FRED BARNES HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT…. Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes, arguably the most shamelessly partisan pundit in the country, has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, insisting that President Obama would be in great shape if Republicans take control of Congress.
In Washington these days, President Obama is rumored to be hoping Republicans capture the House of Representatives in the midterm election in November. There’s no evidence for this speculation, so far as I know, but it’s hardly far-fetched. If Mr. Obama wants to avert a fiscal crisis and win re-election in 2012, he needs House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be removed from her powerful post. A GOP takeover may be the only way.
Given the deficit-and-debt mess that Mr. Obama has on his hands, a Republican House would be a godsend. A Republican Senate would help, too. A Republican majority, should it materialize, could be counted on to pass significant cuts in domestic spending next year — cuts that Mrs. Pelosi and her allies in the House Democratic hierarchy would never countenance.
The budget mess, Barnes added, is the critical issue of 2012. “Mr. Obama’s re-election to a second term is heavily dependent on his ability to deal effectively with the fiscal mess,” the pundit argued.
I suppose it’s to be expected that the Wall Street Journal would publish such partisan palaver, but I’m hard pressed to imagine how anyone could believe this.
For one thing, the notion that the president is “rumored” to want Republican control of Congress is insane. For that matter, to argue that voters will care far more about the size of the deficit than job creation and economic growth is hard to take seriously.
But on a more fundamental level, I have no idea why Fred Barnes is convinced that a Republican majority will bring about an era of glorious fiscal responsibility. Perhaps Barnes was in an alternate reality for a while, but we just had an era of a Republican majority — and GOP policymakers were the most fiscally irresponsible bunch the United States has ever seen. We’re talking about a group of Republicans who turned a quarter-trillion-dollar surplus into a $1.3 trillion deficit. We’re talking about a group of Republicans who financed wars entirely through deficit spending — a feat never before tried in American history. We’re talking about a group of Republicans who, by their own admission, said it was “standard practice not to pay for things” when the GOP was in charge.
Indeed, Barnes neglects to mention it, but he’s whining about a budget mess without noting that his own party was responsible for creating the mess in the first place.
Joe Klein added, “Barnes is peddling from an empty sack here — and, assuming an even rudimentary knowledge of the federal budget on his part, he knows it. The fact that the Journal would print such twaddle as opinion and not the utterly cynical propaganda that it is shows the marked disintegration of respect for coherent thought at that Temple of Right-Thinking. It would be nice to have an actual conversation about this stuff, but it just seems impossible.”