Gregory Koger at Washington Monthly alerted me to the fact that conservatives might be deficit hypocrites. That’s sarcasm; of course they’re hypocrites. We all are to one extent or another. But it does seem that conservatives rate a lot higher on the scale.
DePaul University political scientist Wayne Steger decided to do a little study. He looked at the National Review over the last two decades and measured how often certain words and phrases were used. And what do you know: when Democrats are in the White House, the budget deficit is much more important to them. The best example of this is the use of the phrase “balanced budget” since 1994. Here we go:
I can’t say for sure, but it looks like the National Review wasn’t much interested in a balanced budget when Bush I was in office. But its interest went steadily up during Clinton’s term, until, you know, he actually balanced the budget. But okay, maybe that’s just an indication of the fact that there was a lot of interest and excitement about balancing the budget at that time.
The problem with this theory is that once Bush II gets into office and the budget deficit comes back and gets worse and worse, the National Review shows no interest in it at all. Even in 2008, when the financial crisis causes the budget deficit to explode, our conservative friends find it of no interest whatsoever. It is only once a Democrat is back in the White House that their interest goes up. And as the deficit has gone down year after year, their interest in a “balanced budget” has only grown.
Do we liberals do this? Of course! But I find it highly unlikely that such gross partisanship could be found in The Nation. The conservative intellectual establishment has been reduced to little more than a cabal of partisan hacks.