Politics

Remember Back When Democrats Criticized Republicans for Exploding the National Debt?

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That was then

CHARLOTTE–Democrats so far this year aren't talking much at their national convention about the country's $16 trillion debt, its ongoing 40 percent-plus budget deficit, nor its unsustainable trajectory on entitlements. But that's in sharp contrast to their 2008 convention, when fiscal recklessness was one of the most popular charges thrown at Republican nominee John McCain and then-president George W. Bush. A sampling of what Democratic rhetoric looked like back when Team Red held power:

Democratic Party Platform:

In this time of economic transformation and crisis, we must be stewards of this economy more than ever before. We will maintain fiscal responsibility, so that we do not mortgage our children's future on a mountain of debt. [..]

Our agenda is ambitious–particularly in light of the current Administration's policies that have run up the national debt to over $4 trillion. Just as America cannot afford to continue to run up huge deficits, so too can we not afford to short-change investments. The key is to make the tough choices, in particular enforcing pay-as-you-go budgeting rules. We will honor these rules by our plan to end the Iraq war responsibly, eliminate waste in existing government programs, generate revenue by charging polluters for the greenhouse gases they are releasing, and put an end to the reckless, special interest driven corporate loopholes and tax cuts for the wealthy that have been the centerpiece of the Bush Administration's economic policy.

Hi Hill!

Hillary Clinton:

[A]fter eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home; and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead of us: jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices, a Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock, and our government in partisan gridlock; the biggest deficit in our nation's history, money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis; Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

Evan Bayh:

George Bush took the largest surplus in our nation's history and turned it into the largest deficit, borrowing billions from China, Japan, even Mexico. John McCain would continue this dangerous fiscal irresponsibility. That is not the change we need. […]

[Barack Obama] will reduce the record deficit and bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. 

Jim Leach:

[T]he party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.

America has seldom faced more critical choices: [….] Whether it is prudent to borrow from future generations to pay for today's reckless fiscal policies or elect a leader who will shore up our budgets and return to a strong dollar.

Things looked different then

Nancy Pelosi:

Republicans say John McCain has experience. We say–John McCain has the experience of being wrong…on the failed Bush policies that has weakened our economy and taken us from the Clinton surplus to reckless Bush deficits[.]

Robert Casey, Jr.:

The Bush-McCain Republicans inherited the strongest economy in history and drove it into a ditch. They cut taxes on the wealthiest of us and passed on the pain to the least of us. They ran up the debt, gave huge subsidies to big oil companies, and now they're asking for four more years.

How 'bout four more months? We can't afford four more years of deficit and debt, drift and desperation. 

His wife used to shop at my supermarket.

Dennis Kucinich:

Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt.

Deval Patrick:

The same folks who say they believe in small government and fiscal restraint are responsible for the biggest expansion in the size of government and the size of the federal deficit in American history.

Mark Warner:

John McCain promises more of the same—a plan that would explode the deficit that will be passed on to our kids.