Bozell Column: Pushing Conservatives Off the Fiscal Cliff
The conventional wisdom has emerged that in order to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” politicians in Washington must agree to some method of tax increases (“revenue”) – which will be real, even if low taxes are not the cause of our ills -- alongside some kind of promise of spending restraint on entitlement programs, which is our problem, and which no one believes Washington will restrain.
The American left and our “objective” journalists – same thing, I know – are not helping the nation balance its budget. As usual, these partisan hacks are obsessed with tearing the Republican coalition apart, limb from limb. By empowering the GOP moderates, they drive the conservatives into exile. These liberals are dishonest, but not dumb. They have no intention of honoring a pledge to curtail wasteful spending. What they want is GOP civil war.
On November 27, the front page of The Washington Post exemplified the media’s peculiar method of portraying the two sides. “Republicans begin to challenge the reign of an anti-tax enforcer,” they triumphantly proclaimed for the GOP moderates. The Democrats drew this headline: “White House builds case for middle-class tax cuts.”
So where does this leave conservatives? The brass-knuckled enemy of the middle class. This isn't fairness or balance. It’s just another shameless day in the funhouse of liberal media distortion.
Post reporter Aaron Blake wrote the story on the revolt against Grover Norquist. The Post made their emphasis even more obvious in their free commuter tabloid called Express, which splashed this headline over Blake’s story: “IS THE GOP OVER GROVER?”
Unsurprisingly, Blake admits in mid-story that the shift away from a no-new-taxes pledge “has been encouraged by Democrats, who have worked to make Norquist the face of GOP obstruction.” This could be the media’s motto: “All the News That’s Encouraged by Democrats.”
The same angle screamed from the television. On ABC’s “World News,” anchor Diane Sawyer proclaimed “We did see a sign the paralysis may be ending, a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge.” The graphic on screen read “Tax Revolt.” George Orwell Time: only in liberal news rooms is there such a a thing as a “tax revolt” to raise taxes. On “CBS This Morning,” co-host Charlie Rose pushed Sen. Bob Corker to say he would “forgo the pledge because it is outdated, and the country's problems are too big.”
Since when is a pledge outdated? Can one date a promise?
Now ask this question: who is the Left’s version of Grover Norquist? Who is the lobbyist-slash-“obstacle” who has threatened Democratic candidates not to bend on any limitation on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?
Only one paragraph buried inside the November 27 Post mentioned any pressure from leftist hardliners. “A coalition of union groups aired ads” during NBC’s Thanksgiving broadcast of the Macy’s parade in key states, “urging Congress to resist cutting entitlement programs.” The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has collected 65,000 signatures urging Congress to reject “any proposal that cuts or fundamentally changes earned benefits from our social insurance safety net.”
These “hands off the safety net” socialists at NCPSSM don’t even acknowledge mathematics. On their Facebook page, they tout a quote from Rep. Xavier Becerra: “Social Security isn't about numbers. It’s about people.”
The Left is pretending that Obama’s reelection is somehow a mandate for their agenda. But the president’s constant campaign mantra promised a “balanced approach” of tax hikes and spending cuts.
“You can't reduce the deficit unless you take a balanced approach that says, 'We've gotta make government leaner and more efficient,'" the president told CBS anchor Scott Pelley in September, and the rich need “to do a little bit more.”
Conservatives laugh – and everyone else should laugh – when Obama says he’s for “leaner and more efficient” government. But that is what he pledged to the electorate. If he has a “mandate,” it’s not for the leftist hard line.
Or is this pledge also “outdated”?
The unions and “progressive” groups like NCPSSM met with Obama at the White House on November 13, and came away proclaiming they were encouraged by his resolve to force higher taxes on the rich and preserve entitlements. The TV networks barely noticed it happened.
ABC skipped it. NBC’s Kristen Welker suggested before the meeting that Obama would start “a renewed push to lawmakers and labor officials today to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.” On the next morning, CBS’s Bill Plante briefly mentioned “the signal he sent yesterday at a meeting with labor leaders that nothing is off the table, including programs like Medicare.”
So if the dealmakers can’t come to an agreement, and the country goes over a “fiscal cliff,” journalists are determined to blame conservatives. Ironically, once taxes are raised, then conservatives are the ones who won’t have any skin in the game.