The GOP used to preach fiscal responsibility. For decades they have not practiced it. Ronald Reagan ran up record deficits. In contrast Democratic President Bill Clinton left office with a surplus, about the only evidence federal fiscal responsibility in the last quarter century. BushCo has run up deficits that are almost unimaginable. But the media myth that Republicans practice fiscal responsibility continues. Digby captures this conversation with Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman and comments on it. Both Matthews and Fineman should know better, but I’m not holding my breath. Myths are often more compelling than reality or evidence.

Matthews: That’s something the Democrats don’t get and better damn get someday, which is, to Republicans having budget deficits is…

Fineman: it’s immoral.
. . .
Republicans don’t give a damn about deficits except as a weapon with which to hit Democrats over the head when they are in the majority. Every time the GOP gets into power they loot the treasury like drunken pirates and run up huge debts for somebody else to pay. The record for the past 26 years is clear.

Democrats believe that budget deficits are sometimes necessary when an economy needs a boost or to fund long term projects that require borrowing money. It’s straight up Keynesian economics, nothing fancy. Otherwise, they believe in paying as you go. Republicans believe that deficits are “their due” and that “bridges to nowhere” are the spoils.
. . .
Yet, if Democrats ever gain control of the political system, guys like Matthews and Fineman will be out there tut-tutting and nit-picking, falling back on same the fetid, moldy slogans about Democratic “taxing and spending.” And I’m sure they’ll call them immoral even as they try to put the fiscal house back in order after the GOP criminal gang came through and destroyed the place. These deficits will not disappear like magic — and the punditocrisy will help the Republicans fight the necessary hard decisions every step of the way.