I often try to imagine how this presidential race looks to those who don’t follow every detail about it every day. (More)

Doing so helps me imagine what kinds of over-arching messages are the key to winning.

One of the things the GOP has been pretty successful at doing is getting a false message out there that President Obama is a typical tax-and-spend liberal. And that its his policies that are the cause of our federal deficits.

That kind of message resonates because its the kind of narrative people have grown to accept about Democrats for a long time. It becomes hard to break through what has long been accepted as conventional wisdom.

But its all a lie.

Trouble is, I don’t think simply saying so is enough. When the truth goes against people’s accepted narrative, they tend to dismiss it. And data simply bores them.

Perhaps one of the ways to get the truth out there is via visuals. Here are a couple that make the case pretty powerfully.

When it comes to spending, Marketwatch provides one that demonstrates that its actually Republican presidents who have been the big spenders.


Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true.

But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s…

Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%.

Its true that we currently have a sizable federal budget deficit. So its important to look at what spending creates that. TPM covers that one.

…the main drivers of projected deficits over the next decade are the wars of the oughts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts and the so-called “automatic stabilizers” – unemployment insurance spending, lower tax burdens – built into existing policy to combat economic downturns. Recovery measures by Bush and Obama caused a short-term spike in deficits but have mostly phased out and thus represent only modest fractions of the national debt.

Hear that folks? The bailouts and the stimulus spending are over…history. What is currently driving our deficits are the Bush tax cuts, the slow economy and the war in Afghanistan.

Of course the Republicans don’t want the truth of this message to get out there. And so they lie.

Our job is to counter with the truth.

Cross-posted from Smartypants