There's nothing right-wingers hate more than being reminded that it was the conservative mania for "small government" -- embodied in the massive deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy that have dominated American domestic policy for most of the past decade, following conservative dogma -- that drove not just the American economy over a cliff, but it dragged the global economy with it.
So when Sen. Orrin Hatch was asked by Jon Scott yesterday on Fox News' Happening Now about President Obama's recent stinging remarks in this regard:
Obama: And yet, after driving our economy into the ditch, they decided to stand on the side of the road and watch us as we pulled it out of the ditch. They asked, 'Why haven't you pulled it out fast enough?' 'I notice there's a little scratch there in the fender, why don't you do something about that?'
Hatch at first demurred, laughing it off as being part of politics. He knew this was not a conversation he wanted to explore much, and so instead he diverted it into a sustained wine that Democrats "won't work with us," and then nudged it into the subject of the Goldman Sachs fraud case:
Hatch: And by the way -- this whole Goldman Sachs thing. Isn't that a little odd, that all of a sudden, right at the height of this legislative period, we suddenly have the SEC filing suit against Goldman Sachs?
Scott: You think the timing -- you think the timing of those charges --
Hatch: Yeah, I think it's very suspect. It's very suspect.
Hmmmm. Yeah, there is something fishy there. It's sure peculiar, dontcha think, that it took a one-sided Democratic vote on the SEC to advance the probe. After all, the only politician whose ties to Goldman Sachs have been raised in the press so far is President Obama.
But in the end, Obama's remarks got Hatch's special underwear in a wad, and he couldn't resist returning to try to rebut Obama:
Hatch: And look -- when he blames us for the economy, that he, quote, inherited? Give me a break. Over the last 34 years I've been in the Senate, there have been very few times when you could say the fiscal conservatives were in the majority. And they certainly were not in the majority in the Bush years!
Hahahahahaha. Hoo boy. Now that's a good standup routine.
Is Hatch really trying to assert that his fellow Republican Senators, Trent Lott and Bill Frist -- who were the Republican Senate Majority Leaders during the Bush years -- were not "fiscal conservatives"? That his buddy, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee during the Bush years, was not a fiscal conservative?
Should we call Sens. Lott, Frist, and Grassley to get their input on whether they were "fiscal conservatives"? Because as I recall -- as they pushed out tax cuts for the wealthy and demolished regulatory oversight of the financial sector in those years -- those programs were all being pushed by the "fiscal conservatives" among both the Republican and Democratic parties.
You know, if I were in Hatch's shoes, and had to survey the economic wreckage that my policies had produced, I'd probably be in a state of denial too. But I'd also be in a straitjacket.