Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mike Grunwald on the Idiocracy ... by gimleteye

Miami-based, Time Magazine senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald has a refreshing viewpoint on the fiscal crisis engulfing American politics. "One of the major parties has abandoned its grip on reality."

Still True Today: Frequently Forgotten Facts of the Debt Debate
By MICHAEL GRUNWALD Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If the debt-limit debate had anything to do with reality, every story about it would include a few basic facts. Starting with: President Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion budget deficit. And: Republican leaders supported the tax cuts and wars that (along with the recession, another pre-Obama phenomenon) created that deficit. Also: Republicans engineered this crisis by attaching unprecedented ideological demands to a routine measure allowing the U.S. to pay its bills. Finally, Obama and the Democrats keep meeting those demands—for spending cuts, then for more spending cuts, and even for nothing but spending cuts—but Republicans keep holding out for more.

These are verifiable facts, not opinions. But since they aren’t new facts, and re-reporting them would make “GOP claims” about the crisis look, um, non-factual, they’re rarely mentioned, except as “Democratic claims.” This is a real problem for journalism in an era where—now this is an opinion—one of the major parties has abandoned its grip on reality. I understand why objective reporters aren’t encouraged to contradict political lies with historical truths, but this hostage drama is one of the prices of our era of amnesia.

Look, staying in opinion-land, I think this particular hostage drama could conceivably drive budget policy in a good direction. I’d love to see big cuts in spending on agriculture, housing and the military. We do need to restrain long-term Medicare and Medicaid costs, although there are better and worse ways to do that. There’s still a chance to eliminate ludicrous tax breaks for ethanol producers, private jet owners and hedge fund managers, maybe paired with an economy-boosting payroll tax cut to help Republicans honor their no-new-taxes pledges.

In other words, it’s at least possible that this crisis the Republicans created could have a beneficial effect. It’s also possible that this crisis the Republicans created could cripple the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, plunge the economy back into recession, and increase borrowing costs for just about everyone. But whatever happens, Republicans created this crisis. They blew up the debt. They refused to raise the debt ceiling without conditions. And because of their internal divisions, they can’t even decide what those conditions should be. They initially demanded a breakdown of 85% spending cuts and 15% revenue increases, before deciding the deal had to be 100% spending cuts. Some initially praised the bipartisan Gang of Six plan—until Obama endorsed it. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a proposal for 100% spending cuts, all of which Republicans had already endorsed –until, of course, Reid proposed them.

I’ve made some of these points before. More than once, I suppose. But they seem quite relevant to the back-and-forth over the debt ceiling, which goes on every day even though those points don’t get repeated every day.

I remember back when I was at The Washington Post, a guy named Matt Miller (unsuccessfully) pitched my boss about running a daily front-page feature called “Still True Today,” to inform readers about important facts that didn’t happen to be newsworthy that day. Miller’s plan wouldn’t really address the problem of a major political party creating its own fact-free reality. And I don’t know how many minds would be changed by constant reminders that President Clinton left behind a substantial surplus, that President Bush vaporized it into a gigantic deficit, that President Obama’s health care reforms will actually reduce the deficit.

But it does seem to be worth pointing out that those facts are still true today. Not that they seem to matter.

Related Topics: debt ceiling, gop, Viewpoint

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Anonymous said...

Posted this yesterday but bears posting again. Republican's are now anarchists!

...from P.M. Carpenter. Can anyone honestly disagree:

Not since Abe Lincoln took office has a president's political opposition been so ruthlessly determined to oppose -- even to the point of national disloyalty, which is precisely what the GOP's treacherous machinations over the debt limit represent. It is futile to look back on Obama's first two years and speculate that he should have done this, or that he should have done that, and then this or that might have proceeded better; it is futile because whatever path Obama might have chosen, his opposition was acrobatically hellbent on obstructing it.

Geniusofdespair said...

He Hit The Nail On The Head:

...the problem of a major political party creating its own fact-free reality.

Anonymous said...

Genius you are correct and that a major political party is doubling down on Bush's wars + Libya and extended all the Bush Tax cuts back in December with full control of both legislative chambers. We are told this is what got us into the mess in the first place. Nevermind the reality of Social Security and Medicare is out of hand.

Anonymous said...

What was wrong with my comment about the lack of any Obama plan? You invite comments but then you delete those you don't agree with.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Geniusofdespair said...

Republicans trolls not welcome here.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of the trolls too. They all sound the same. They infect enough of the internet.

Didn't know what you meant said...

I googled it/
Making a negative claim against the president is the definition of a Republican troll - and it happens every hour. These posts are by definition insincere propaganda.

Geniusofdespair said...

the story of a Republican Troll:

The Ultimate Republican Troll

* July 9th, 2011

* By V. Mercader

Conservatives like to talk a lot. They like a conversation, even if it’s not a good one. Most of the time it isn’t always a good one. It’s like being interviewed by one of the people from FOX news. Take for example this troll I came across a bridge.

Let’s start in the beginning. This is a conversation on an article about Michele Bachmann’s idiotic claim about John Quincy Adams being a member of the Revolutionary war (and later on about John Wayne’s birthplace). Of course, I responded with a question in which the obvious answer is "conservatives are terrible Liars and are stupid".

My question was this:

Why are conservatives always like this? They’re such habitual distorter of Truth – From Religion to history. Seriously. It’s absolutely asinine.

Of course no one has to answer this question that already has an answer on its own, unless you’re an absolutely irritating, motherf***ing comment Troll who has nothing logical to say but still respond anyway just to be annoying. They don’t say the right things, it’s actually horribly wrong, but they just want to annoying. That’s their purpose in life.

Anonymous said...

Will anyone, including this blog's administrator, respond to the first commenter above that makes some excellent factual points and observations on this subject ?

Geniusofdespair said...

Gimleteye has to do it.... I am too busy writing about Miami and chasing down trolls. Michael Grunwald is brilliant, read his article again.

Anonymous said...

Article 14, Section 4