New Republic's Advice to Obama: Roll in the Tanks and Blow Up 'Intransigent' Congress
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
Ioffe used the "intransigent" label in the lede for her short article: "What is a president in a presidential constitutional republic to do when faced with an intransigent, bull-headed faction among his people's representatives?" She continued by outlining the history of the 1993 crisis in Russia:
Well, Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first democratically elected president, was once faced with a similar situation exactly 20 years ago, in October 1993. The parliament, then called the Supreme Soviet, was increasingly against Yeltsin's neoliberal economic reforms...On one hand, these reforms freed up the old Soviet command economy. On the other, they drove the country into chaos and violence, and left tens of millions impoverished, their savings nullified by skyrocketing inflation. The parliament, dominated by old Soviet conservatives, was increasingly against these reforms and refused to confirm Yeltsin's key economic advisor. Yeltsin held a national referendum, a sort of national vote of confidence, which he won, and used it as a justification for what he did next.
Almost exactly 20 years ago, he dissolved parliament. The vice president and the speaker of the parliament dissolved Yeltsin's presidency, and holed up with their supporters in the parliament's headquarters, now known as "the White House." Then Yeltsin did this to it.
The New Republic writer followed with a stark image of the "White House" on fire, with a tank in front of it [see above]. Yeltsin had ordered the army to surround the building with tanks, fire into it, and finally sent in troops to arrest the "bull-headed" anti-Yeltsin legislators.
The National Review's Jim Geraghty slammed Ioffe on Twitter for her "violent, authoritarian, [and] eliminationist rhetoric." If a conservative publication, such as National Review, had made a similar suggestion against a liberal president, the outcry from the left would have been deafening.