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Living in an Alternate Universe

During a 2008 town hall style campaign event, then-Senator Barack Obama told the crowd in attendance…

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the bank of China, in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

That same man, with a different title, this week told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that we don’t have a debt crisis.

Wow, how the tables have turned.

Senator Obama had a real problem with a Republican President accumulating $4 trillion in debt in his eight year term (by the way, we fiscal conservatives had a real problem with that, too), but seems to take no issue with his administration’s accumulation of over $7 trillion in debt in half the time. Such inconsistency defies common sense and any sense of reality.

While at first blush any reasonable observer would have to conclude that such conflicting statements by the Commander-in-Chief are the height of hypocrisy, the real reason was revealed in an interview with Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill. Hill, also a liberal commentator, concluded in an interview with Bill O’Reilly that “Obama’s debt is cooler.” To be fair, Hill sort of chuckled when he made this senseless statement, yet he still defended the statement at which he, himself, laughed. The argument made by Hill, and later by Austan Goolsbee, former economic advisor to President Obama, is that President Obama’s spending is actually “investment” in future growth, while President Bush’s spending was just spending. This is as stupid as it sounds, if you were curious. Debt is debt, and the consequence of a $17 trillion debt on future generations is just as devastating, regardless if it was accumulated by warfare or welfare.

Goolsbee’s assertion is that President Obama couldn’t help but drive-up the debt, as he has been contending with America in crisis since he took office. He also asserted that President Bush was presiding over a stable economy without a crisis, which is absurd. I’m not sure where Goolsbee was on September 11th, 2001, but he should probably pull his head out of the clouds and read a history book. The American economy tanked in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, while the nation went to war; it doesn’t get much more “crisis” than that. While I do not defend President Bush’s bad record on spending and debt, he dealt with a crisis far greater than anything our current President has handled, and still managed to run up only half the debt in double the time.

I do not make excuses for big-spending Republicans, because I believe that good policy should trump political allegiance. This sentiment is, obviously, not shared by that many folks on the Left. The defense of President Obama’s spending as “investment,” after ripping President Bush’s spending during his tenure as just “spending,” is embarrassing. Otherwise smart people like Hill and Goolsbee do a disservice to their careers, and their standing as credible men, by defending such indefensible flip-flops. One of the greatest crises facing our country is a crisis of character; the American people simply don’t believe our leadership anymore, of either party, and such stunningly dishonest defenses like those of Hill and Goolsbee of a President who has abandoned his own campaign themes, only reinforces such cynicism.

We need men and women of integrity in the fight for the future of freedom. If only the rhetoric of Senator Obama matched the actions of President Obama in the arena of economic policy, we would be outpacing the economic performance of the Bush years. Barack Obama’s rhetoric on the national debt in 2008 was right on target, but then he blew a hole in our budget that would make Bush blush. We desperately need principled leadership to heed the warning of candidate Obama from 2008, and get America on a sustainable fiscal course.

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