No, Mitt Romney’s “Obama Debt Clock” Isn’t Dishonest
There’s a post over at Mediaite in which the author feels that Mitt Romney’s use of a running “National Debt Clock” at a campaign speech in Florida is incredibly dishonest because he says Romney has no serious plan to reduce the debt.
During his speech, with the debt clock ticking away behind him, Romney rightfully blamed both parties for our rapidly-growing national debt. It’s a serious problem that neither party seems willing to address.
But this prop is obnoxious. It is incredibly dishonest for Romney to scare people about the debt when, in reality, he has absolutely no serious plan to cut spending and reduce the national debt.
See what he’s doing there? He’s taking a subjective argument, whether or not Romney’s plans are serious in his opinion, and using that to say it’s dishonest for him to use the very factual debt clock against an opponent that has said the following things:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. – Senator Barack Obama – March 2006
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic. - Presidential Candidate Barack Obama – July 3, 2008
We’ve got to spend some money now to pull us out of this recession. But as soon as we’re out of this recession, we’ve got to get serious about starting to live within our means, instead of leaving debt for our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. That’s not the responsible way. – President Barack Obama – February 12th, 2009
Maybe Romney’s plans aren’t serious. Maybe they won’t work. Maybe they’ll add to the problem. Real problem is, we won’t know unless he gets a shot at implementing them. We have a good guess, but nothing concrete. But none of that matters anyway. The use of the debt clock just simply is not dishonest.
President Obama has used the debt as a means of attack on the GOP numerous times over the past six years. He’s used it to infer President George W. Bush was a failure as a leader. He said increasing the debt weakens us here and overseas. He’s used it as a campaign issue while running for president in 2008, saying adding $4 trillion was “irresponsible and unpatriotic” while giving a specific figure for how much debt there was for every citizen. As president he said we need to stop leaving debt for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The real issue here is when President Obama took office, the National Debt stood at $10.6T. Today it stands at $15.7T. President Obama has added more to the National Debt than any U.S. President in history and he did it in about 3 years. That is an indisputable fact.
We can argue all day over who has the best plan to fix a broken window that someone smashed through. But when there’s a guy laying on the ground bleeding and covered in glass and over 300 million people saw him do it? There can be no doubt who smashed through that window. And if that same guy helped set himself up to win a job by using “No More Broken Windows!” as an issue? It is entirely legitimate to use that against him when he’s begging for another crack at the windows.