Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Modern political magic

Have you ever noticed that Democratic politicians have a new magical spell for erasing doubts about their competence on economic issues? It sometimes seems that no matter what outlandish ideas a Democrat believes, all it takes is a wave of the hand, a rolling back of the sleeve, and the magic word "Clinton" and the aura of economic omnicompetence is restored.

I stumbled across another example of modern political magic in the The New Republic Online's Democratic Convention Blog. We have the intoning of great name Clinton by the high priests of Clintonomics, the ritualistic reaffirmation of the Doctrine of Democratic Unity, and the mystical incarnation of Senator Kerry as one person with two natures: reliable restorer of prosperity and pragmatic "conservative" Democrat unified in one body. For an example of some extra smoke and mirrors to add to the effect, Andrew Sullivan's link to the same article contains the comment "Deficit reduction? Spending restraint? Well, at least you know they're not Bush Republicans."

It seems to me that there are some important facts being obscured by these types of comments. One is the certainty that Congress continually would attempt spending binges throughout the 90's and 00's regardless of who was elected president, simply because the fiscal conservatives have never had a voting majority in Congress. Another is the fact that any president who gained his position despite a shortage of 500,000 popular votes in the last election doesn't have the luxury of being able to launch a crusade for fiscal responsibility against his own party. A decisive 2004 election victory for President Bush might allow him to go a lot farther towards promoting fiscal responsibility in the federal government. Certainly it's going to take a lot more to curb government spending than trotting out the issue for an occasional Bush-bash.

As far as what a President Kerry would do in terms of government responsibility, maybe people should look up his voting record on "Hillary-care".


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