David Brooks is shocked — SHOCKED — that Barack Obama tuned out to be liberal! 

You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.

But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.

So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.

And the real kicker:

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

Emphasis mine.  Well, actually, emphasis of this was made by Republicans long before election day.  One only had to look at his record, such as it was, to know this.  And yet these "Brooks Moderates" were so caught up in the words and the history of it all that they apparently turned off those parts of their brains responsible for critical thinking.

Looks like the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune did the same thing.


The Obama administration and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate are blowing the lid off of spending restraint. But they’re finally meeting some resistance within their own party.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), in an essay published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, ripped a spending bill passed by the House last week as "a sprawling $410 billion compilation of nine spending measures that lacks the slightest hint of austerity from the federal government or the recipients of its largesse."

He said he will vote against it, and he urged President Barack Obama to veto it if it passes the Senate. We second that motion.

(Hat tip: Don Surber)  The Tribune endorsed Obama, and now they’re thinking they can pull back the reigns.  They sound like they’re saying, "Obama’s a big spender?  Who knew?"

I will heartily agree that Republicans spent very irresponsibly during their tenure with control of the Legislative and Executive branches.  But Democrats, true to their ever-constant form (a form that moderates like Brooks should have look to history, even recent history, to confirm), have outspent Republicans by a huge, huge margin.  "Tax and spend" wasn’t a catchphrase made up by Ronald Reagan; it’s a description of their MO.

The Democrats who "rediscovered" fiscal responsibility during the Dubya years have shown that outrage to be mere window dressing than principle.  There are indeed Republicans who had the same problem during the Clinton years and while Democrats held Congress.  But there is simply no real equivalence here. 

While it is still true that Republicans will overspend less than Democrats, it pains me to have to put it that way.  Nonetheless, if you value fiscal responsibility, convincing Republicans to slow down on spending seems to me to have a far better chance of success than convincing Democrats of that.  Mr. Brooks, please take note.

Filed under: DemocratsEconomicsGovernmentLiberalPolitics

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