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Jonathan Bernstein

The Republican War on Deficits Is a Show About Nothing

This isn't about bashing Republicans; it's about understanding what they are fighting about.
The numbers games politicians play.

The numbers games politicians play.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kevin Drum spots a great quote from Republican Senator Bob Corker, who is concerned about Republican hypocrisy: "I hope we’re not going to a place where all of the sudden, because we’re in office, we don’t think the deficit matters anymore."

I want to reassure Corker, Drum, and everyone else (and there are a lot of them) who think Republicans only care about federal budget deficits when Democrats are in office. Nope. The truth is that most Republicans -- there are some exceptions, but not many -- never care about federal budget deficits. They do talk about them strategically, so they sound hypocritical. But if you watch what they support, the truth is that most congressional Republicans and their allies flat-out reject the entire notion of budgeting.