PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Howard Kurtz looks at deficit politics:
If Bush believes in keeping federal spending under control, why did he sit back and allow his party to pass one pork-laden, budget-busting bill after another while his veto pen rusted? Even many Republicans grew disenchanted with their party’s belated embrace of big government.
Which brings me to the Democrats.
They ran in ’06 as the party of fiscal sanity, and delivered last week by restoring the pay-as-you-go rules in the House. This means no new spending can be approved without cutting other spending or raising taxes.
The problem is that this will prevent the Dems from delivering on other promises they’ve made on health care and other issues. And the truth is, you get very little public credit for reducing the deficit. It’s an abstraction to most people. Ross Perot helped make it an issue in 1992, but other than in that brief interlude, politicians know it’s easier to win reelection by pointing to new (and costly) initiatives than a reduced flow of red ink.
I’d like to see more outside pressure on this topic, and I think it’s important to test the actions of both Bush and the Congressional Democrats against the promises they’ve made about deficit reduction.