There is an overarching reason we can't move toward a balanced budget, which underscores why we face ongoing stalemates over debt ceilings and continuing resolutions: President Obama doesn't want to balance the budget.
I don't say this out of extremism or to be gratuitously controversial or even provocative. It's just that his words and actions lead to the inescapable conclusion that he is unwilling to curb his appetite for big government. In the absence of any such restraint, our alarming budget trajectory cannot be reversed. The debt ceiling may be the last clear chance before the 2012 elections to force meaningful budgetary reforms.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Chris Matthews had quite a heated debate with Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) on Tuesday's "Hardball."
Amidst a series of ridiculous questions asked of the Congressman, possibly the most absurd was, "If we have a crisis in August [as a result of not raising the debt ceiling], will you resign?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Reporters have repeatedly portrayed Barack Obama as a deficit hawk committed to "slashing" spending, as MRC Research Director Rich Noyes documented in April ahead of the president's much-anticipated budget speech.
While the media touted Obama's budget blueprint, which contained puny cuts, as "deeply painful," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress the president's framework lacked sufficient detail to be scored as a credible plan.
Since then, Obama still hasn't revealed a serious plan to cut spending, yet correspondents continue to paint the president as a budget cutter.
MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle perpetuated the liberal line of Republican obstinacy over the debt ceiling on Tuesday's Morning Joe using a poor analogy to home buying. "Did you ever compromise or negotiate on the price with the then owner of the home?" asked Barnicle.
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry admonished Republicans for trying to pass a balanced budget amendment as part of a debt ceiling agreement: "Tea Party conservatives love this plan. The President has already said that he's going to veto it. Do we really have time for a plan that is really just show?" [Audio available here]
In response, congressional correspondent Kelly O'Donnell touted White House reaction: "They issued the veto threat, and they also said that this would really force the government to not be able to spend on things like Medicare, Social Security, prevent spending for future disasters. And they even renamed it...The White House is calling it 'duck, dodge and dismantle.'"
The OK Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., was where Doc Holliday and Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp fought the Clantons and McLaurys on Oct. 26, 1881. At the end of that 30-second showdown, Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded, and three cowboys were dead.
President Barack Obama and House Republicans' showdown over the debt and deficit quickly is turning into Washington's OK Corral. And politicians on each side are trying to convince you which are Tombstone law enforcement (the good guys) and who the rogue cowboys (the bad guys) are.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Pat Buchanan got into quite a heated debate on Monday's "Hardball."
At issue was the battle of the debt ceiling with Matthews calling Tea Partiers opposed to raising it "crazy protesters" and telling his guest, "You want to join" them (video follows with transcript and commentary):
According to Chris Matthews, conservative House Republicans who are holding steadfast on resisting a debt ceiling deal that includes tax hikes are like the apocryphal bovine of doom behind the 1871 fire that destroyed much of Chicago (video follows page break):
While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted this year to approve House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R.-Wis.) proposal--that would put the government on a gradual path to a surplus by 2040--and plans to vote on a balanced budget amendment next week that would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP, the only budget proposal President Obama's has publicly revealed in 2011 would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, increase the deficit by $26 billion this year, $83 billion next year, and $2.7 trillion over the next decade.
Additionally, although annual budget deficits would decline somewhat between 2013 and 2015 under Obama's proposal, according to the CBO, after that they would start increasing again, going up every year from 2016 to 2021, the last year estimated by the CBO.
In an interview with the Dalai Lama aired on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry bizarrely asked the Tibetan spiritual leader about the debt ceiling fight in Congress: "The President is in a fierce struggle with his political opponents over the future of the nation's finances. What is the best way, your best advice, in how to find compromise with those you deeply disagree with?" [Audio available here]
The Dalai Lama responded by saying both sides "must work together" to come to a deal: "this is economic problem. It is not the interest of this party or that party. It's a national sort of interest." Curry noted how, "The Dalai lama says he offered President Obama comfort," during a weekend meeting at the White House.
With trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, a balanced budget amendment is sounding pretty good to an overwhelming majority of Americans.
Apparently CBS's Bob Schieffer isn't amongst them, as he actually asked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Sunday's "Face the Nation," "Why are you wasting time debating that?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Gloria Borger said this weekend the Tea Party has "hijacked" the GOP and in so doing prevented Barack Obama from becoming a "transformational president."
