Sen. Barrasso: Grandma or The Big Bad Wolf?
I got a fund-raising letter from John Barrasso, boasting that he is now regarded as the “most conservative member of the U.S. Senate.” Hmmm, I wonder why a smart, moderate, articulate centrist decided to vie for that designation.
Crude analogies come to mind.
John blames the deficit on President Obama. He invokes Ronnie Reagan’s vision of a “shining city on a hill,” all populist imagery and no substance. John stresses accountability and honesty and being frank with the voters, yet he perpetuates the Reagan myth that supply-side economics would raise all boats and generate more tax revenue by cutting taxes and stimulating wealth. The myth was busted and Reagan forgot to stabilize taxes, so the deficit mushroomed.
Bill Clinton and his select Wall Street experts balanced the budget, but no one had time to notice because they were too distracted by Whitewater scandal myth and Monica Lewinsky.
Returning to the history of deficits and Presidents: after Clinton, the GOP reincarnates a drug-addled party boy who managed to mess up a major league baseball team, sends him to therapy and church, and reclaims the right to slash the daylights out of taxes and spend money like non-rehabilitated sailors, thus to generate both a massive federal deficit and a financial crisis so scary it raised investors from their graves.
Oh wait, say readers on hyperbole patrol: raising dead from their graves? That’s too much. Only voodoo worshipers do that. But, don’t I recall, George W’s smart dad ran against Ronnie, accusing him of, well, “voodoo economics.” When was that, 1980? George H. W. was right, to no avail, as first Ronnie and then George’s own son succumbed to the voodoo, 20 years apart with identical disastrous results. Voodoo in 2004-08: It raised the traders at the investment banks; I don’t know about the dead.
Nonpartisan reality commercial break: The country is broke. Cut spending, cut borrowing, raise revenue. Repeat after me: Cut spending (including defense and social spending), cut borrowing, raise revenue (taxes and user fees, such as mineral royalties).
So along comes John Barrasso, a likable, charming guy whose television health care series really is a public service. He touts honesty, honored only in the breach. (Gee we could do a rhyme here with trout and the beach.) It’s not honest or accountable to blame Obama for the financial crisis or the federal deficit. Even W blanched in the face of total Wall Street meltdown and passed the massive TROUT program. Taxpayers Retching Over Outlandish Greed.
(Oh, we got the Sage Grouse now, say alert readers, as well as the comatose ones: “Greed” doesn’t begin with “T.” Everyone knows that TARP begins with “T.”) Okay, it was TARP. Taxpayers Accepting Responsibility for (Fiscal/Monetary/Economic/IPO/Profit) Prostitution. Is that better?
Anyway, this happened on W’s watch. (In nautical terms, doesn’t “watch” imply wakefulness while on duty? Maybe not. Recall when W choked and nearly died while eating “pretzels” while watching “sports” on television alone in a locked room. No witnesses. More crude analogies come to mind. Monica, where did you go?)
Returning to Barrasso. We can assume that he wakefully watched Reagan triple the national debt, Clinton rein it in, then W just explode in ecstasy as he gave all the tax breaks to Wall Street and screwed the little guy, all the while boasting of solid conservative principles. Does John really buy into this as valuable public policy? Or has he decided that lazy pandering to the far right is the cheapest easiest way to win re-election? This is Voodoo Economics Three, folks. Accountability, Senator, please. You are a guy with talent and charm, who could use the force, rise above the fray, temper the extremes, forge good policy. But no. You defect to the Dark Side, preaching revisionism as truth and history.
History deployed in the service of electoral politics is always revisionist, isn’t it?
Remember, we studied Russian civics in high school, always mocking the Soviet teaching of revisionism? Look where it got them.