So in the midst of a recession of mostly their making, the Republicans held up $34 billion in unemployment funds for those whose benefits were imminently ending. Why did the supposed party of the people threaten to leave millions in the lurch? Deficits! We can't pay for these frivolous giveaways! This is a bailout of the states!
This kind of thing has been the favored rhetorical cudgel of late, despite that these are the same people who doubled the size of the government and took the country from surplus to record-level deficit over most of the past decade. I don't exactly understand how the GOP deficit hawk language sticks, when Rule #1 in the DC messaging department ought to be: If You Voted to Waste One Trillion Dollars in Iraq, You Don't Have Shit To Say About The Debt, Much Less A Few Dollars For Desperate Citizens.
And yet, there the Republicans were, demanding that these "giveaways" have to "be paid for." And since the Democrats would rather internalize the GOP criticism and retreat into self-loathing rather than summon the wherewithal to say Fuck Off and invoke Rule #1, the Republican line is working.
Take, for example, a recent aid bill for states to provide funds for keeping schools open (among other silly, wasteful things) was touted as some kind of victory for Obama, despite that the Republicans have managed to frame all spending in terms of their newfound faux fiscal responsibility to such an extent that even this relatively small package had to be paid for by cuts elsewhere in the budget. The final bill made enough cuts that it actually paid the teachers while also reducing the deficit by $1.4 billion -- and yet the Republicans still voted against it!
That didn't stop them, however, from holding up ratification of the new START treaty, which has bipartisan support and everyone assumed would be a done deal. Why did the Republicans throw a stick into START's spokes? Again, spending. Although you might not be surprised to learn that when it comes to military spending, the tables are turned and Republicans' concern for deficits seems to disappear. The bill spends $80 bill on nuclear stockpile modernization, but that's not enough for Bob Corker. He wants $10 billion more at least. Nowhere in that objection is there an offer to pay for that spending by making cuts elsewhere. I wonder why.