Today Tucson congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) cast her first vote since she was critically injured in a January shooting.
You'll recall that in the weeks that followed, the media bemoaned the incivility -- supposedly predominantly conservative in nature -- of the political debate which had allegedly created a climate of hate.
But there appears to to be no firestorm over how, just last week, Arizona Daily Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons fantasized about President Obama sending a SEAL team to assassinate Tea Party-friendly House Republicans.
An unhinged Chris Matthews on Monday decried the debt ceiling deal negotiated in Congress, attacking Tea Party Republicans as a group of baby-kidnapping terrorists. He also bizarrely described the compromise as "political polygamy."
Talking to Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Matthews excoriated, "Why did [Obama] let this develop for six months...this drum roll of the Republicans saying, 'We've got the baby. You don't get the baby back unless you pay us?' Why do you let the other side have the baby, to use kidnapping terms?"
On Monday's "Martin Bashir," MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter proclaimed that America would "be in a depression now if there had been a balanced budget amendment in 2009." Bashir, concurring with the former Newsweek editor, added, "Indeed."
Reacting to Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) press conference about the debt-ceiling deal, Alter and Bashir mocked the speaker's suggestion that a balanced budget amendment is needed to "handcuff" Congress.
The cartoon (embedded after the page break) depicts a battle-scarred U.S. Capitol and White House in 1942 outside of which Nazi and Japanese Empire flags fly in lieu of the Stars and Stripes. A speech balloon coming from the Capitol dome reads, "At least we didn't go into debt," while the caption reads "If Congress had passed the Tea Party's Balanced Budget Amendment in 1940."
In a discussion with Meet the Press host David Gregory and Tom Brokaw on Monday's NBC Today about the debt ceiling deal, co-host Ann Curry contemptuously wondered: "...do you think that members of the Tea Party Caucus know how to govern or are they – do they understand that standing up for a cause is not the same as governing?" [Audio available here]
Interestingly, Brokaw rejected Curry's argument: "Well, I don't think that you can separate the two. The fact is that they were elected to pursue the goals that they took before their constituents and said, 'This is what we believe in, this is why we're going to Washington.' And they have changed the tenor of the debate there and the details of it." He further added: "...this has been a big morning for them so far..."
For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite’s supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media’s disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days:
Yet Zeleny’s analysis was chock full of the typical liberal bias slant that puffs up President Obama, slams the Tea Party as “intractable” and ignores the partisanship of liberal Senate members, particularly Harry Reid (emphasis mine):
In an interview with White House advisor David Plouffe on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about liberals being unhappy with the proposal deal on the debt ceiling: "So did the President compromise here, David, or did he give in simply so that he wouldn't be labeled as the president who was on duty as the nation defaulted on its financial obligations?"
Plouffe defended the plan: "Now, listen, you're obviously seeing some criticism from my party, you're seeing some criticism from the Republican Party. But what this does is first of all we get significant deficit reduction..." Lauer continued to hit from the Left: "The President clearly wanted more revenues, he wanted to raise taxes on wealthiest Americans, he wanted to get rid of some tax cuts for corporations. Those are not in there. Is the fight over taxes over and did the President lose it?"
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday hit senior White House advisor David Plouffe from the left, highlighting liberal columnist Paul Krugman's complaints about the debt ceiling deal. The morning show also played up a Democratic congressman's attack that the bill is a "Satan sandwich."
Quoting from the New York Times' Krugman, Stephanopoulos fretted, "Paul Krugman in the New York Times this morning saying that the President 'had an abject surrender. He says that Obama surrendered last December extending all the Bush tax cuts.'"
Late last night, President Obama announced that Democrat and Republican leaders had agreed on a plan with Obama's approval to raise the debt ceiling. The plan would prevent any possible defaults that could occur on August 2 if the deal is not passed in Congress.
The plan is still subject to congressional approval, and many Democrats and Republicans are already speaking out against it. Check out a summary of the deal after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Barney Frank has to be the biggest sourpuss in Congress. The liberal representative from Massachusetts has made an art form out of ripping out his ear piece and abruptly ending an interview. This testy feller could pick a fight in a phone booth.
