As we head into the summer, the attacks on Rob Portman will continue to get louder. And as the Dispatch noted this weekend, they all will center around Portman’s time in the Bush Administration.
Well, as Fisher’s supporters giggle mightily at each attack, it may be important to think about a couple things:
…such charges might collide with reality. Portman was in each job for about a year, hardly enough time to have a sweeping impact on Bush administration trade and budget policy.
During his time as trade representative, exports to China increased, but the trade deficit with China also grew. Roughly corresponding to his tenure as budget director, the federal deficit fell from $248 billion in 2006 to $163 billion in 2007.
He was regarded as a solid administrator who got along well with both Republicans and Democrats. The Senate unanimously confirmed him by voice votes both times, and when he was nominated for budget director, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said, “We’re going to have a highly qualified person with great experience to take over this position.”
“He has a reputation for being smart and really very effective,” said Isabel Sawhill, a Clinton administration budget aide and current senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington. “He has a strong reputation for being someone who reaches out and listens, and I don’t think just to one side.”
In other words, the attacks on Portman simply don’t hold water and are at best, intellectually dishonest. But then again, when has validity mattered in Democratic campaigns?
Fortunately, as we’ve covered many times before, history shows that hitching a current candidate to a former unpopular President doesn’t bring much success.