Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SC Gov. Mark Sanford makes "the conservative case for John McCain" in The Wall Street Journal. His argument centers on the idea that McCain will be a better fiscal steward than his Democratic opponent:
There is a yawning gulf between the viewpoints of Mr. McCain and those of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Nowhere is this more evident than on the critical issue of the steady collapse of our government's financial house.
Since 2000, the federal budget has increased 72%, to $3.1 trillion from $1.8 trillion. The national debt is now $9 trillion -- more than the combined GDP of China, Japan and Canada. Add in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security commitments, and as a nation we are staring at more than a $50 trillion hole -- an invisible mortgage of $450,000 for every American family.
Gosh, Governor, who has been president since 2000? And didn't that president vastly expand that entitlement deficit with the Medicare prescription drug program?
I know Sanford is a fiscal conservative. He was one of those House members who would actually vote against pork for his home state. And he had that famous moment when he brought a pair of pigs to the state house.
McCain certainly has fought the good fight against earmarks -- but it's disingenuous to parade him strictly as a tax fighter, as Sanford does in the article, since McCain did vote against the Bush tax cuts before deciding he'd better embrace their extension during this campaign.
The bigger issue here is that conservatives need to recognize that Republicans after Bush can no longer coast on their longstanding reputation for holding the line on spending. Democrats may indeed tax and spend. But contemporary Republicans borrow and spend.
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