Wednesday, November 23, 2011

They Really Do Try, Don't They?

I never cease to be amazed at the unadulterated spin from conservative pundits and columnists who look for any opportunity to blame President Obama for pretty much anything. It's almost as if they think they're speaking to or writing for a Fox News audience with no worry about being called to account for the obvious disingenuousness they spew. Markets down? Obama's fault. Greece in financial disarray? ...Damn that Obama. Scrapping the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year due to high winds? ...OBAMAAAAAA!

The latest example of this comes from Washington Post opinion columnist Michael Gerson. Mr. Gerson has absolutely no problem blaming the failed Supercommittee debacle on the President. Titled "Obama Let the Supercommittee Fail," Gerson blames indifference on the part of the President for a group of twelve grown adults (yes, I'll include the Republicans on the committee as "grown-up") not coming to an agreement with a looming $1.2 trillion in cuts across the board. But amazingly, Gerson believes, or would have his readers believe, that the "supercommittee failed primarily because President Obama gave a shrug."

So what if Republicans wouldn't budge on actual revenue increases in a balanced combination with spending cuts? So what if their ultimate $300 billion tax increase offer was connected to a basic repeal of the Affordable Care Act which took over a year to pass and a privatization of Medicare? The real problem was that "these were the ingredients for a deal. But only a president can mix them and apply the heat." Yep, Obama is the cook that stirs the pot and self-motivation for 12 of an elite 100 members of our political system is of no consequence. ...Damn Obama!

The disconnect is the fact that Gerson knows that Republicans would have never agreed to anything, as witnessed by the moving of the goalposts farther and farther to the right. Ezra Klein analyzes:
If by "at fault" we mean "unwilling to compromise," we can do better than listen to the self-serving remarks of the players. We can look hard at the movement in the actual plans...
The final Boehner [/Obama] plan envisioned tax reform that would generate $800 billion in new revenues and bring the top rate down to 35 percent. In the supercommittee, the highest Republicans ever got on taxes was the Toomey plan's $300 billion, with envisioned a top rate of 28 percent. So on taxes, it's fairly clear: The supercommittee Republicans were far to the right of Boehner.
On the Democratic side, Obama eventually insisted on somewhere near $1.2 trillion in tax reform or, if the revenues were to move lower, on much less in entitlement cuts. In the supercommittee, the Democrats offered a plan with less than a trillion dollars in tax reform -- and more entitlement reforms than Obama was willing to agree to.
Boehner had about $150 billion in Medicare beneficiary cuts in his opening bid in the negotiations with the president, and he went down from there. In the supercommittee, Baucus offered $200 billion in Medicare beneficiary cuts...
These steps toward compromise by the Democrats, who swallowed hard in a serious effort to get something done, were far more than anything Republicans offered. Does it surprise anyone that Republicans would take a step further to the right in an effort to sink any deal and let the usual Republican "Obama can't get anything done" talking points continue? This has been their strategy from the start. And Gerson knows this. But why point the blame at a deadlocked "supercommittee" when you can just blame the President?

I won't bore you with anymore detail in Gerson's column (you can read it for yourself to get the full frontal asshattery) except for one line. Gerson asserts that the President "is simply in over his head." This was the same accusation hurled at President Obama on the supposed failed stimulus to stop our economy from hurdling over a cliff. Sorry for the bad timing, Mike, but maybe you should read the latest CBO report:
The economy would have been in much worse shape without the 2009 stimulus — which increased employment in the third quarter of this year by as many as 3.3 million full-time jobs, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office...
...The CBO figures released Tuesday estimate that the stimulus package raised the gross domestic product this past quarter by 0.3 percent-1.9 percent.
Yep, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enacted by this "in over his head" President is still stimulating the economy a year after its "end." We now know the recession we found ourselves in was much deeper and dire than anyone had estimated and had the stimulus been even larger, we might be in even better shape today. But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good villain story, right Mr. Gerson?

1 comment:

NowhereMan said...

Rush must be writing Gerson's column or maybe hes been raiding his medicine cabinet.Or a bad case of cranialrectumitis