In her view espoused on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," without the Tea Party, "The John Boehners of the world [would have] cut a deal with the President of the United States" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A couple of Sunday interview show hosts again forwarded White House talking points about the necessity to include taxes, I mean “revenues,” in any debt ceiling increase deal with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour focusing on a single poll she highlighted for ammunition the public is on her side while ignoring how, by two-to-one, the public opposes raising the debt ceiling at all.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer touted how President Obama has made “concessions” but, he sputtered, “I don't hear any concessions from people on the other side. They just say no taxes, and that’s their negotiating posture.” He demanded of Senator Marco Rubio: “Can you have meaningful reform here without increasing revenues in some way?”
When an adoring mainstream media suspend their fawning long enough to point out that he's lying, Barack Obama must realize his presidency is in trouble. That's what happened Friday night on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees.
Naturally, Cooper began by claiming Republicans who argue Americans don't want higher taxes use polling data "that's just not true." No mention was made of this week's Rasmussen Reports survey showing 55 percent of respondents oppose a tax hike in any debt ceiling deal. But then Cooper turned to Gallup Poll findings used by Obama:
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
Charles Krauthammer on Friday marvelously demonstrated just how in the pockets of Barack Obama America's news media are.
After claiming on PBS's "Inside Washington" that we now have a "completely compliant, pliant, supine press accepting every leak out of the White House," he silenced the entire panel by asking them to name one specific cut to entitlements the President has proposed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Here are a couple of examples, caught by the eagle-eyed Brent Baker, of MSNBC's supposedly more-restrained "news" anchors mouthing the kind of left-wing rhetoric that's a staple of their prime time hosts.
Immediately after President Obama's press conference earlier today, 11am ET anchor Thomas Roberts framed a question about tax policy thusly: "Why do you think the top 2 percent of America has a chokehold on the other 98 percent?"
A few minutes later, after the top of the hour, 12pm ET anchor Contessa Brewer disparaged the Republican position against raising tax rates:
Calmes’s reporting is often weighted toward Democrats, and she has expressed her sympathies for Obama in his dealings with Republicans the last few years, complaining the G.O.P. had not sufficiently “accomodated” the president by passing Obama-care and financial regulation. She wrote for Friday’s lead:
"You know, in Journalism 101, if you're going to ask a question of someone like the president, what you do is, you take, respectfully, you take the opposition's best argument and you play devil's advocate," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued on the July 14 edition of "Hannity."
But instead of taking that approach -- which, Bozell noted, the famous liberal reporter Sam Donaldson took both with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton -- the media have been actively working with Obama to forward the Democratic narrative regarding the debt ceiling negotiations.
The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.
The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.
Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.
Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that President Barack Obama has shown a “level of patience” in debt limit negotiations with congressional leaders that does not compare to the biblical figure Job, known as the “Man of Patience.”
It has been widely reported that President Barack Obama walked out of Wednesday night's debt limit meeting, but MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday was in complete denial that the Democratic president, who's merely "exasperated by Republicans playing this dangerous game," would conduct himself in such a way.
During his daily "Clear the Air" segment, Bashir offered mounds of incredulity but not a shred of evidence to contradict numerous reports of Obama abruptly and prematurely terminating the meeting:
Hmm, I'm not so sure about that...The president losing his temper, abruptly, and rudely cutting short the conversation? Running from a room inside the White House? Does that sound the like president that we've gotten to know during the last two and a half years? Or is that the kind of behavior we've now come to expect from Eric Cantor over the last few weeks?
Joe Scarborough took Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski to task Thursday over the ongoing debt negotiations. "[Republicans] already have given specifics on the Paul Ryan Medicare plan which was political suicide for a lot of Republicans. They took that hard vote. What hard vote have Democrats made on the debt over the past year? Name one. Name one vote" said Scarborough.
Also yesterday came a stern reminder from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the president has repeatedly listened to the concerns of Congress but that "nobody can out debate him." Check out a video of Pelosi's remarks after the break, and let us know what you think of Obama's actions in the comments.
America's only admittedly socialist member of Congress said Wednesday that he disagreed with President Obama's comments concerning Social Security checks possibly not going out on August 3rd if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he felt checks to seniors and disabled vets would be issued no matter what, the host of MSNBC's "The Ed Show" responded, "So you would take issue with the President on that statement, that he may have been fear-mongering in essence?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on Wednesday gave a lesson on utterly shameless fear-mongering.
In the final segment of MSNBC's "Hardball," the host said, "Failure to act on the debt ceiling will create a horror for our country, a horror we’ve never seen before" (video follows with transcript and commentary):