Bruce Bartlet, while discussing why spending, and not tax cuts are still needed, has taken a bat to the whining deficit hawks on the real cause of the Federal shortfall.  

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s January 2009 estimate for fiscal year 2009, outlays were projected to be $3,543 billion and revenues were projected to be $2,357 billion, leaving a deficit of $1,186 billion. Keep in mind that these estimates were made before Obama took office, based on existing law and policy, and did not take into account any actions that Obama might implement.

Therefore, unless one thinks that McCain would have somehow or other raised taxes and cut spending (with a Democratic Congress), rather than enacting a stimulus of his own, then a deficit of $1.2 trillion was baked in the cake the day Obama took office. Any suggestion that McCain would have brought in a lower deficit is simply fanciful.

Now let’s fast forward to the end of fiscal year 2009, which ended on September 30. According to CBO, it ended with spending at $3,515 billion and revenues of $2,106 billion for a deficit of $1,409 billion.

To recap, the deficit came in $223 billion higher than projected, but spending was $28 billion and revenues were $251 billion less than expected. Thus we can conclude that more than 100 percent of the increase in the deficit since January is accounted for by lower revenues. Not one penny is due to higher spending.

Of course, Bush's unfunded tax cuts couldn't have anything to with all of this. Nah.

Now what pisses me off about all this, is why the administration done such a poor job of explaining all of this to voters and the media. Republican memes get all the traction because administration and democratic advanced teams are rarely if ever in evidence when they're most needed–which is before the memes can take hold.

Knowing how dominant conservative economic voices are on CNBC, FOX, CSPAN and most op-eds, it seems axiomatic that one needs to ramp up  public relations spin when facts are as cut and dried as these–and clearly going to be used against you. When you know the elephant will drop a load of manure in the road, why not get in front of the beast instead of buried by the turds?

One of my few grudging respects for Republicans comes from watching their spin teams not sit on clear leads with the media. They never assume they've won, and keep bludgeoning the media and voters with as many hammers as they can get their grimy little hands on. Democrats–and certainly Democratic administrations–need to learn one simple lesson of the Internet age:

Marketing, advertising and public relations need just as much time and attention as the details of the polices and legislation they are expected to sell.

We can only hope they start to get this, before its too late. As I type this, the 5th anti-health care reform ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has aired in the hour since I woke up. We cannot maintain even the appearance of a real democracy, when all the media manipulation flows from only one direction.