Have you ever had someone tell such a shocking, ridiculous lie to your face, you didn’t have the heart to call them out on it? You just blushed for them, and looked away?
According to Lt. Col. Andre Dean US Army (Ret.) writing for the Shreveport Times, something on that order happened last week at a VFW forum with Senator Mary Landrieu in Bossier City, Louisiana.
An older veteran stood up toward the middle of the meeting and expressed to her his deep sadness and concern with the massive and constantly growing American debt ($16.9 trillion today and $5.6 trillion in 2000) and the crippling cost to taxpayers to pay for the staggering interest on that debt.
I felt he was in sync with and spoke on behalf of about 85 percent of the nation in his comments, reflecting a voice that is expressed nationally on both sides of the political aisle.
I was stunned to then hear my Louisiana senator defend the massive U.S. debt saying: “That is not true, sir! We do not have an increasing national debt! For the past six to seven years we have been continuously driving that debt down and reducing it and it is NOT increasing.”
She then went on to explain the federal costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as “non-negotiable mandates by law that cannot be changed” and explained that only a small portion of the federal budget was in discretionary spending, where she was working with others in the Senate to further reduce our nation’s debt.
Needless to say, the attendees were dumbfounded and embarrassed. Even if she mixed up debt with deficit, like many people do – her argument doesn’t make sense. The deficit hasn’t steadily been going down for the past 7 to 8 years, either. It was going down in *the last few years of the Bush administration, and then it shot up like a rocket in 2009 courtesy of the stimulus, bank bailout and omnibus spending bill..
I think we were all too embarrassed for the senator and for her staff, and for the elderly gentleman who asked the question as none wanted to let the awkwardness go on any further, so we all just politely looked down at our feet and hoped the awkward moment would quickly come to an end. Eventually it did.
Dean would like to see some clarification from Sen. Landrieu’s office in the form of either an official correction, or an explanation that the senator had confused “national debt” with something about deficit spending.
Senator Landrieu, it should be noted has not always been so blithe about the deficit.
In April of 2004, for instance, she bitterly complained about Bush’s deficits to Judy Woodruff on CNN’s Inside Politics:
“He’s run up one of the largest debts in history, one of the largest deficits in history. That is bad for business, and it’s unsettling to Americans who like to see our government run in a very conservative, financially conservative manner, and I think they believe, Judy, they deserve that. … It’s that he’s proposing these things with no attempt to pay for them and leaving the debt to be paid for by our children. This election is going to be, in large measure, about that issue.”
*Until the 2008 stimulus under the Democrat congress.