Karl Rove’s alternate reality

KARL ROVE’S ALTERNATE REALITY…. One of the more common arguments from conservative members of Congress lately is that they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling because, as they see it, the budget mess isn’t the GOP’s fault. “We’re here mopping up their spilled milk, to be honest,” freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) recently said.

Karl Rove, not surprisingly, is thinking along the same lines.

A vote to raise the debt ceiling is an acknowledgment of past actions — in this case Mr. Obama’s massive spending since coming to office. Republicans are not to be blamed for Mr. Obama’s spending.

I don’t expect the editors at the Wall Street Journal to have standards for accuracy at all, but Rove has to realize such breathtaking nonsense is bound to get some attention.

There are no ambiguities here; the truth is indisputable. It was Rove’s White House that demanded massive tax cuts, and it was his party that added the costs to the national debt. They then chose to finance the war in Afghanistan by adding the costs to the national debt. They then put the costs of the war in Iraq onto the national debt. Rove’s White House demanded a massive expansion of the government’s role in health care, Medicare Part D, and piled all of its costs right onto the national debt, and then backed the financial industry bailout, and added the bill to the national debt.

In December, it was Rove’s party that refused to allow for a middle-class tax cut unless it included more expensive breaks for the wealthiest people in America. The entire package cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and by Republican design, all of the costs were added to the national debt

Indeed, GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, reflecting on the last decade when his party added trillions to the debt entirely on their own, recently said it was an era in which “it was standard practice not to pay for things.” It was, of course, the Republican Party that came up with this “standard practice.”

All the while, GOP policymakers had no qualms about voting to raise the debt limit, and never once held it hostage.

Am I saying that the budget mess is entirely the fault of Bush, Cheney, and shameless hacks like Karl Rove? Actually, yes, that’s pretty much what I’m saying. Responding to some of the other crises the Bush administration left behind, the Obama administration added some costs to the deficit, but by any sane measure, these costs were (a) necessary, (b) effective, and (c) quite minor in the larger fiscal picture.

Rove, meanwhile, ought to be begging Americans to forgive him for his role in this fiasco, not trying to shift the blame where it doesn’t belong. David M. Walker, the former comptroller general who served from 1998 through 2008, recently reflected on Rove’s former boss: “There’s no question in my view that Bush was the most fiscally irresponsible president in the history of the republic.”

“A vote to raise the debt ceiling is an acknowledgment of past actions”? That’s true, though Rove doesn’t have the courage to acknowledge which “past actions” are at issue here.