Perrspectives - Bringing light to Darkness

For Holtz-Eakin, Bush Budget Lies Equal the Truth

February 24, 2009

During the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain's chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin took more positions on the federal budget deficit than Newt Gingrich has had wives. Within a matter of weeks last year, Holtz-Eakin alternately claimed John McCain would balance the budget by either 2013 or 2017, all before announcing in April, "I would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction." It is that comical record which makes Holtz-Eakin's criticism of Barack Obama's pledge to halve the budget in four years even more laughable.
Appearing on the News Hour on PBS Monday night, Holtz-Eakin pooh-poohed President Obama's deficit-cutting target and mocked his promise to end the fuzzy math and accounting sleight of hand George W. Bush used to mask his red ink. While guests Maya Macguineas ("they get credit for being very honest about the policies that they're going to put in the baseline") and Robert Greenstein ("he's using honest numbers") gave kudos to the new President's truth in budgeting, McCain's one-time numbers guy ridiculed Obama's vow of transparency.
Not, it turns out, because President Obama can't be taken at his word, but because George W. Bush couldn't be taken at his. For Holtz-Eakin, the Bush administration's budgetary omissions and distortions were so blatant that observers discounted the numbers altogether:

"I think the Bush administration's legacy of budgeting in ways that weren't exactly what we've seen in terms of what they actually wanted to do didn't fool anybody, so the notion that the transparency itself will solve all the problems I think is misplaced."

As George Costanza famously said on Seinfeld, "it's not a lie if you believe it." To Holtz-Eakin, the flipside is also true. George W. Bush's lies were so transparent as to render his budget forecasts truthful.
And so it goes. Even as Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh continue to peddle the long ago debunked GOP falsehood that President Obama will raise taxes on small business owners, Douglas Holtz-Eakin offered a new uniquely Republican insight.
The lie is the new truth.
UPDATE: Holz-Eakin's sophistry recalls George W. Bush's hilarious 2002 malapropism, "fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

Follow Us

© 2004 - 
 Perrspectives. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram