David Axelrod is sick and tired of Karl Rove's pathetic attempts at rewriting the history of the Bush presidency and its disastrous consequences for America:
For its Topic A feature last Sunday, The Post invited a panel of political operatives to offer their advice to the Democratic Party on strategy for 2010 [Sunday Opinion, Jan. 10]. Improbably, one of the operatives asked was Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's longtime chief strategist.
Rove has some impressive campaign victories to his credit. But given the shape in which the last administration left this country, I'm not sure I would solicit his advice. And given the backhanded advice he offered, I'm not sure he was all that eager to help.
Of all the claims Rove made, one in particular caught my eye for its sheer audacity and shamelessness -- that congressional Democrats "will run up more debt by October than Bush did in eight years."
So, let's review a little history:
The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus -- with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit -- and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.
To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit.
It's doubly-delicious that Axelrod's fiery response came on the same opinion page graced by David Broder. No matter what Broder may argue about the importance of bipartisan fiscal responsibility, as Axelrod shows, recent history demonstrates that there's really been only one fiscally responsible party in this country, and that the Democratic Party.
More importantly, its good seeing the Administration defend itself from the attacks of the Fox-GOP-Rove virtual reality machine. Hopefully it's a signal that we're going to see a more combative approach from the administration towards its critics on the right, because if we've learned nothing else in the last year it should be this: you can't work with the lunatics on the right, you can only beat them. And for the good of the country, we do need to beat them.