So Frank would be the last person you'd expect, in commenting on the debt ceiling deal, to break out a classic line from comedian Henny Youngman. Yet that's exactly what Barney did on Morning Joe today, in explaining why he was supporting a bill that contains much he doesn't like.
During a commentary aired on CBS Sunday Morning, supposedly right-leaning actor and economist Ben Stein blamed the "folly of supply side economics" - singling out President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in addition to President Obama’s spending - for the current federal budget deficit. The CBS contributor also complained that some Republicans have an "inflexible belief" that "low taxes were an American birthright."
He also complained that the Tea Partiers "insisted on the basically impossible, an immediate cut in federal spending, large enough to balance the budget without tax increases. In this age of Medicare and Medicaid, two wars, massive federal debt, interest payments, staggering Social Security obligations, that was simply impossible."
George Will and Paul Krugman had another great debate Sunday about the role of government spending in stimulating the economy.
As the New York Times columnist predictably whined about the need for more federal spending not less, ABC's lone conservative said on "This Week," "It would be good to go to the electorate and have a Krugman election this time, saying: resolved, the government is too frugal - let's vote" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes seemed to put the burden on Republicans of causing U.S. troops to wonder if they will be paid on time during the budget battle, as a clip of her was shown asked House Speaker John Boehner, "How can you even allow these soldiers to wonder whether they're going to get paid?"
In his roughly 10 a.m. report this morning (HT to an NB emailer), the Associated Press's Steven R. Hurst opened by saying that "The top Republican in the Senate said Congress and the White House were very close to a deal on raising the limit on U.S. borrowing that would avert an unprecedented default on America's debt, ending one of the nastiest partisan fights in recent memory."
In his second sentence, he wrote, based on a statement from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that an agreement would "likely extend U.S. borrowing authority, which expires on Tuesday, beyond the 2012 presidential and congressional elections," giving casual readers the impression that default will occur if the borrowing authority ends.
That simply isn't so. Who says so? Moody's says so, as carried in a live blog item at the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (HT Verum Serum):
Three noteworthy spins, charges and/or claims made on the Sunday morning interview shows.
> ABC’s This Week, with “ALL CUTS, NO TAXES?” on screen: George Stephanopoulos hit White House senior adviser David Plouffe from the left on how “this enforcement mechanism would not include revenue increases, would be just across the board spending cuts.” He fretted the deal “all but guarantee that the final product is all spending cuts and not the balanced approach the President wants.” Christiane Amanpour despaired President Obama “has moved all of the way to the language and the ideals that the Republicans espouse.”
> CBS’s Face the Nation: Bob Schieffer insisted “some people say that the Republican Party has been held hostage by the Tea Party” and he discerned “some truth” in an allegation he saw on Facebook that allowing House freshmen “‘to control this debate’” is “‘like letting the teenager in the family run the family budget.’”
Speaking on the floor of the Senate Saturday, Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said, "If we had a billion dollars for every time I heard the words 'Tea Party extremist,' we could solve this debt problem."
Proving his point about the vitriolic name-calling of conservatives so prevalent now, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman began his most recent piece, "Watching today's Republicans being led around by an extremist Tea Party":
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Friday night noted the very anemic second quarter GDP growth rate at 1.3 percent, but instead of stressing how it showed the weak economic state well before the debt ceiling showdown, they submerged it into warnings of how the delay in getting a deal is hurting the economy.
On ABC’s World News, Bianna Golodryga, aka Mrs. Peter Orszag, the wife of Obama’s former OMB Director, helped her husband’s ex-employer by failing to even mention the worst news of the day: the revision of the first quarter GDP down to a flat line 0.4 percent from the original 1.9 percent estimate. At least CBS and NBC considered that newsworthy.
New polling numbers suggest that voters have been unimpressed with Obama’s performance — with his once-sizable reelection advantage evaporating in a matter of weeks.
A survey published this week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds that 41 percent of voters want to see Obama reelected next year, compared with 40 percent who favor a Republican. In May, Obama led by 11 points, 48 to 37. The explanation: The number of independents wanting an Obama victory fell from 42 percent in May to 31 percent now.
