The core problem with the liberal mind is the misguided and cancerous belief that strong leadership invariably equates to spending. The solution to better schools? More funding, they cry. How to eradicate poverty? Give the poor money, of course, through wealth-spreading programs. How to tackle unemployment? Well, you get it.
Actor Alec Baldwin provided the best insight into this sickness on Wednesday after appearing on Capitol Hill at a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). (Unfortunately it was Baldwin himself, and not his conservative alter ego, 30 Rock’s Jim Donaghy, advocating for campaign finance reform and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.)
Lamenting the unfortunate spirit of cost cutting in Washington, Baldwin was asked how President Obama was doing. In only 176 words, Baldwin inadvertently encapsulated the fecklessness of the liberal mind:
Well, I mean, I think so because I think that when you come into office and you want to put your mark on things — this is just my opinion, when you want to put your mark on things, you want to be able to spend. And what’s crippled Obama’s administration, as far as I’m concerned, is the financial crisis and it’s prevented him from doing any new spending.
The prattle continued:
He’s not able — if the country was as flush as it was under Bill Clinton and he had money — these things cost money — he could have made more of a mark. I think right now he’s had to do a lot of counter-punching; a lot of back peddling. He inherited this crisis from Bush and Paulson. He had to extend the TARP. I think it’s been very difficult for him to spend his whole first term trying to, you know, correct our course financially. I think a second term of Obama, we’ll see a lot more of what we want to see from him.
Ah ha! If only he could spend, he might be able to address the nation’s ills and put his “mark on things.” Forget that the overwhelming threat to U.S strength and stability is a burdensome debt and unsustainable budgetary track — it’s that Obama can’t spend what he needs to!
Oh, but you just wait until Obama’s [potential] second term when he will be free to throw money around like its raining Benjamin Franklins. Our debt problem will surely be solved by then. This is merely a blip on the congressional radar, and will just as quickly be behind everyone like that passé argument about funding NPR or ousting that Gaddafi guy in Libya.
Never mind that Obama’s intended budget for next year plans to take in $2.63 trillion — and spend $3.73 trillion. (For an instructive exercise in how this might look for your average American middle class family, the editors at Slate allowed this piece to print in February). As for the coming years, pay no attention to the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that President Obama’s 2012 budget would produce $2.3 trillion more in deficits over the next decade than the administration had projected — $9.5 trillion instead of $7.2 trillion, for those keeping score.
Baldwin, however, has no interest in these numbers. They would only serve to discredit his jaded narrative. Go on then Alec… keep making us laugh.