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I’m beginning to believe the term “fiscal conservative” is an oxymoron.
As long as I have been reporting and commenting on politics (which is a long, long time), I have noticed that those promoting themselves as “fiscal conservatives” are always among the first to call for retreat on economic issues.
Ever since I became conscious of the term “fiscal conservative,” I’ve seen this phenomenon.
And I’m seeing it today more than ever – on steroids, as they say.
Let me give you an example.
There is a quiet movement afoot. It has gone practically unnoticed by the political class in Washington. Forget about the media establishment. They wouldn’t spot this if it were a runaway freight train.
Certain movers and shakers inside the Beltway – “fiscal conservatives” all – are actively promoting the idea to Republican lawmakers that they should increase the debt limit, as Barack Obama and the Democrats will be requesting.
The rationale they give is the following: “We’ll tie big cuts in the budget to raising the debt limit.” They’ll say this like it’s a new idea, when, in fact, it’s a very old idea that has never worked in the past. Quite simply, the steep budget cuts never come – and we continue to add an ever-increasing mountain of debt on the doorsteps of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, promote inflation, encourage more reckless government spending and risk a crisis that will make the Great Depression look like the good old days.
Who is promoting such wacky ideas? Who are these unnamed con-conspirators? Who are the “fiscal conservatives” about to betray fiscal conservatism once again?
OK, I’ll name names:
- Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform: Norquist talks like a true conservative. It’s his walk you have to watch. He is out there, right now, as you read this commentary, making the case for raising the debt limit – even before Obama asks. He doesn’t come right out and say that’s what he is for, of course – not when 80 percent of Americans oppose it. What he says is the kind of surrender you should expect from “fiscal conservatives.” He says we have to tie it to spending cuts. But that is not a fiscally conservative position. The fiscal conservative position should be: No more debt! There is no other responsible position to take.
- Dick Morris, Fox News’ favorite expert on everything political: He’s singing the same tune. In fact, I have it on good authority that these two are doing a road show together – meeting secretly with other “fiscal conservatives” to plot their next steps and win converts to their cause.
- Sen. Rand Paul, the tea-party favorite from Kentucky who thrilled us all just last November: It might sound tough to some when he talks about tying budget cuts to raising the debt limit, but, it actually signals surrender on the issue. It’s like telling your enemy you will unilaterally destroy your nuclear arms if they promise to behave. Once you raise the debt limit, all bets are off. We need to force the federal government to change its ways – Democrats and Republicans alike. House Republicans are in a position to keep the debt limit in place. That’s our nuclear weapon.
There are a number of other surrender monkeys out there – just salivating to give Obama the keys to destroy the American economy in the next two years. That’s what raising the debt limit actually means. It renders the November elections moot. It is a betrayal of what the majority said loudly and clearly on Election Day.
I wouldn’t trust these people as far as I could throw them.
When I hear about “fiscal conservatives” anymore, I just have to laugh.
There’s no such animal.
These people may think they’re conservative. They may call themselves conservative. But you have to watch their actions. Who is playing right into Obama’s hands by encouraging Republicans to agree in principle to raising the debt limit once again? These people are. They’ve already set negotiating terms for surrender.
Here’s my new definition of “fiscal conservative”: One who keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Of course, others would say it’s also the definition of insanity.