The era of bigger government
In his 1996 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton declared, “The era of big government is over.” But tonight in Charlotte, Mr. Clinton will urge voters to re-elect the biggest-government president of them all.
In that speech to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, Mr. Clinton will cite statistics supporting President Barack Obama’s case for keeping his job.
Just don’t expert to hear these numbers: The federal budget has soared from a mere $1.6 trillion in 1996 (the same year in which the premature herald of big government’s demise won re-election) to $3.8 trillion today.
Yes, some of that climb came on the two-term presidential watch of Republican George W. Bush.
No, most Democrats aren’t inclined to repeat the mistake Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley made Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Host Bob Schieffer asked the governor, “Can you honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago?”
Gov. O’Malley replied: “No, but that’s not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars — charged for the first time to credit cards, the national credit card.”
Mr. Schieffer’s apt comeback: “George Bush is not on the ballots.”
Gov. O’Malley played damage control Monday, telling CNN: “We are clearly better off as a country because we’re now creating jobs rather than losing them.”
Yet a significant number of Democrats on Nov. 6 ballots evidently think they are politically better off skipping this week’s convention. Among the missing: Senate incumbents Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and John Tester (Montana), and Senate challengers Richard Carmona (Arizona) and Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota).
So why aern’t they joining their party colleagues at President Obama’s re-nomination celebration?
Perhaps they’re rightly wary about being linked to unprecedented “stimulus” spending, “Obamacare,” trillion-dollar deficits and a record national debt that hit $16 trillion Tuesday.
Perhaps they’re also justifiably jumpy about these declines in Democratic elected officials, cited Monday by CNN’s John King, since Jan. 20, 2009: U.S. Senate (56 to 51), U.S. House (257 to 190), governor’s offices (29 to 20).
Democrats have also lost considerable ground in state legislatures under President Obama.
His party’s losing streak since he became president doesn’t mean he won’t be re-elected.
But that outcome is unlikely unless he convinces a lot of voters — and not just Democrats — that he has a positive plan to make our nation better off than it is today.
Of course, Republican nominee Mitt Romney faces the same challenge.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it, the era of big government is still not over.