Andrew Tobias: Why My Republican Friends Aren’t Democrats

During the 12 Bush years, net private-sector job creation totaled 747,000.   That’s it: just 747,000 — versus 19.6 million during the Clinton 8 years and 8 million more, so far, under Obama (or 12.3 million if you don’t count the first few months of horrific job losses one might argue were inherited from his predecessor).

This despite Bush 43’s massive deficit spending.*

So to be clear, that’s 747,000 under the 12 most recent years of Republican leadership, as deficits ballooned; 28 million under the 14 most recent years of Democratic leadership, as deficits were brought back under control.**

I just laugh (and cry) when my Republican friends explain that they’re “socially liberal but fiscally conservative.”  That should make them gung-ho Democrats!  We’re the ones who shrink the debt relative to the economy as a whole.

Being wealthy, for the most part, what they really care about, I think, are their taxes — and I get that. Being a little bit wealthy myself, I care about mine, too.  But I’d rather pay a higher rate on more income in a healthy, successful economy than a lower rate on less income as I watch my country’s infrastructure crumble and investments in a brighter future nixed.

Please send this to your Republican uncle.  His Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has told us that “by any standard, Barack Obama had been a disaster for our country.”  But the facts — and the balance of your uncle’s own 401K — tell a different story.

And the truth is — and you can tell him I said so — your uncle’s views (if not his votes) have been about right all along!  Here’s why:

The whole political landscape has shifted dramatically to the right.

Democrats these days govern from “the sensible center,” or maybe a click to the left. Republicans used to govern from about the same place, or maybe a click to the right.  About where your uncle is.  (Remember Dwight Eisenhower?  Richard Nixon?  Nelson Rockefeller?  Teddy Roosevelt?  Abe Lincoln?  Your uncle?)

But now, in the inimitable words of my friend Barney Frank, “we’re not perfect, but they’re nuts” . . . denying science, refusing compromise, shutting down the government, threatening default on debts that they themselves racked up — and this is not really where your uncle is.  Please let him know he has a temporary home with us (and a warm welcome) until he gets his party back.

He may even like it well enough to stay.

*Including the $1.5 trillion “2009” deficit for the fiscal year that began four months before Obama even took office.

**Clinton actually left Bush 43 a surplus.  And under Obama the deficit has been cut more than two-thirds, such that the National Debt is back to growing more slowly than GDP — i.e., shrinking relative to the economy as a whole.


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