04/03/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sen. McConnell, if We're Really Spending too Much, Why Can't You Say What You'd Cut?

As the details of the President's budget proposal were surfaced, the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CNN, "Nobody thinks raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a good idea ... I think the problem is we spend too much."

Put aside for a moment that McConnell repeatedly voted to increase spending and expand the budget deficit during the Bush Administration.

And put aside the fact that McConnell flunks Econ 101. You don't want your government to raise taxes or cut spending during a recession, because then the government is taking money out of an economy that is already contracting.

Just focus on McConnell's supposedly clear diagnosis of "the problem:" it's spending!

Well, if he knows we are spending too much, he must know where to cut, right?

He must be prepared to bravely tell the nation we shouldn't invest so much to create jobs generating clean energy. Or make college education more affordable. Or help the poor get health care.

Here"s McConnell on CNN: "I like the commission idea, just as I said a few months ago. I think a better way to do it is to target spending, a spending reduction commission."

We're supposed to believe that even though he has been in the Senate for 25 years, and he is quite sure the spending is the problem, Sen. McConnell can't figure out where to cut without a super-special spending commission?

Don't believe it.

The fact is the only way to eliminate deficits solely by cutting spending alone is to completely hobble our retirement security, shred our social safety net, condemn us to energy dependence, prevent the next generation from competing in the global economy and ensure a jobless recovery.

And there is no way conservatives are willing to spell that out and have a honest debate about their dark vision for an austere America.

The conservative movement is eager to shift the frame of debate away from how to deliver on the mandate for progressive change that swept Obama into office, and towards a debate on who can gut government the most.

The way to make sure they can't get away with it is to call their bluff.

Originally posted at