ABC's 'This Week': Obama Isn't Drinking Tea Party's Tax Cut Kool-Aid

As NewsBusters previously reported, ABC's "This Week" invited on a number of Tea Party Congressman Sunday to discuss the budget debate going on in Washington.

Just before that segment, ABC's John Donvan did a brief report that concluded with him insinuating that this conservative movement is drinking tax cut Kool-Aid and President Obama is having none of it (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JOHN DONVAN, ABC: Tea? No, that would be water, and there you have beer, champagne, soda pop, a nice, cold smoothie, a shot of orange juice, and yes, OK, he also drinks tea. In fact, it seems he has had to swallow quite a bit lately. So much so, that this week, when the president at last put forth a budget proposal of his own, it sounded somewhat tea-stained in places.

OBAMA: We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit.

DONVAN: A message not at all like the theme he rode into office. Remember?

OBAMA: I do believe the government should do that which we cannot do for ourselves. That's why I'm going to create a $25 billion fund to help states and local governments pay for health care, pay for education.

I do think it's important for the federal government to step up.

DONVAN: But then some new folks came to Washington, and they have really changed the conversation. The 59 members of Congress sworn in this season who are not only Republicans, but who are also marching behind this, and the movement that has claimed it for itself, the Tea Party, which wants smaller government and lower taxes, whose supporters a mere two years ago were only really just getting acquainted with each other when they took to the streets. A lot of folks who didn't do politics before, and now some of them are in politics.

He owned a pizza parlor. He's a dentist from Washington state. A funeral director from Florida. A nurse. And he, a car salesman from California.

They came in saying they wanted to change things. Wait, that was his line.

OBAMA: That's what change is.

DONVAN: But the Tea Party folks may, may have a better shot at that, because their obvious distaste for the politics of compromise -- that is what changed the conversation, and almost shut the government. And yet when a deal was reached that cut the budget by $38.5 billion, which is historic, they had wanted 100 billion. That's why many of them defied their own Republican House Speaker John Boehner, voting against a deal that he reached so that then he needed a lot of Democratic votes to pass it, raising the question who is leading whom? They of course are still going to want big tax cuts, and that's going to be a fight, because he also talked this week about government that is worth saving. And said.

OBAMA: There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

DONVAN: Because, to him, that tea sounds like Kool-Aid, and that he's not drinking.

I'm John Donvan for "This Week" in Washington.

For those unfamiliar with the term, "drinking the Kool-Aid" means blindly accepting a false idea or concept without doing any examination of its merit.

It stems from the 1978 Jonestown massacre in Guyana where followers of cult leader Jim Jones committed mass suicide by drinking a flavored beverage originally thought to be Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. It was later determined that a cheaper substitute called Flavor-Aid was used.

Regardless, what Donvan intentionally or accidentally did here was disparage Tea Party members by insinuating their idea to balance the budget without raising taxes - and, yes, possibly even with targetted economy-stimulating tax cuts - is inherently a false premise.

Maybe Donvan and ABC News producers ought to study a little history to find that the strongest economic decade in the previous century came in the 1920s when Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge cut spending by almost 50 percent while dramatically reducing income tax rates.

As the liberal Wikipedia tells us:

The 1920s was a decade of increased consumer spending and economic growth fed by supply side economic policy. The post war saw three consecutive Republican administrations in the U.S. All three took the conservative position of forging a close relationship between those in government and big business. When President Warren Harding took office in 1921, the national economy was in the depths of a depression with an unemployment rate of 20% and runaway inflation. Harding proposed to reduce the national debt, reduce taxes, protect farming interests, and cut back on immigration. Harding didn't live to see it, but most of his agenda was passed by the Congress. These policies led to the "boom" of the Coolidge years.

One of the main initiatives of both the Harding and Coolidge administrations was the rolling back of income taxes on the wealthy which had been raised during World War I. It was believed that a heavy tax burden on the rich would slow the economy, and actually reduce tax revenues. This tax cut was achieved under President Calvin Coolidge's administration. Furthermore, Coolidge consistently blocked any attempts at government intrusion into private business. Harding and Coolidge's managerial approach sustained economic growth throughout most of the decade.

As such, before Donvan implies Tea Partiers are drinking the Kool-Aid because they believe cutting spending and taxes can dramatically stimulate the economy, maybe he should do a little research first.

Or would that be too much like journalism for him?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.