S&P Downgrade Is Media's Fault Not The Tea Party's
Next to the President of the United States and his Party, those really responsible are members of the media.
Since the junior senator from Illinois first threw his hat into the presidential ring in February 2007, America's press have refused to hold his feet to the fire concerning any important issue facing the nation.
This debt ceiling debate and resulting downgrade were just the most recent examples.
When Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) offered his 2012 budget proposal in April, news outlet after news outlet lined up to demagogue him mimicking talking points from the White House and the Democrat leadership.
Rather than accurately report that it would save Medicare from total bankruptcy in 2024 while trimming $6 trillion of red ink - a figure that we now know would have averted S&P's downgrade - America's press dishonestly told the public Ryan's bill would destroy the nation's senior healthcare plan
Nevermind that the President's only officially proposed budget - which would have increased the debt by almost $10 trillion and certainly resulted in a rating downgrade - actually lost 97-0 in the Senate not even getting one vote from members of his own Party; the media still continued to lambaste and excoriate Ryan and anyone that had the nerve to support a bill that passed the House 235-189 the month before.
As summer came, and Washington began talking about the looming debt ceiling "crisis", the press assisted the White House and its Party to evoke fear in the nation about a potential default on Treasury paper as well as Social Security payments to seniors.
This came despite there being ample ongoing tax receipts to pay the interest on the debt, Social Security and Medicare recipients as well as military paychecks.
Rather than mercifully telling Americans they shouldn't be concerned about such things, our news media shamefully disseminated the lies coming from the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats unprofessionally ginning up the fear in the country rather than quelling it as you would think was their charter.
Even when given a chance to discuss specifics with treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, prominent Sunday talk show hosts opted to ignore the crucial questions Americans were clearly most concerned about.
As House Republicans put together a Cut, Cap, and Balance bill that would solve the debt ceiling impasse while significantly trimming spending as well as mandating a balanced budget in the future, press outlets assisted the Democrat campaign to defeat it.
This was despite a CNN poll finding 66 percent of respondents in favor of CCB and 74 percent supporting a balanced budget amendment.
It was obvious to the few impartial observers in the nation that so-called journalists were badly on the wrong the side of public opinion on this issue.
Media opposition to CCB continued even after it passed the House 234-190 which certainly made it easier for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to prevent the bill from ever getting voted on in the Senate, a strategy the press applauded.
We now know the passage of CCB likely also would have prevented last Friday's downgrade.
What this means is that this year, House Republicans passed two plans that probably would have preserved America's AAA credit rating if they had cleared the Senate and been signed by the President.
We also know that much like the White House and the Democrat Party, virtually every news outlet in this country with the exception of the minority of conservative ones opposed both of these pieces of legislation. Meanwhile, the only budget proposed by the Left - the President's - didn't get one vote in the Senate.
For their part, Congressional Democrats were totally MIA in this process having failed to offer a budget for well over two years, an abdication of responsibility that curiously doesn't concern America's media while the nation struggles with a budget crisis that could result in a far more calamitous financial disaster than the one we experienced three years ago.
Such folks were more fascinated and supportive of fantasy plans like the so-called "grand bargain" floated by the President during one of his many televised appearances.
Because it included revenue increases - tax hikes to you and me! - the press were almost orgasmic despite nothing having been put on paper for anyone to thoroughly analyze and the near certainty that the offer was largely cynical given the metaphysical certitude Democrats would never have supported any plan containing Medicare and Social Security cuts.
As a comical aside, the Congressional Budget Office months earlier commented about its inability to score budget proposals made during presidential speeches.
Clearly, the media don't have such a problem, for Obama's "grand bargain" with or without the inconvenience of parchment or specificity was, as Goldilocks would say, just right.
What wasn't right to them of course was the final bill that passed in the House last Monday 269-161 in a rare case of bipartisanship with half of the Democrats supporting it. Bipartisanship continued to carry the day Tuesday when the bill passed the Senate 74-26.
This rare bout of unity seemed to infuriate the normally bipartisanship-loving press as they called Tea Partiers terrorists and hostage takers for their role in crafting a package that so many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle had the nerve to vote for.
As MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell noted Monday, "Almost half of the Congress almost always votes against increasing the debt ceiling. The Party out of power leaves raising the debt ceiling to the Party in power."
"In fact," O'Donnell continued, "last week's vote for a debt ceiling increase was the most bipartisan vote to increase the debt ceiling we have seen in a very, very long time."
You certainly couldn't tell that by all the finger-pointing at the Tea Party once S&P announced the downgrade.
Much like the bipartisan support of the Iraq War resolution in October 2002, the Democrats quickly took on a "They Made Me Do It" posture once the agreement they supported became unpopular. True to form, the media were just as willing to give their Party cover now as they were then.
Must be nice to know if your vote ends up being a political albatross, the press will be there to help you remove the burden.
But all this assistance to the White House and its Party has come at a dear cost to the nation.
If press members had been doing their jobs all year, the President and the Democrat leadership would have been forced to put legitimate, written counter-proposals on the table as they unceremoniously swatted aside those offered by Republicans.
Maybe then a far more encompassing piece of legislation would have been in front of Congress in July with more sweeping short and long-term cuts that would have appeased the credit rating agencies while setting the nation on a more solid fiscal course.
Instead, the media played willing accomplices to Obama and his Party with total disregard for the lack of leadership on display. As a result, we're now a double-A+ nation that appears to be heading towards a double-dip recession.
If that's not enough to shame press members that have participated in this chicanery, and the damage to the nation doesn't concern them, maybe they should consider how they have enabled their beloved President to be less of a messiah than they thought he was.
Think about Obama's behavior from last Friday forward.
As we now know, the White House was alerted to the downgrade many hours before S&P released the news to the public. After the back and forth over the numbers, once it was determined that S&P was adamant, Obama largely hid from the nation until his televised appearance Monday afternoon.
Why? Would a strong, confident President have waited so long?
One envisions Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, his father, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, and John F. Kennedy being far more proactive knowing how the stock market was going to react Monday.
I think any of them would have told S&P that he would be making the downgrade announcement to the nation himself in a televised address Friday. During said speech, he would have informed the public about S&P's decision, expressed his disappointment, and then accepted full responsibility for having signed something that was clearly so lacking.
He then would have requested all members of Congress end their summer holidays and immediately return to Washington to start crafting a new plan that might better appease all three credit rating agencies while suggesting that nobody's going home - including himself - until a better package was agreed upon.
That's what a real president would do in my opinion.
But this one has been so coddled by the press and continually allowed to blame his failures on others that he lacks the integrity and intestinal fortitude to behave the way leaders are supposed to when their nation and history demands it.
As much as this is Obama's fault, a shamefully complicit media has enabled his deficiencies thereby making them almost as responsible for Friday's downgrade.