by Jonah Goldberg
Dear Socially Liberal Fiscal Conservative Friend,
That's pretty toothy, so I'm going to call you Bob.
But whatever specific name you go by, Bob, you know who you are. You're the sort of person who says to his conservative friends or co-workers something like, "I would totally vote for Republicans if they could just give up on these crazy social issues."
When you explain your votes for Barack Obama, you talk about how Republicans used to be much more moderate and focused on important things such as low taxes, fiscal discipline and balanced budgets.
When Colin Powell was on "Meet the Press" the other day, you nodded along as he lamented how the
And, Bob, you think Republicans are acting crazy-pants on the debt ceiling. You don't really follow all of the details, but you can just tell that the
So, Bob, as a "fiscal conservative," what was so outrageous about trying to cut pork -- Fisheries in Alaska! Massive subsidies for
Bob, I'm going to be straight with you. I never had much respect for your political acumen before, but you're a sucker.
You're still spouting this nonsense about being fiscally conservative while insisting the
Well, let's talk about Eisenhower, your kind of Republican. Did you know that in his famous farewell address he warned about the debt? "We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage," he said. "We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."
Bob, we are that insolvent phantom, you feckless, gormless clod. The year Eisenhower delivered that speech, U.S. debt was roughly half our GDP. But that was when we were still paying off WWII (not to mention things like the Marshall Plan), and the defense budget comprised more than half the U.S. budget (today it's a fifth and falling). Now, the debt is bigger than our GDP. Gross Domestic Product is barely
When George W. Bush added nearly
Yet when Republicans actually have the courage of Obama's own convictions, you condemn them.
You nodded sagely when Obama said we needed a "balanced approach" to cut the deficit. He said he couldn't rein in entitlements without also raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires." Well, he won that fight. We raised taxes on millionaires and billionaires exactly as much as he wanted. We also raised the payroll tax on everyone.
Obama's response to getting the tax hikes he wanted? He says we still need a "balanced approach" -- i.e., even more tax hikes.
Anyone who calls himself a fiscal conservative understands we have a spending problem. Do the math. A two-earner couple that retired in 2011 after making
And yet you still think Paul Ryan's budget was "extreme." Do you know when it balanced the budget? 2040. What's a non-extreme date to balance the budget, Bob? 2113?
Look, Bob, I don't want to go spelunking in that cranium of yours. I don't know why you think you're a fiscal conservative. The simple fact is, you're not. The green-eye-shaded Republicans you claim to miss would be scandalized by the mess we're in, largely thanks to voters like you, Bob. Eisenhower would take a flamethrower to today's Washington.
I don't expect you to vote Republican, never mind admit you're simply a liberal. But please stop preening about your fiscal conservatism, particularly as you condemn the
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