Sunday, Chris Wallace on Fox had an interesting interview with Carley Fiorina, the GOP senate candidate in California.
It is a lesson in how to expose the hypocrisy of candidates that say they want a balanced budget, but refuse to disclose with any specificity how they would accomplish this goal.
Fiorina, like our very own Robert Hurt, supports extending all of the Bush Tax cuts, which would blow a $4 trillion hole in the deficit, while at the same time arguing that we need to balance the budget by cutting spending. They just refuse to say what they will cut.
Citing Fiorina’s career as a “bottom-line businesswoman,” Wallace asked how, given a $4 trillion deficit, she would specifically balance the budget and what would she specifically cut. First, Fiorina tried the old saw about eliminating waste, but given the size of the gap, Wallace would have none if it, noting that would not even come close to a balanced budget. Wallace asked her seven of eight times. Fiorina hemmed, hawed, attached, whined – did everything except provide a reasonable answer before Wallace gave up, exasperated and visibly annoyed.
Will anyone finally be able to force Robert Hurt’s hand on this issue at tonight’s debate?
(more on the flip)
The interviewer at last Monday’s debate tried his best. Asked several times for specifics of how he would balance the budget, Hurt completely ruled out defense spending or entitlement eligibility as a source of balancing the budget. Those items, of course, constitute 87% of our spending.
Rather, Hurt said that we need to reduce health care costs (duh!) – even though he opposes a health care reform bill that would actually do this, and was unable to offer any idea of how to do this beyond the well-worn and discredited idea of offering health insurance across state lines.
More amusingly, Hurt also offered as a signature idea the hilarious idea of shrinking the budget by reducing Congressional salaries.
Hmm, lets see. We have a total of 435 congressmen and women and 100 senators making $185K per year, so even if we completely eliminated their salaries, this would only save $99 million.
That’s right. That was Mr. Hurt’s best idea for reducing a $4 trillion budget deficit. As they say, “You do the math.”
Whatever else you think about whether congressmen and women get paid too much, this is simply not a serious answer from a serious candidate who actually aspires to a position of political leadership.
Compare his answer to Perriello’s (everything has to be on the table, including defense and entitlements), and you can see the difference between a real leader and a typical politician who thinks the way to get elected is by pandering to voters.
I don’t know what the format of tonight’s debate will be, but hopefully it will allow for an opportunity to further demonstrate the stark difference in quality between these two candidates.
Specifically, does Mr. Hurt seriously believe that the way to close a $4 trillion budget gap is by reducing $99 million of salaries? If he wants to repeal health care reform, what is his idea for substantially reducing health care costs immediately?
It is not enough that Mr. Hurt answer these questions. We, as voters, are entitled to answers that make common sense, and are not designed to fool us , distract us or insult our intelligence.