Last week, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said conservative views about the debt ceiling should be censored from news reports.
On Friday's "Morning Joe," Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) took this a step further calling on media to stop giving "equal time or equal balance" to Tea Party ideas that people like him consider "absurd" and "not factual" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D-MASSACHUSETTS): The bottom line is that what we need to do, and I, I, I am, I feel very strongly about this, you know, we’ve got to step up and start dealing with facts and with reality. And too many people in Congress are making up their own facts, and too many people are avoiding this reality and pretending that the only thing you need to deal with is the debt and deficit.
The real truth is America faces a long-term structural debt. I think I even heard you say this, Joe, a little bit, it’s not the immediate cuts. In fact, the cuts for next year are about $22 billion. The cuts the year after are about $44 billion. We can deal with that. But what people are looking at is the absence of a willingness to try to really deal with America’s twofold long problem. One, the structural deficit on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and two, the lack of job creation, a flat economy, an economy that frankly needs stimulus and needs a growth plan.
So, in Kerry’s view, “Too many people in Congress are making up their own facts, and too many people are avoiding this reality and pretending that the only thing you need to deal with is the debt and deficit.”
As such, folks that don'’t believe in Keynesian economics - that don't think government spending can solve rising unemployment - and instead believe runaway deficits and spiraling debt are the real threat to our nation’s future are “making up their own facts” and are “avoiding” reality.
That in of itself is fine for a politician to think and to posit. However, what Kerry said moments later should really concern Americans on both sides of the aisle:
KERRY: We have to change the minds of those people in the House of Representatives who have appropriately focused on the deficit and debt, but who have completely inappropriately left out any kind of plans whatsoever for how you create jobs and grow America. I mean we literally, I mean everybody’s talked about it. Yes, the Congress was taken hostage, the country, the economy was taken hostage. You had people there who were literally ready to cut the baby in half. I mean, I’ve heard a lot of criticism of the President. Frankly, the President had no choice here. Congress had no choice here. We did the same thing the President had to do which is save America from a default, because a default would have been far more disastrous.
What Kerry, his Party, and his President could have done was actually create a budget – either this year or last year – that incorporated a debt ceiling increase which would have completely prevented this so-called crisis.
For the past several weeks, Democrats and their media minions have accused the Right, and in particular the Tea Party, of manufacturing this crisis.
If Kerry is truly concerned about facts and reality, he would accept responsibility for having for almost two and a half years not offered a budget while refusing to allow Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) proposal to be voted on in the Senate.
It is indeed such failure on the part of Democrats and the President that brought America to the brink of having to default on some of its commitments this week.
But Kerry isn’t really concerned with facts or reality. Instead, he’s interested in presenting a skewed view of the world, and he wants the media to assist him:
KERRY: And what we had was a group of people who are completely unaware or didn’t care about the consequences of their actions. They were actually arguing for a default which would have been even more catastrophic with respect to what’s happening in Europe and what’s happening here at home now. So we have to break that, and I have to tell you, I say this to you politely: the media in America has a bigger responsibility than it's exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual, it doesn't deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of, of what's real, of who's accountable, of who is not accountable, of who's real, who isn't, who's serious, who isn't?
For those that have forgotten, this is exactly what Krugman wrote last week, and it is truly scary stuff: there should be no news reports that include views the Left doesn’t agree with.
Moments later, Kerry continued with this frightening theme:
KERRY: We have to, have to find a way to get some of these people in Congress, who are locked in to just one view about where we can go, and, and that’s really what’s hampered us. You know, when I have a top Senator in the Republican leadership tell me that he’s been calling members of his delegation and he can’t persuade them to do something reasonable here, that all they’re focused on are cutting, cutting, cutting, we got a problem.
Why is that a problem?
Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, the deficit has grown tenfold from $160 billion to $1.6 trillion. Spending has increased $1.1 trillion or 41 percent as the debt exploded $5.9 trillion or 68 percent. Meanwhile, unemployment has gone from 4.4 percent to 9.1 percent.
There hasn’t been a better example of the failure of Keynesian economics since the Depression, and many on the Right think that after four years of this very expensive unsuccessful experiment, it’s time to get our fiscal house in order.
Kerry not only doesn’t agree with this view, he wants media to stop giving it any airtime or print space:
KERRY: When we have people who think default is a good thing, we have a problem. I keep viscerally getting very upset when I, you know, I keep hearing people refer to Congress is broken and Congress can’t do it. It’s not Congress. The institution is the same institution that was there when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan got together. It’s the people in Congress, and in this case, it’s the minority of a group of people who are literally willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater and, and, and do whatever they want because they’ve got a hard ideological point of view. The media and people at home have got to begin to hold them accountable to a different standard of behavior.
Media should hold the Tea Party accountable to a different standard of behavior? Shouldn’t all politicians – as long as they are behaving legally – be held to the same standard?
Much like Krugman before him, that’s not what Kerry thinks. He also doesn’t want Tea Partiers involved in the upcoming Super Committee:
KERRY: And if the joint committee, the joint committee cannot be, I mean John Boehner, please, Mitch McConnell, please, don’t appoint people with a preconceived idea of exactly what they’re going to do. That will not serve the nation. It may serve Party, but that’s not leadership. They need to put people on that committee who are going to work for the interests of our country so we can decide how to deal with our long-term structural problems and put people to work now.
So, not only should media stop giving equal time to the Tea Party's ideas, Congress should as well.
And this is the state of the supposedly free speech-supporting Left: all views that disagree with theirs should be silenced.
Imagine that nearly seven years ago, this man almost became president.