By now, you’ve probably seen Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s spectacularly awful
YouTube ad – attacking her GOP rival, Tom Campbell, for being a “fiscal conservative in name only.” Why? Because he criticized the Bush tax cuts, supports an increase in the gas tax and won’t sign onto Grover Norquist’s insane pledge to never vote for a single tax increase whatsoever. But what is
a fiscal conservative anyway? Putting ideology aside, it means someone who thinks that government should be careful with its money (after all, who calls themselves “fiscally liberal”?
). And yes, being a “fiscal conservative” often means we need to raise some taxes to act responsibly. Even liberals who believe government should be there to help the poor and middle class are “fiscal conservatives” – if they ask the rich to pay their fair share, and demand to cut the rampant corporate welfare. Progressives must never yield the “fiscal conservative” label over to right-wing ideologues, because those like Carly Fiorina have warped its meaning.