Mitt Romney said this on May 15 in an Iowa speech:
When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep hoping the wind might blow another direction. They knew that their survival was up to them.A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.
It's a wonder how Mitt Romney can continue using incorrect, Obama's-coming-to-get-you-and-your-chillens rhetoric like this and not be considered utterly disreputable when it comes to talking about government spending. One of the more curious things about the political world and its media is the manner in which boldfaced lies that can be disproved with a Google or Nexis search become not only accepted truths, but becomes known as "conventional wisdom."
The Barack Obama is a Big Spender™ thing, for example, is pure rubbish, and has been proven as such ad nauseum -- yet continues to be a valid point of conversation in our political dialogue. The latest salvo has been fired, and it is a doozy.
Rex Nutting of The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch site put up a post yesterday entitled, "Obama spending binge never happened," and goes on to show -- using the graph at right and other facts -- why folks (especially Republicans) have the wrong idea. Better yet, he shines a light on how silly it was that anyone would ever believing that was true:
Why do people think Obama has spent like a drunken sailor? It’s in part because of a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal budget...Like a relief pitcher who comes into the game with the bases loaded, Obama came in with a budget in place that called for spending to increase by hundreds of billions of dollars in response to the worst economic and financial calamity in generations ... If Obama had been a king who could impose his will, perhaps what the Republicans are saying about an Obama spending binge would be accurate.Yet the actual record doesn’t show a reckless increase in spending. Far from it.
Andrew Sullivan elaborated on why President Obama was right correct not to reverse that spending, and warned about what would happen if the Republicans accusing the President of being reckless with the country's finances. Jamelle Bouie had a similar thought on the Washington Post's Plum Line blog:
...as Jonathan pointed out yesterday, the Romney budget outline — if implemented in full — would be a disaster for the federal budget. It would require either deep cuts to existing social programs or tremendous deficits, and since past Republicans have been reluctant to make the cuts necessary to square the circle, there’s a high likelihood that Romney would also take the path of least political resistance. And so, like his Republican predecessor, a President Romney would finance massive tax cuts with soaring deficits. Instead of trying to stop the “prairie fire of debt,” as promised in his speech, he would spark it.
If we're going to have a conversation about the "prairie fire of debt," let's be honest about who started it, and who would douse it with gasoline.