There is one aspect of football that always fascinates me the few times I watch it. No matter how badly the team is getting beat, a player will always celebrate a touchdown as if he just saved the game. While pretending to enjoy a football game this Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help thinking about Republicans when observing this phenomenon.
After taking a three-year pummeling from the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. economy finally fought back with an 8.2 percent growth last quarter. Jumping all over the administration’s first positive economic news, Republicans have begun to gloat about Bush’s “strong economic leadership.” Rush Limbaugh has even started calling Dubya the “economic recovery president.” Yeah, recovery from his own downturn.
This administration inherited one of the strongest economies in American history thanks to Bill Clinton’s strong fiscal policies. Unemployment was at its record low in 30 years, the budget surplus for 2001 was $281 billion – the largest in U.S. history – and we were on track to balance the budget. Now unemployment is at its highest rate in a decade, we have a projected deficit of $500 billion in 2004 and more than three million jobs have been lost. And Republicans are celebrating from one good quarter. Thanks, guys, keep up the good work.
Sadly, now that we’re in this apparent “economic boom,” Republicans expect us all to line up and celebrate Dubya’s one touchdown. I suppose, continuing with the football analogy, this requires excessive ass slapping, but I think that’s a little gay for the Republican Party.
For some reason, though, Democrats haven’t been so quick to congratulate Bush. The radical right nuts claim that Democrats aren’t rejoicing because they don’t want the economy to do well. But, as you may have guessed, these conservatives don’t exactly present the brightest of arguments.
In 1993 Newt Gingrich said of the Clinton Deficit Reduction Act, “I believe this will lead to a recession next year.” Sen. Phil Gramm (R.-Texas) claimed, “The Clinton plan is a one-way ticket to recession.” Do these comments mean that Republicans wanted the economy to do poorly? No, Republicans just thought the plan was a bad idea. And they were wrong. But what else is new? So to claim that Democrats want the economy to do poorly simply because they warn against irresponsible governance is to once again ignore the intellectual honesty that so many conservatives lack.
Democrats realize that an 8.2 percent growth is a good thing, and we welcome it. But we have learned not to trust Bush when he declares, “Mission accomplished.” We want to know if Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts can make up for all the harm they’ve caused. Enormous tax cuts were once called “old, quick fixes that have appeal … that can’t be paid for.” Sounds like a quote from one of those America-hating Democrats. Actually, it was from George Bush Sr. So pardon us Democrats if we’re a little bit skeptical about Bush’s “quick fix” for the economy.
Regardless, this administration is still in the red by a long shot. It’s going to take many more touchdowns and even more ass slapping to recover from what Republicans have done to our economy. We may have had one good quarter, but economic growth cannot be sustained with an enormous national deficit and record unemployment, no matter how rich the president’s friends are. T switch analogies, George Bush may have finally won a battle, but he is certainly a long way from winning the war.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet contributing editor.