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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Spend, Borrow, Spin

Sometimes a political news story barely requires commentary. This is from today’s Washington Post:

Since Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, Congress has approved spending bills and tax cuts worth nearly $71 billion. An additional $5 billion in housing, education and small-business assistance cleared the Senate, even before the Medicaid bill was considered. A united Louisiana congressional delegation is seeking $250 billion more.Republican leaders say the overall cost could be $100 billion to $200 billion. Although mindful of criticism, the leaders contend that such one-time expenditures — albeit huge — should not harm deficit-reduction efforts.Prodded by conservatives, President Bush and GOP leaders have said they are willing to offset those costs with spending cuts. But realistically, the political will does not exist to vote through the cuts that have been proposed, said House leadership aides and sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Nor have Republican leaders given serious thought to reversing course on tax cuts, lawmakers said yesterday.”I don’t see any change in fiscal policy,” said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), a former vice chairman of the Budget Committee.The leadership has, however, felt the political sting of the recent deficit spending, which began with huge new transportation and energy bills this summer and cascaded into debt-financed hurricane relief this month. Republican leaders plan appearances this week on the syndicated radio talk shows of conservatives Sean Hannity, Tony Snow, Mike Gallagher and Lars Larson, as well as local radio and television shows, leadership aides said.

What a process. Enact unnecessary tax cuts, mostly for people who don’t need them. Spend like a drunken sailor. Borrow money from foreign governments and future generations. And when the red ink mounts to a degree that your own political base gets disgusted, then get out there and spin!If Democrats can’t figure out how to exploit the ongoing tragi-comedy of Republican fiscal policy, then we don’t deserve power.

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