If you're a masochist you've been listening to or following the budget debate.
I'm one of those. The outgoing Premier kicked it off in style:
Premier Ewart Brown yesterday launched a vociferous defence of his Government's financial record -- saying it had no choice other than to spend money for the good of the people.
Dr. Brown said the United Bermuda Party Government had left the Island in such a state 12 years ago, cash had to be directed toward fixing social problems such as absentee parents, crumbling infrastructure, ailing Government buildings, antiquated transport system and an out-of-date tourism model.
You see, fixing the low debt budget surplus expanding economy that the PLP inherited involved aggressively funding social programs, for example building a $70M school for $120M and a $35M cruise ship pier for $60M.
That's $75 million that could have been spent on actual social programs, or counter-cyclical spending, not stimulating the pockets of a couple of cronies and calling it social policy.
It takes some real effort and creativity to be this disingenuous with a straight face.
This is George Bushism, create your own reality Republicanism at it's best.
Judging by the PLP's back to form delusional statement on it's website as Vexed points out, the noise machine is back to form.
There's a few criticisms that you can level at Bob Richards as a politician, but being 'long on rhetoric short on substance' when it comes to budget replies isn't one of them. The core criticism of course is that he's too academic, too substantive and not communicating at a layman's level.
Again, classic Republicanism, the kind the Democrats always struggle to respond to in the same way the UBP always struggles to respond to complete and utter fiction.
You take the case being made against you, in this case that the Finance Minister's Budget is long on rhetoric and short on substance, and pin it on your opponent with the volume set at max.
The same way that the Republicans complained about media bias while getting very favourable almost cheerleading coverage heading into a war based on false pretenses, the PLP whines about media bias while their Cabinet Minister's radio station appointed Senator DJ plies their propaganda during the daily morning drive.
So the outgoing Premier can toss his Combined Opposition sloganeering around ad nauseum as has been the case the past few weeks, while his combined government media outlet can wax poetic about 'tilting at windmills' and the politics of fear (gasp - this from the architects of the PLP's election campaign of fear in 2007), but any rational observer who peruses the PLP's website wonders if the PLP actually believes their hype or thinks that the public is absolutely, completely incapable of separating pure unadulterated BS from fact.
Those are your two choices.
Bermuda is facing a serious economic contraction exacerbated by a decade of overspending which outpaced even a rapidly expanding economy and the Government's response is to deny any semblance of reality.
This is really, really worrying. We haven't even seen the slightest acknowledgment that things could have been done differently.
Things are most likely going to get worse before they get better. The party that has missed every revenue and spending projection wants you to believe that the guy who called the overheated economy and imminent recession doesn't know what he's talking about.
If you want to see which way the winds are blowing, have a read of Dale Butler, a PLP MP who sits in the marginal of all marginals and knows that he can't mindlessly spout party line BS, a guy who gets elected based on an image of bucking the party line and acknowledging reality.