Fareed Zakaria Hails Democrats as ‘Responsible Party of Governance’ Versus ‘Outlandish’ GOP

CNN host and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria lived up to his reputation as someone who’s always willing to trash conservatives and praise liberals at the top of his Sunday morning CNN program by blasting the GOP’s “unwillingness to produce serious proposals” verus the “responsible” Democrats who “buttress their policy with real research.”

Leading off the show with his extended commentary, Zakaria lectured that “a key sign of the Republican party's dysfunction in recent years has been unwillingness to produce serious proposals” but instead “outlandish plans that they well know cannot be enacted or in which the math simply doesn't add up.”

Summarizing various policy planks that Republican presidential candidates have in common (e.g. repeal ObamaCare), Zakaria quipped that none of them “will actually happen” and went onto to cite the Tax Policy Center of plans from three candidates that they argued would add to the national deficit.

Zakaria wondered aloud “why do Republicans do it” and explained that they’re merely appeasing their bases despite “none of it” being “remotely plausible and so have decided that policy proposals are no longer, well, actually policy proposals.” 

“Instead they service as signals, emotional impulses that are meant to energize supporters. The fact that none of proposals never get implemented is of course why the conservative base is so enraged and flocks now to Ted Cruz,” he added. 

Before going on an expansive takedown of Bernie Sanders as similarly unrealistic, Zakaria extolled the broader Democratic Party as having “avoided this path” of the GOP and “buttress[ed] their policy with real research by reputable scholars” and “[i]f they make some rosy assumptions, they tend to be in the bounds of reason.” 

“That's why after being seen as profligate spenders in the 1960s and 70s, the Democratic Party has convinced many centrist voters that it is the responsible party of governance these days,” Zakaria gushed.

The transcript of Zakaria’s commentary from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS on February 21 can be found below.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS
February 21, 2016
10:01 a.m. Eastern

FAREED ZAKARIA: Here's my take. A key sign of the Republican party's dysfunction in recent years has been unwillingness to produce serious proposals. Instead, it's leading lights routinely present outlandish plans that they well know can never be enacted or in which the math simply doesn't add up. What will Republicans do this year if elected to the White House? All GOP candidates would repeal ObamaCare, some would pass a constitutional amendment to balance the budget and others would deport several million undocumented workers.

Needless to say, none of this will actually happen. Take their tax plans. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Marco Rubio's would produce deficits of $8.2 trillion over the next ten years. Cruz's plan clocks in at $10 trillion in deficits and predictably, Donald Trump predictably outdoes them all with a proposal that would add $11 trillion in deficits and would raise the national debt by nearly 80 percent of GDP over the next two decades. So, why do Republicans do it? Because they know what the base wants to hear, are aware that none of it is remotely plausible and so have decided that policy proposals are no longer, well, actually policy proposals. Instead they service as signals, emotional impulses that are meant to energize supporters. The fact that none of proposals never get implemented is of course why the conservative base is so enraged and flocks now to Ted Cruz.

Now, while not blameless, the Democrats since Bill Clinton have by and large avoided this path. They buttress their policy with real research by reputable scholars. If they make some rosy assumptions, they tend to be in the bounds of reason. That's why after being seen as profligate spenders in the 1960s and 70s, the Democratic Party has convinced many centrist voters that it is the responsible party of governance these days. Enter, Bernie Sanders who makes the Republicans look like models of sobriety and scholarly exactitude. The proposals on his campaign website add up to around $18 to $20 trillion over the next decade, according to The New York Times. If you add a higher estimate on the Sander's health plan, by Emory’s Kenneth Thrope, that brings the total cost to about $30 trillion. This week, four respected economists who served Democratic presidents in senior positions wrote a letter bluntly pointing out that “no credible economic research” supports Sanders’s economic proposals and predictions. 

INDEPENDENT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (Vt.): Wall Street —

ZAKARIA: They were referring to claims by Gerald Freidman, an economist who has tried to make Sanders math work. To do so, Friedman assumes that per capita growth would average 4.5 percent. That's more than double the average rate over the last three decades. Even more magically, productively growth would rise to 3.8 percent. As Kevin Drum has pointed out in Mother Jones, “there has never been a 10-year period since World War II in which productivity grew 3.18 percent.” Sander's supporter argue that all this criticism misses the point. Sanders is setting forth an idealistic vision on purpose. His goal is to shift the spectrum, but that argument is premised on the notion that, in fact, America would be better off with $30 trillion of extra government spending, college that would be absolutely free and thus essentially government controlled, and top marginal income tax rates of about 85 percent. It wouldn’t but to him, none of this nitpicking on facts matter. He’s painted with a broader brush. An authentic, man who speaks his mind without fear or favor willing to present bold ideas geared to cap the imagination. Never mind the establishment elites criticize them as unworkable or divisive or radical. Am I speaking about Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump?

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center