Throughout his tenure, there have been several facets in which President Obama has been demonstrably weak on leadership, with the debt debate coming to the forefront in recent months. Now however, lost in that news cycle has been another failure of leadership for the President – his own request to tone down violent rhetoric in this country. For it was mere months ago that Obama stood in front of a crowd in Tucson that had anxiously sought leadership amidst the chaos of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; a teachable moment that had The Guardiangushing about how the President had delivered “calm amid the toxic rhetoric.”
That moment of calm has long since dissipated. Where once the President had denounced discourse that places “the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do”, we hear Republicans blamed for holding the American people hostage to their economic policies. Where once we were urged to talk “with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds”, we now hear Tea Party members being denounced as terrorists.
Make no mistake, this ratcheting up of terrorism and hostage-taking discourse directly coincides with recent events in Norway. The instant that Oslo terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, was labeled as a ‘right-wing Christian’, liberals finally had their moment to seize upon - not just a chance to label conservatives as extreme ideologues but a chance to label them as violent ideologues. This message has been a coordinated and vicious attack amongst the media, the Democrats, and most assuredly, the President.
Appearing on MSNBC this afternoon, Time Magazine's Michael Scherer set out to debunk a non-existent Republican red herring on the debt ceiling debate on Friday's News Nation. "The President has been negotiating behind the scenes, has put forward a number of proposals and he's gone public with the outlines of a proposal he is willing to accept," said Scherer.
Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson on Friday accused the Tea Party of wanting "to burn the place down" and having figuratively "strapped explosives to the Capitol" during debt ceiling negotiations.
Sitting beside her on PBS's "Inside Washington" was Charles Krauthammer who smartly replied, "I thought post-Tucson we weren’t supposed to accuse our political opponents of being terrorists" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a "Fareed Zakaria GPS" segment to be aired on CNN Sunday and posted at the network's website Thursday, the host flat out lies about the current debt ceiling debate as well as when and why credit rating agencies began expressing concern about our nation's finances.
"Please understand that none of these things are happening because the United States is running deficits," Zakaria falsely claims. "We face downgrades and investor panic not because of our deficits" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A trend is emerging on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," whereby guests make inflammatory statements likening conservatives to terrorists, and none of the co-hosts insist on a more elevated level of dialogue.
Following in the footsteps of Newsweek's Tina Brown and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), two MSNBC analysts called conservatives in Congress "economic terrorists" and "crazy" on Friday, yet none of the program's co-hosts questioned the offensive choice of words or called for a more civilized tone.
Disgraced former Obama car czar Steve Rattner went first, framing Tea Partiers as suicide bombers:
On Friday, all three network morning shows played up the theme of stubborn House GOP conservatives opposing Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling plan. On CBS's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge proclaimed: "House Republicans will meet again this morning after hardline conservatives handed House Speaker John Boehner a major setback."
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced: "The House Speaker's debt plan melts down after hours of arm twisting failed to subdue a Tea Party rebellion." On NBC's Today, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "A parade of those rebellious holdout Republicans were summoned to the Speaker's office."
"When, oh, when is a Republican going to stand up" and call the liberal media on their lies about the debt ceiling debate, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell lamented on this morning's "Fox & Friends."
Bozell was reacting to a clip of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) answering a misleading and biased question by CBS's Bob Schieffer (video follows page break; MP3 audio here):
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Friday took some well-deserved shots at New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
After "Morning Joe's" Mika Brzezinski read bits of Krugman's most recent rant against "Republican extremism," her co-host responded, "If you’re a blogger, and you’re still living in your mom’s basement, and you got Cheetos all over the keyboard, you type in your underwear...you look at Paul Krugman and you think, 'He is my hero'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Running a brief excerpt from his Sunday night Dateline special, “Taking the Hill: Inside Congress,” Brian Williams on Thursday evening showcased one and only one question he posed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He demanded: “Why shouldn't rich folks pay more?”
Williams insisted on NBC Nightly News that’s “a hot topic, no tax increase in any of these plans being discussed” in “what has become a big charge from the left that in any of these debt ceiling deals the poor are likely to get hit while the rich are likely to get a pass.”