Words, just words, as the man portraying the president would say. First up, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in 2006 and 2007:
Any mention of Pelosi deserves repetition of the “no more deficit spending” promises she made in writing and from the Speaker’s rostrum on C-SPAN:
Over the past decade, the Republican controlled Congress took our nation in the wrong direction. Too many Americans are paying a heavy price for those wrong choices: record costs for energy, health care and education; jobs shipped overseas; and budgets that heap record debt on our children. For millions, the middle-class dream has been replaced by a middle-class squeeze…
Democrats are proposing a New Direction for America…
With integrity, civility and fiscal discipline, our New Direction for America will use commonsense principles to address the aspirations and fulfill the hopes and dreams of all Americans. That is our promise to the American people….
Our federal budget should be a statement of our national values. One of those values is responsibility. Democrats are committed to ending years of irresponsible budget policies that have produced historic deficits. Instead of piling trillions of dollars of debt onto our children and grandchildren, we will restore “Pay As You Go” budget discipline.
Budget discipline has been abandoned by the Bush Administration and its Republican congressional majorities. Congress under Republican control has turned a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year surplus at the end of the Clinton years into a nearly $3 trillion deficit– including the four worst deficits in the history of America. The nation’s debt ceiling has been raised four times in just five years to more than $8.9 trillion. Nearly half of our nation’s record debt is owned by foreign countries including China and Japan. Without a return to fiscal discipline, the foreign countries that make our computers, our clothing and our toys will soon be making our foreign policy. Deficit spending is not just a fiscal problem – it’s a national security issue as well.
Our New Direction is committed to “Pay As You Go” budgeting – no more deficit spending.
After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.
– New Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 01/04/2007
Pelosi inherited the FY 2007 budget with a deficit less than $161 Billion and a year-end total debt that was 64.6% of GDP.
Now, at Fiscal year-end 2013 (9/30/2013), the White House OMB estimates that our debt is 106.5% of GDP.
A Balanced Budget wouldn’t require an increase in the Debt Limit, now would it?
And along similar lines, then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), on March 16, 2006:
This is a follow-up on my post from last week about the Debt Concern Theater performance of then Senator Barack Obama on March 16, 2006. As you may recall, while indignantly voting against increasing the debt ceiling back then (when it was a measly $8.6 trillion), he said such things as:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.
If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.
Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grand children. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.
As Obama now admits, he didn’t mean a single word of it.
It’s in the top 10 most egregious broken political promises in American history. Hoping to hammer home the point to an oblivious America by grabbing the video/audio of this auspicious moment, I turned to that national treasure, the C-SPAN video library. Indeed, they have the full 13 hours of the Senate floor session from that date available for your viewing pleasure. But, mysteriously, there is no record of a Barack Obama appearance that day in the C-SPAN transcript.
Understanding that this was probably the modern equivalent of the Nixon Tapes’ missing 18 minutes, and sensing that announcement of my Pulitzer Prize was now a mere formality, I got into Woodward and Bernstein mode and made inquiries with C-SPAN.
Before I had time to even come to a decision on who should play me in the movie version of my investigative story (it was between James Franco and Chiwetel Ejifor), I got word from the wise and political war weary C-SPAN video archivist:
I get this question at least once every time raising the debt ceiling has come up during the Obama administration. These speeches were not actually made on the Senate floor but rather entered into the congressional record. Thank you for your interest in C-SPAN.
OK, it’s going to be more of a video short than a feature film. Maybe F. Murray Abraham is available for my role?
Turns out, Barack Obama’s BS artistry was never actually spoken, but only added to the record as a calculated afterthought. Kind of fitting, I suppose.
Which dovetails perfectly with the opening of Mark Steyn’s latest weekly column:
Way back in January, when it emerged that Beyoncé had treated us to the first ever lip-synched national anthem at a presidential inauguration, I suggested in this space that this strange pseudo-performance embodied the decay of America’s political institutions from the real thing into mere simulacrum. But that applies to government “crises,” too — such as the Obamacare “rollout,” the debt “ceiling,” and the federal “shutdown,” to name only the three current railroad tracks to which the virtuous damsel of Big Government has been simultaneously tied by evil mustache-twirling Republicans.
This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America.
You know what to do next.