Monday, July 11, 2011

Republican Time Warp Watch:
Pawlenty says "three years"

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!

President Barack Hussein Obama, as of today, has been president for two years, five months, and twenty days, but the Republicans have for weeks or months insisted on calling his presidency (so far) "three years" or even "four years."

It is the Republican Time Warp, part of their Year Zero strategy where they try to make the American people believe that all the problems we now face began with the Obama administration and that the previous Republican administration and, two years before Obama took office, the GOP-run House and Senate, had nothing to do with soaring national debt, high unemployment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc., etc.

Today, ten days shy of exactly two years and six months since Obama's inauguration, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, one of the candidates seeking to be the GOP nominee for president, made this strategy part of his rhetoric on NBC's Meet the Press today:
But we've had three years of a president of soaring rhetoric, gave all these false hopes and false promises to the country. If you want somebody who's had executive leadership, who has not just rhetoric, but results on taxes, on spending, on health care, on jobs and the like, then vote for me.
It wasn't a slip-up, as he said it twice, though in a slightly mitigating way:
He was blaming President Bush, blaming the weather, blaming the Republicans. We're almost three years into this administration. President Obama should look in the mirror to see who's to blame for the economy in its current state, and it's not doing well. And as to the debt ceiling...
Bonus points, Pawlenty, for trying to pin "the economy in its current state" on President Obama.

But 2.47 is not "almost three." Obama is barely halfway through his first/only term, and he inherited an awful lot or problems, and frankly, Republicans playing chicken with the debt ceiling and constantly talking down the economy even when it has been doing well are all eroding confidence, confidence which are part of what is needed to get things on track again. But I guess fuzzy math and keeping things bad long enough to propel Michele Bachmann looks like a winning strategy for the GOP.

I pressed PUBLISH before I heard this gem:
GOV. PAWLENTY: President Obama exponentially made the deficit worse and the debt worse. I mean, he's essentially tripled it. In March of 2009, David, he looked the American people in the eye and said, "I will cut the deficit in half during my first term."

MR. GREGORY: Well, let's not forget, his Republican predecessor did all the TARP, did all the bailout spending and ran up the deficit.
Not only does this include a suspect figure — Bush43 had a $500 billion debt largely because TARP and a number of other big-ticket expenses were discretionary spending that weren't included in the budget — but it is also spoken in such a way that it sounds like Obama tripled the debt.

In fact, the debt is about $10 trillion from Republican administrations and $4 trillion from Democrats (mostly Obama, who inherited Bush43's economic crisis and budget deficit). Also tripling something is not quite an exponential increase. Exponential increases typically involve at least squaring something.

And let's not forget that Obama's first term is nowhere near being finished, though I agree that the likelihood of halving the deficit by the 2013 budget (beginning October 2012) is getting less and less likely consider the impasse that the Tea Party-fearing GOP and the Democrats are at.


  1. Then if Obama manages to get US troops out of Afghanistan, without getting embroiled in Iran, by that time a rabid right White House will get all the benefit of not having to pay for that conflict... ya can't win!

  2. I feel obliged to point out that, in Korean years, the Obama presidency is already four years old.

  3. Changmi, that made me laugh.

    Sadly, I think if the Republicans ever found out about Korean age, they would run with that.

  4. Considering America's adventures overseas such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, no one has mentioned how relatively clean (and cheap) the conflict in Korea has been since 1953? Also, none of these aforementioned countries pay $640M a year to house and station a partial mechanized infantry division and an airforce brigade.


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