Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Fascinating Facts That Have No Bearing On Our Political Discourse
Well, well, well. Turns out President Obama is NOT a big spender. Any liberal could have told you that. Paul Krugman could have told you that repeatedly.
In fact, anything strike you about that chart? Who is REALLY good at controlling spending? Not the Republicans. Now some of that is because two years into Clinton and Obama's presidencies, they lost control of Congress (or at least the House), and divided government tends to reduce spending.
But Democrats controlled the House in all but two years of the Reagan/Bush I era. They had significant control of the Congress for the last two years of Bush II.
Maybe it's because when the GOP is in power, they want to retain power. Maybe it's because they realize that people "hate government in general but like it in the specific" and therefore do things the public wants.
The other day there was someone saying that Obama enjoyed a substantial (and unsurprising) lead over Mitt Romney on foreign policy. And that was, like, weird! A Democrat enjoying higher approval on foreign policy? Unpossible! Except that C+ Augustus did such a crappy job overseas that Americans have decided to give the Democrats a look and discovered they generally prefer the approach that have characterized Democratic foreign policy since William Jennings Bryan resigned from Wilson's cabinet.
So, too, the idea that Democrats are bigger spenders is part of the tacit understanding of American politics. It doesn't matter if it's true (turns out it's not, at least at the Presidential level), it FEELS true.
And no amount of data will convince people otherwise.
Which is why our political discourse is so stoopud.