[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Ya know, in a lot of ways, I really hope that Newt Gingrich runs for president, as we keep hearing he's threatening to do. (Thus the book tour, the wife's movie, etc. etc.) Because he really does represent the REAL Republican Party: the festering, corpulent, bloated, gaseous, slimy, and congenitally dishonest side of the GOP that guys like Mitt Romney are good at disguising.
With Newt, it's really on display, and pretty hard to miss. Like yesterday with Chris Wallace -- who actually displayed some smidgens of integrity with some tough questions -- on Fox News Sunday, talking about the economy:
WALLACE: Let me ask you another aspect of this, though. If you extend, as you want, as Republicans want, all the Bush tax cuts, that is going to blow a $3 trillion...It just doesn't get much more dishonest than that. After all, when we talk about George W. Bush's ability to deal with unemployment, we're talking about the worst job-creation record of any president since World War II.
WALLACE: ... hole in the deficit. I thought your party was so concerned about debt and the deficits.
GINGRICH: Look, when you have a -- when you have a 16-year-old with a credit card who doesn't think the bills come due, you can never get caught up, because they'll just charge more.
The president of the United States has radically increased the size of the federal government since Bush left office. John Boehner has correctly proposed -- the Republican leader in the House -- let's go back to Bush's 2008 budget and you can save like -- something like a trillion, 300 billion dollars just by not spending the money.
So when we balanced the federal budget in the 1990s, which we did for four years, we controlled spending and we cut taxes simultaneously, and we reformed government. There's no reason...
WALLACE: But taxes were higher in the 1990s than they are now because you've got the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and '03. What about the argument -- I mean, John Boehner -- the House Republican leader's idea was go back to the last Bush budget and keep all the Bush tax cuts.
Isn't he making the Democratic argument that your party's idea is let's go back to Bush?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, if you want to go back to the world before Pelosi and Reid of December of 2006, there was a lot higher employment, a lot higher income. The middle class was much better off. That would not -- I think most Americans would...
WALLACE: Well, you can't blame the whole financial crisis...
WALLACE: ... on Reid and Pelosi.
GINGRICH: No, but you could -- you can blame the level of failure for the last two years and the level of spending for the last four years on the liberal Democrats both in the Congress and in the White House.
I'd make a -- I'd make a deeper argument here. You show -- you do an economic run of what this country would be like at 4 percent unemployment, with 5.5 percent of the country back to work full-time, with bringing down the under-employment number from 16 to 17 percent to about 7 or 8 percent, increase in revenue because people are back at work, decrease in food stamps -- this president's set an all-time record for the number of Americans on food stamps. I mean, that's not where you want to go. You want to go to a paycheck, not a food stamp.
Oh, and let's not forget this little chart, courtesy Ezra Klein:
You tell me who we should be blaming for the lost jobs.
Or there's this chart, from Steve Benen:
The economy hasn't improved at the rate it might've had Obama listened to some actual progressives (e.g., Paul Krugman) at the outset of his recovery plan. But no matter how you cut it, Obama has decidedly improved the economy, stopped the bleeding, and started to dig us out of the hole we're already in.
Newt? He just wants us to jump back in and keep digging. All the while whistling those dog-whistle tunes.