A Brush With Fiscal Sanity Repudiated

Yesterday I discussed the brouhaha about to break out over GA GOP SEN front-runner David Perdue’s horrific failure to make it clear in an ed-board interview that his interest in increasing federal revenues didn’t mean an openness to increasing taxes. Sure enough, Perdue’s opponents leaped onto his sin of omission with talons fully extended, and before suppertime he was backpeddling furiously. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s political blog briskly summed up the action:

Word of Perdue’s comments sparked a blitz of fundraising pitches and pleas for support from his GOP rivals:

From U.S. Rep. Paul Broun: “Based off recent comments, it appears as if David Perdue picked the wrong primary for his first political venture. David Perdue is so moderate he makes Saxby Chambliss look like the head of the Tea Party!”

Chambliss, you might recall, is the current U.S. Senator from Georgia who was essentially pushed into retirement for his heretical support for a fiscal proposal based on the Simpson-Bowles Commission plan.

From U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston: “If we want to get the economy moving again, we need to get Washington to live within its means and get government out of the way of America’s job creators. David Perdue’s tax increases will only hurt our economy.”

From former secretary of state Karen Handel: “Every conservative know that ‘raising revenue’ is code for raising taxes. Nice try.”

Perdue went on Herman Cain’s WSB Radio show to clarify:

“I’ve been preaching for over a year that to solve the debt crisis we have to cut federal spending, and we have to grow the economy. The other day in the editorial-board interview, I said we need to cut taxes so we can grow revenue ‑ without tax increases, I might add.”

Yeah, well, David, you might have added that “no tax increases” bit to your Macon Telegraph interview to begin with, and you wouldn’t be backpeddling right now.

The key question is whether Perdue’s lead based on massive soft-focus Romneyesque advertising about his business genius can be reduced or eliminated by this incident. If it is, this moment will go into the massive file of evidence that of all the deadly sins a Republican candidate for office can be accused of, the worst is an interest in fiscal sanity at the potential expense of the GOP’s wealthy backers.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.