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To listen to the reigning king of earmarking and overseer of exploding deficits and debt from his perch in the U.S. Senate leadership, you’d think he had no culpability for the fiscal mess the country is in these days.
In a floor speech today he shamelessly pandered to the Tea Party factions invading the Capitol in an embarrassing attempt distract them from the truth.
"Thanks to everyday Americans like these getting involved, speaking their minds and advocating for common-sense reforms, I’m increasingly confident we’ll get our fiscal house in order. And Republicans are determined to do our part to advance the goals I’ve mentioned," he said.
But wait, what?
Here’s the truth about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) fiscal responsibility:
· In 2001, when the Senate passed tax cuts that eventually brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy, McConnell opposed efforts to include legislative triggers to force Congress to revisit tax and spending policies if the country’s surplus turned into a deficit.
· In 2003, he again opposed attaching any mechanism for fiscal responsibility to another set of
· He opposed putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on budget, cynically hiding the true monetary costs of those expensive wars from the American people and forcing them to finance those wars as 100 percent debt expenditures.
· In fiscal 2010, Mitch McConnell sponsored 60 earmarks totaling $113,000,000. In 2009 he sponsored 71 earmarks totaling $170,000,000. And in 2008 he sponsored 69 earmarks totaling $185,000,000 (source: opensecrets.org). That’s almost half a billion dollars in earmarks. (For the record, and I’ve written this in this space before, I don’t oppose earmarks, I just oppose hypocrisy.)
I could go on, but I guess by now you’ve gotten the point. McConnell’s spastic lurch to the right to pander to the most extreme Republicans can’t cover up his culpability in the fiscal disaster that happened under his watch and with the help of sketchy budgeting he and President Bush used to dupe the American people. (Yes, I went there. President Bush’s responsibility for the recession and near-bankruptcy of the United States does not diminish with time. He did it, and he can’t undo it. It’s called “personal responsibility,” remember?)
If the Tea Party were serious about holding government accountable for the federal fiscal crisis, they would start by clearing out their leaders like Mitch McConnell.
McConnell is just fanning the flames of the Tea Party that think the deficit magically appeared in January 2009 and that President Obama is responsible for all government spending, ever. McConnell’s speech was embarrassing and dishonest. Just like his pathetic attempt to rewrite his history of fiscal recklessness.
David Di Martino is CEO of Blue Line Strategic Communications Inc. The views expressed in this blog are his and do not necessarily represent Blue Line’s. Follow David: @bluelinedd.