Help me out here – which is going to collapse first? The credit worthiness of my state government (California) or the reputation of Meet the Press? Tim Russert interviews for the position of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign managing as he conducts perhaps the most kiss-ass interview I have ever seen. To save you the pathetic details, let me focus on the fiscal policy portions of this charade. First up:
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 17-point victory alone commands some attention, since it is easily the most impressive score by any Republican in a Democratic-leaning state this year – and it suggests a future for pro-environment, pro-business, fiscally conservative and socially moderate politics.
ARNOLD is for a minimum wage increase but he is described as pro-business? ARNOLD is for more spending but he doesn’t talk about how we’ll pay for this and he is described as fiscally conservative?
Let’s move on. When Schwarzenegger said the following:
Well, the mistake was not on what we were trying to do, because we need the reforms, and I think slowly we are seeing reforms happening in California. But what was wrong in—was the approach.
Russert could have followed-up by asking if the Governor was still pushing his conservative agenda while pretending to be a Democrat. Did he? Of course not. Instead he let Schwarzenegger get away with the Bush cheerleading:
Well, it’s basically being fiscally conservative, being socially moderate and you know, being environmentally progressive. I think that’s what it basically means. And you know, Tim, one of the most important things, I think, that this nation is facing is that we—while we must see economic progress—and I think we have had great progress economically and I think the Bush administration hasn’t gotten enough credit for that, the jobs are coming back, we have the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years or so, the economy’s booming—But we also have to protect the environment at the same time, and that’s what we are doing in California.
Yes – that supply-side miracle in action!. Speaking of the free lunch supply-side nonsense, Russert followed up some softball critique from the National Review with his solitary question about California’s deficit:
One of the issues that are confronting you is the continuing deficit in California and also the six million uninsured, without health insurance. The San Jose Mercury wrote an editorial on Friday and said this, “While other states have been racking up surpluses and squirreling away money, California has run up deficits and piled on debt. That can’t continue. In the latest five-year forecast, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office projects a $5 billion deficit in the coming year and a $4 billion deficit the year after. … Now, something’s got to give – either Gov. Schwarzenegger’s vow not to raise taxes or his campaign pledges to fix health care and reform education. The latter should be the priority. He shouldn’t abandon promises on behalf of students and the [6 million] uninsured. … Schwarzenegger should swallow hard and consider taxes: either a dedicated tax, like raising the tobacco tax, or a temporary tax. … [Another] option worth exploring: expanding the sales tax to include some professional services in exchange for reducing the sales tax rate.” How do you juggle that?
Uh oh – a real question – maybe. Let’s see how Schwarzenegger handled this?
Well, Tim, when I came into office, they said exactly the same thing: I got to raise taxes, I got to raise taxes, please raise taxes by at least 5 billion or $8 billion a year. And I said, “No. We’re going to stimulate the economy,” and that’s exactly what we’ve done, we’ve stimulated the economy. Now our revenues went up by $20 billion, first from 76 billion to $96 billion without raising taxes. That is the way to go. I think what we have to do in the future is, is we’ve got to go and pay down our debt, which we have been doing. And we have done a tremendous job of bringing down the structural deficit from $16 ½ billion when I took office to now $4 ½ billion. And we’re going to come down further this year and we’re going to eliminate it by next year or the year after that. I think that’s what we need to do. Never raise taxes, it wouldn’t happen.
Now one would think that Russert would hammer this free lunch BS, but no – Russert’s follow-up was why the U.S. wasn’t letting ARNOLD run for President. Look – I’d like a real governor whether he was a slash and burn conservative or a Democrat who was honest enough to tell me that ARNOLD’s spending on roads and education means I’ll have to pay more taxes. But we Californians were stupid enough to re-elect a “big government” pandering lying wimp. We have to deal with own our stupidity for four years, but why on earth hasn’t NBC fired Tim Russert?