Recipe for a Grand Bargain
No matter how much they are willing to compromise, no matter that a Democratic president actually managed to leave a surplus (granted, it was during a boom) which the Republicans promptly threw away in tax cuts, the Democratic Party finds itself on the wrong side of this equation.
Romney holds a double-digit lead over Obama on just one issue tested in the poll: who would better deal with the federal budget deficit.
Now, I don't think this appears as high on the list of voter priorities as the Village Scrooge's think it does, but it's still a potent perennial issue as an abstract symbol. And for whatever reason, the Democrats seem to be desperate to be seen as magnificent spending cutters. (Perhaps that's because many of them are fiscal conservatives themselves who are just stuck with inconveniently liberal constituents.)
This is a problem. If it were me, I'd probably stop trying to prove how "responsible" I am, since even leaving budget surpluses is considered irresponsible. I think I'd just spend all my time trying to persuade the American people that government spending to help people is good and that fighting expensive wars and coddling wealthy criminals is bad. But that's just me. I don't have to run for office.
But there are people running who will make that case. You can find them here.
If one prefers a more wonkish explanation as to why austerity is counterproductive, there's this.