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Michael Dukakis: Not a good spokesman for responsible spending

Posted by Jesse Singal  September 28, 2010 03:57 PM

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Copy of dukakis.jpg You know the Obama administration is in a bad way if it is taking political advice from Michael Dukakis. The former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee told the Globe's Michal Kranish that he recently "popped in" at the White House to recommend some talking points for Democrats to pound home in "key precincts" around the country:
"It seems to me there has to be a single message coming from Democrats, from the president on down," Dukakis said. "We've got to pound that message as hard as can from now until November." ...

Dukakis said that it was also important for Democrats to remind voters that former President George W. Bush left the country with an increasing deficit.

There is no denying Bush's profligate spending and budget deficits, which conservatives railed against for years. (See, for example, here and here and here and here.) Still, it is a little hard to take a finger-wagging from Dukakis on the subject. For if anyone knows something about leaving his successor to cope with a flood of red ink, it would be the commonwealth's longest-serving Democratic governor: When Dukakis turned the governorship over to William Weld in January 1991, he bequeathed as well a $13.4 billion state budget that was dangerously out of balance.

"Weld administration expects $850M deficit," read the Globe's headline on Jan. 9, 1991—a budget gap that the incoming administration feared "could grow to as much as $1.6 billion in the next budget year if dramatic cuts are not made." What is it they say about pots calling kettles black?

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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