I have to say that I'm more than a little apprehensive about the massive federal debt and the fact that Obama's FY 2011 proposes a $1.3 trillion deficit. I was equally apprehensive when Bush & Co. ran the debt up something fierce while claiming to be fiscal conservatives. We could have a conversation about why Obama has proposed the largest defense budget, even adjusted for inflation, since World War II, or talk about how we're going to have to eventually reign in entitlement spending. Those are all valuable conversations to have.
But we're not going to have those conversations. Yesterday, Obama said the following:
"You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It's time your government did the same."
Now, one rational response to this would be "Mr. President, how do you reconcile the need to make tough choices with the fact that your budget proposes the largest deficit in history?" That would be a good question, a valid question, a question we'd like to hear the answer to. But that's not what happened.
Instead, the Mayor of Las Vegas got pissed because, you know, why should the President pick on Vegas by discouraging people from blowing their college funds there? And I turn on my fave right-wing radio and it's the same thing. I hear a guy call in and say something to the effect of "My wife and I just got back from Vegas and we had a wonderful time and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let this President tell me how I can or can't spend my money."
The next caller was - I kid you not - a woman who emigrated from Vietnam and has spent her life building a business in Vegas and wants to know why Obama wants her business to fail.
When this level of breathtaking stupidity finds a place in the national conversation, we all have reason to despair.
(If you're one of the right-wingers who only comes out to comment and tell me how wrong I am whenever I write about something political, spare me. The point of this isn't that Obama is great and Bush is bad or whatever. The point is that people will willfully misconstrue anything.)