middle East.  At least, no interests that energy diversification couldn’t have also solved.
     
    Why are no Democrats talking about this?  Obama announced an end to combat operations in Iraq in August.  Yes, this is a bit of a faux end to an operation that continues to go on in Iraq.  But the very fact that it is ongoing isn’t Obama’s fault.  It is the Republicans who orchestrated the occupation and committed American blood and treasure to the conflict for at least a decade.
     
    According to the National Priorities Project, we have spent $738 Billion on Iraq since 2003.  There’s your deficit.
  3.  

  4. Health Care Reform will reduce spending outlays on health care over the next ten years to the tune of $143 Billion.  According to the Congressional Budget Office:
     
    “H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal—would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues. That figure comprises $124 billion in net reductions deriving from the health care and revenue provisions and $19 billion in net reductions deriving from the education provisions.

Republicans cut federal revenue (irresponsible tax cuts) at a time when federal spending was spiraling out of control due to an unwarranted war (Iraq).  Since getting voted out of office, Republicans then opposed a reform package that reduced federal spending by $150 billion AND increased choice and affordability for consumers seeking insurance.  If Republicans were on the wrong side of those three fiscal issues, where are they going to stand as the fiscal crisis continues to worsen?

And why aren’t Democratic candidates making these points?

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Responses

  1. I am sadden by the number of Democrats who are running for the hills. We need to stand for something, rather than fall for all the lies and deceptions being spread by the news media and the special interests groups funding some of the sorriest, unqualified people masquerading as concerned Americans. The world is shaking it’s head in dismay as we’re all being led by our noses to the edge of the precipice. If unemployment were down to 8.6% rather than hovering at 9.6%, we’d all be dancing a jig. We need to snap out of it, or we’re all going to wake up with a very nasty hangover on November 3rd!


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