Fair Blame Game

The liberal hive mind has thought over the S&P downgrade and come up with their slogan: it's the "Tea Party Downgrade!" John Kerry and David Axelrod were on the Sunday chat shows, frowning and frumping over this phrase, which you will no doubt see repeated in every left-leaning newspaper column published in the next two weeks. Powerline wonders if they can possibly sell this line.

Put aside for a moment the fact that Obama’s willingness to compromise was entirely theoretical; never did he put such a compromise plan on the table. His FY 2012 budget proposal was anything but a compromise; it included no entitlement reform and projected massive deficits for as far as the eye could see, and therefore received not a single vote in Congress.

What is most ludicrous is the Democrats’ effort to distract attention from the fact that they controlled Congress from January 2007 until January 2011. The first Congress that had any ability to be influenced by the Tea Party movement has been in office for only six months. Do the Democrats seriously expect anyone to believe that S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt arises out of something that Republican Congressmen have done in the last six months? We expect the Democrats to appeal to ignorance at all times, but this is ridiculous.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. What did the Democrats do with respect to federal debt during the four years they controlled both Houses of Congress? Here is a summary of the deficits the Democrats racked up during that time:

FY 2008 — $460 billion

FY 2009 — $1,410 billion ($1.4 trillion)

FY 2010 — $1,300 billion ($1.3 trillion)

FY 2011 — $1,600 (estimated) ($1.6 trillion)

Of the $14.5 trillion national debt, nearly $4.8 trillion–one-third of the total–was incurred during that four-year period when the Congress was exclusively controlled by the Democrats. Moreover, and equally important, during that time the Democrats did nothing to assure the markets that they have a long-term plan to deal with the country’s burgeoning debt. On the contrary, for more than two years the Congressional Democrats have refused to adopt or even to propose a budget! If you are looking for the reason why rating agencies have lost faith in the ability of our government to get its spending and debt under control, you need look no farther

Well, I don't know, but it has already worked on Megan McArdle who thinks Republicans should be/ will be "blamed."
I'm afraid I think that the lion's share of the blame goes to the GOP, which escalated to this completely unnecessary showdown, and then gave up any hope of a grand bargain because it would have required some revenue increases.

(But what about the specifics? I hear you cry. I find this singularly unconvincing as a rebuttal. The GOP was extraordinarily, um, specific about their total aversion to revenue increases, a position that they continued right up to the brink of a crisis, which makes me think that it was not merely a clever negotiating tactic. It is therefore not some sort of horrifying example of Democratic perfidy that the negotiations never went beyond fairly broad generalities. It's an example of what happens when you signal that you aren't going to compromise no matter what)

This was not terroristic, psychopathic, or whatever, and the people who used those sorts of epithets have forfeited the moral high ground they claim to occupy. I sympathize with the Tea Party's goals of smaller government. I even kind of understand what they thought they were trying to do. But it was an enormously counterproductive tactical mistake, and though of course I would say this, I believe it was made because everyone who tried to point this out was ignored . . . nay, not just ignored, but derided as a Beltway Insider Commiesymp.

In that political environment, hell, I'd downgrade us.

I'm sorry, but this was stupid. It hurt the country, and it hurt the party that staged the protest vote even more. All for very little gain
Jesus Christ, it's like the past 30 months never happened. Someone email those Powerline numbers to McArdle. Roughly one-third of the country's debt was taken on by Democrats in the Congress and the Executive Branch. (after spending the Bush years complaining about out-of-control spending!) The offer that Republicans supposedly couldn't refuse was to take ownership of that debt by increasing taxes and establishing unsustainable spending as the new baseline. Well I think that's an offer that's eminently refusable.

McArdle is a nice lady, one of the nicest in the blogosphere. She's got plenty lot of integrity, especially in her refusal to go along with liberal math. But, politically she's an unreliable fool: a "libertarian" who voted for Obama, and can never seem to support shrinking the size of government when it's time to head to the ramparts. You can meet a lot of libertarians like her. They're the ones who are smart enough not to be liberals but don't want to seem dumb, so they can't abide being Republican/Conservative. They know liberalism doesn't work, but...Sarah Palin is dumb and Rush Limbaugh is a blow-hard so it all balances out, I guess.

Fact is the downgrade is a national disgrace, even if it comes at the hands of a firm that is just as likely trying to make amends for "missing" the Crash of '08 as it is in taking a sober look at the American balance sheet. People should be losing their jobs over this. Tim Geithner, for one should absolutely resign his office, but right now the only people calling for that are Michelle Bachmann and the State Treasurer of Indiana. Does McArdle really think the Indispensable Man has less blame to take in this affair that the GOP?

No doubt if you look hard enough McArdle's archives will contain some unflattering comments about Bachmann who is one of the few elected officials out there brave enough to have warned of this downgrade and voted accordingly. But, she has migraines, a "gay" husband, and is "crazy." (that's as opposed to Sarah Palin who also warned for years about America's credit rating and is therefore "stupid").

Conservative Republicans have been warning for years that the US was on an unsustainable fiscal course. When the "moderate" Obama revealed himself to be a hard leftist, and began racking up trillion dollar deficits, the entire Republican Party recoiled as one, with the bitter exception of Arlen Specter. The "radical" Tea Partiers of 2009/10 were so disturbed by the pace of spending that they literally could not stay home, but took to the streets in peaceful protest. And now McArdle wants these folks to take the blame?

If that is indeed what happens, then there is literally no justice.

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