On Sunday Evan Bayh explained why he voted against the Obama budget:
I’ve been a fiscal conservative throughout my career. It’s nothing personal to the president . . In the short run, I agree with the president. We do need to stimulate the economy. The government needs to step in… In the long run, I think the deficits and the debt are too high. We need to get those under control. So that was the reason for my vote there.
So what happened to the other Democrats who claim to be fiscally conservative? True, twenty-two House and Senate Democrats voted against the budget but many prominent Red state Democrats, from Heath Shuler to Blanche Lincoln, went along with the president. Perhaps they are betting that the public won’t really recoil against the huge spending bonanza and accumulation of debt. Or maybe they think the president’s current popularity will hold up and shield them from the voters next year.
The Republicans, according to the mainstream media, have taken a huge gamble in their united opposition to the president. But if indeed the deficit swells, growth and recovery lag, and unemployment continues upward, it may be that those twenty-two are looked upon with envy by their Democratic colleagues. For now, the vast majority of the Congressional Democrats have no cover — and no Republicans to blame — if the budget comes to be seen as fiscally reckless.