CHUTZPAH WATCH…. David Kurtz ponders a thought this morning that I consider literally every day.
One of the truly galling Republican political maneuvers over the last 10 years is to go from squandering a huge budget surplus, wracking up trillions in debt, ballooning the deficit, and leaving the next Democratic administration with an economy in shambles — then as soon as the Democrats are in charge refashioning themselves as budget hawks. You might even think they’re setting the Democrats up to fail. I know, hard to believe.
Why Republicans aren’t simply laughed off the stage at this point when they try to argue against budget deficits says a lot about Democratic ineptness, media collusion, and short political memories. But I still find it amazing.
I should be used to it by now, but I find it amazing, too. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently conceded when Republicans controlled the levers of power, “it was standard practice not to pay for things.”
Think about that concession. Then consider that the very same GOP lawmakers who believed it was standard practice not to pay for things are now outraged that Democrats — who aren’t relying on deficit spending to finance their agenda — aren’t acting quickly enough to clean up the budget mess Republicans left for them.
Talk about leading with one’s chin.
This isn’t ancient history; this was just a few years ago — Republicans turned huge surpluses into huge deficits, they added $5 trillion to the debt, and they embraced earmarks on an unprecedented level. They expanded the government’s role in health care (Medicare Part D) without paying for it. They expanded the government’s role in education (No Child Left Behind) without paying for it. They cut taxes by nearly $2 trillion without paying for them.
They also became the first governing party in the history of the country to finance a war entirely on deficit spending.
And now, these exact same officials — Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, Kyl, et al — believe they should be in the majority. Why? Because they’re worried about fiscal responsibility.
It’s as insane a political dynamic as anything I’ve seen in a generation.