On Friday’s PBS NewsHour, liberal chinstroker Mark Shields accused Congressional Republicans of issuing a “non-negotiable terrorist demand” in the debt-ceiling rumpus on Capitol Hill – namely, the requirement for passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution before the debt limit could be raised.
Discussion Topic #1:
If a Republican had said that about Democratic lawmakers’ demands for tax increases, would it have gotten this little response in the news media?
Discussion Topic #2:
Remember back in 2004 when Ron Suskind wrote a New York Times piece about the Bush administration that featured this anecdote?
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Welcome to Reality 2.0.
Can we agree that Tea Party Republicans are living in a parallel universe? Asking for Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment is like saying “We won’t raise the debt limit until Sheryl Crow endorses Charmin.”
Not. Gonna. Happen.
Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-Just Tell Me What You Want Me To Be) called them “tea party hobbits.” The hardworking staff calls them teatotalers.
I cringed Friday night when I heard Shields use that language. Lehrer was on top of it, asking Shields if he really meant that language, which he did. Lehrer then put forward alternative language quoting somebody else as calling it “extortion.”
When Speaker Boehner several months ago set the framework for this whole debacle, by announcing that there would be no debt ceiling hike without a greater amount of spending cuts, you could very well make the case that that was extortion. But it sure doesn’t sound like terrorism.
And to be clear: McCain read from a WSJ editorial calling the tea partiers hobbits, which is a little bit different from calling them that himself. Meet the Press is built around reading statements of public officials and then asking for comment, but we would never attach the words to the moderator as his/her own thoughts.
Yeah, but wasn’t it clear McCain agreed with the WSJ?
Pingback: NYT Obama R.I.P. Edition | Campaign Outsider
Steve Benen takes this up here:
and cites lots of examples of the characterization, including Bush appointee Paul O’Neill: ““The people who are threatening not to pass the debt ceiling are our version of al Qaeda terrorists. Really…. They’re really putting our whole society at risk.”
More on “terrorist” including Sarah “pallin’ around with terrorists” Palin complainin’:
Have we mentioned Joe Nocera yet? http://nyti.ms/oqOHvm
“All day Monday, the blogosphere and the talk shows mused about which party would come out ahead politically. Honestly, who cares? What ought to matter is not how these spending cuts will affect our politicians, but how they’ll affect the country. And I’m not even talking about the terrible toll $2.4 trillion in cuts will take on the poor and the middle class. I am talking about their effect on America’s still-ailing economy.
America’s real crisis is not a debt crisis. It’s an unemployment crisis.”
Hard to argue with that.