Former Bush adviser Karl Rove responds to Democrat attacks about spending in today's Wall Street Journal, but in the partisan rancor he seems to miss a bigger point: Americans are tired of both parties' reckless spending:
Consider that from Jan. 20, 2001, to Jan. 20, 2009, the debt held by the public grew $3 trillion under Mr. Bush—to $6.3 trillion from $3.3 trillion at a time when the national economy grew as well.
By comparison, from the day Mr. Obama took office last year to the end of the current fiscal year, according to the Office of Management and Budget, the debt held by the public will grow by $3.3 trillion. In 20 months [till October, the end of the 2010 fiscal year for the federal government], Mr. Obama will add as much debt as Mr. Bush ran up in eight years.
What seems to be lost on Rove is that all this deficit spending -- by both parties -- is driving voters nuts and forcing them to go back and forth between the parties, a la Republican losses in 2006 and 2008, Democrat losses in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009 and now Massachussetts in 2010.
While both sides engage in a "We're not as bad as the other" fingerpointing, voters expect better performance out of both parties. We're not getting it. The Republican candidates who have signed up to represent Travis County voters should understand this dynamic is at the core of voter discontent with both parties and is motivating independents and centrist Democrats right now.
The next thing that the political class will do is blame voters, saying we expect so much from and don't want to pay for it. How about this? You guys become better leaders and tell the public when it can't have its cake and eat it too!