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Mark Herschlip, Published February 25 2011

Conrad’s media image is false

U.S. budget issues loom large in the local and national media. On federal fiscal matters, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is the most duplicitous politician in Washington, along with his budget mentor and pal President Barack Obama. Conrad, in conjunction with Obama, increased 2009, 2010 and now 2011 budgets to all-time deficit highs, yet Kristen Daum of The Forum posts another article identifying Conrad as a “deficit hawk.” It is as though Conrad’s speech about himself controls his media image, not the truth of his actions. What is the problem with reporters? Is it easier to repeat a dishonest phrase than to dig into the substance of the budget issues?

The painful and frightening reality is that Conrad and Obama have saddled U.S. taxpayers with three-year deficits of over $4 trillion, and they have both, multiple times, characterized the overspending as savings to taxpayers.

Daum tells Forum readers that Conrad, on Feb. 17, told Timothy Geithner that Obama’s long-term budget plans “don’t go far enough,” yet on Feb. 16 on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” Conrad praised Obama as “wise” for refusing to take on long-term cuts in his 2011 budget. Only the media can allow Conrad to have it both ways. Quit giving him a pass.

Talk is cheap. Conrad’s actions are expensive. His last three budgets have helped to put the U.S. on a trajectory for fiscal bankruptcy. The time to drop Conrad’s image as a deficit hawk is now. To characterize Conrad as such is an insult to intelligence, to the truth and to his tenure in political office. Praise him for the excellent things he has done for North Dakota, but tell the truth about his poor leadership on fiscal matters in D.C.