By Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast
This is the kind of reality that makes Sean Hannity’s head explodes. So far, the GOP candidates have been running against a fictional president with a fictional record. Obama didn’t campaign to increase government spending, but inheriting what was in the final quarter of 2008 an annualized contraction of 9 percent of GDP, he opted for a stimulus. That accounts for much of the spending.
I know we are supposed – along with Fox News – to have total amnesia about the spending record of George W. Bush, who had nothing like the recession Obama inherited to counter. But there it is. Along with the fact that of the last seven presidents, the top three spenders are all Republicans.
One worry I have about a president Romney is exactly such a scenario. He has proposed to slash all taxes and increase defense spending by a stupendous amount. He has yet to identify the massive cuts in discretionary and entitlement spending he would need not to explode the debt as his GOP predecessors have done in the modern era.
But if you’re going by the records, and want fiscal restraint, you’d be crazy at this point to back a Republican, without examining the fine print in extreme detail. Pity there isn’t any for Romney yet. Which tells you something in itself.