Noel Sheppard has been involved in a pedantic little flame war with Andrew Sullivan over the latter's praise of President Obama. In a Nov. 1 NewsBusters post, Sheppard takes exception to Sullivan saying that "Technically 7.8 percent is the same unemployment rate Obama inherited in January 2009," retorting, "The reality is that when it comes to economic data like unemployment, the clock begins on February 1 after a new president is inaugurated."
So Sheppard has established a baseline. But then later in the post, he hangs the entire deficit for fiscal year 2009 on Obama, even though the fiscal year began in October 2008, three months before Obama took office. Sheppard claims it's "sleight of hand" not to do so, adding:
As such, let's go backwards in time to get the truth the press have been dishonestly hiding from the public.
On March 14, 2008, then Sen. Obama voted in favor of the 2009 budget which authorized $3.1 trillion in federal outlays along with a projected $400 billion deficit. The 51-44 vote that morning was strongly along party lines with only two Republicans saying “Yea.”
When the final conference report was presented to the House on June 5, 2008, not one Republican voted for it. Not one.
This means the 2009 budget was almost exclusively approved by Democrats, with “Yeas” coming from the current President, his Vice President Joe Biden, his former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Tough to claim you aren't responsible for something you voted for, isn’t it?
But that’s just the beginning, for on October 1, 2008, Obama, Biden, and Clinton voted in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program designed to prevent teetering financial institutions from completely destroying the economy.
Couldn’t Obama only disavow responsibility for this if he had voted no along with the other 25 Senators disapproving the measure?
Um, Noel? Do you remember who was president at time? That's right, it was George W. Bush. He could have vetoed any of those measures and forced them to go back for revisions if he thought that spending was irresponsible; instead, he signed them all into law.
Indeed, it's a documented fact that the vast majority of the spending in the 2009 can be attributed to policies enacted before Obama assumed the presidency.
Congress doesn't have the ultimate say on spending -- the president does. And Obama wasn't president at that time.
Sheppard also makes the mistake of putting the entirety of the $787 billion stimulus bill under the 2009 budget. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, only $114 billion of the stimulus was spent in fiscal 2009.
And Sheppard is accusing Sullivan of living in a "Bizarro world." Go figure.