At least four times during George W. Bush’s presidency the Democrats “(played) chicken with the full faith and credit of the United States of America.” In May 2002, debt was within $15 million of the statutory limit. Raising the limit passed by one vote in the House (of 209 Democrats, 206 voted against).
In May 2003 debt limit legislation passed the Senate 53 to 44, with only one of 45 Democrats voting for it. The day it passed, debt was $25 million (or 0.0004%) below the limit.
On October 14, 2004, debt was again $25 million below the limit. The Treasury employed accounting tricks used in the previous two years to keep under the limit. Treasury Secretary John Snow informed Congress, just before the election recess, that available measures to avoid breaching the debt limit would be exhausted by mid-November, and the government would default.
Again, it barely passed. Senate Democrats voted 42 of 44 against, and 193 of 195 House Democrats voted against (it passed by 4 votes).
In 2006, Secretary Snow continued using tricks to avoid default. A debt limit increase was narrowly passed, with all 48 Senate Democrats (including Obama) opposed.
On the matter of the “essential” rural airports, all thirteen are served by better highways than Highway 1, and most are about half as far from a major airport as Gualala. Democrat Majority Leader Senator Reid’s airport at Ely, Nevada, population 4,255, served 227 passengers in 2010 (federal subsidy $1.8 million) at $4,107 per ticket.
Alamogordo, New Mexico, with Democrat Senators Bingaman and Udall, is subsidized at $3,127 per ticket for 376 passengers in 2010, and is the same driving time to Albuquerque as we are to San Francisco International.
By funding these “essential” airports, Democrats buy reelection with our money.