The problem with our economy continuing to drag its feet is that conservatives blame President Obama and the Democrats’ “liberal policies.” Liberals blame those same people, but for policies they say tilt too far to the right: in the interest of “bipartisanship,” they capitulate to failed conservative ideas like deregulation and tax cuts.
So who is right? If only we had some unbiased, reliable source of information, some kind of professional fact-checkers, people whose job it is to talk to experts, not partisans. You know, maybe present the facts! Ahem.
Instead, we have a group of people whose only interest is in telling the process story, the inside scoop: who’s winning and who’s losing the power play? Is Speaker Boehner losing his influence? Will President Obama lose re-election? Is the debt deal a victory for President Obama and the Democrats? Is it a victory for the Tea Party?
I mean, look. If real liberals are constantly getting thrown under the bus every time there’s a legislative battle in Washington — the economic stimulus, healthcare reform, extending the Bush tax cuts — then why is it always our fault when nothing gets better?
Democracy doesn’t work if the people are uninformed. And our traditional information source no longer performs that function (did it ever? I don’t know. I think the media certainly did a much better job of things once upon a time. Not perfect, but not .. this.) So what are Americans to do? If we can’t turn to the news media, where do we go? Must it take a judge to decide?
Kay at Balloon Juice has this item up today in which former Ohio Representative Steve Driehaus sued the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List for defamation after the SBA List ran ads saying Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortions. Driehaus happens to be an anti-choice Democrat and he didn’t take too kindly to having his healthcare reform vote characterized as such, especially since the Affordable Care Act does no such thing. On top of which, Driehaus lost his seat, thanks no doubt to the lies spread by groups like the SBA List. The judge agreed that the Affordable Care Act did not call for taxpayer funded abortions in any way and cleared the way for Driehaus’ suit to move forward.
Kay wonders why this case even had to get to a judge. Good question.
We’ve all wondered why, for example, the lies about death panels and taxpayer-funded abortions and “government takeover of healthcare” were never countered in the press. You had right wingers spouting their nonsense, liberals sputtering “no it does not do that!”, and then, of course, that’s all the time we have, we’ll have to leave it there, yada yada. Why couldn’t someone, somewhere, read the damn bill, conclude that there are no death panels, no taxpayer funded abortions and certainly no government takeovers of anything, and the next time some yahoo tries to claim big mean ol’ Obama will decide if grandma gets to live or die, they tell them to shut the fuck up? Why is that so hard?
Politics has just destroyed everything, chief among them, our media. Democrats will always get blamed for everything because the rules of modern political discourse are, a) IOKIYAR and, b) it’s always good news for Republicans. So when Democrats capitulate to conservatives, and those conservative ideas fail again (no one could have anticipated! Really!), everyone says, well the Democrats were in charge, so there ya go! And they have a really good point.
If Democrats are going to dump every good and decent and proven Democratic idea of the past 80 years and hop on board with free market fairy tales and the miraculous job-creating power of tax cuts, well then you deserve what you get. Until our media wakes up and starts telling people facts, not spin — and there’s no indication that this will happen any time soon — Democrats will continue to get blamed for everything, whether they’re in charge or not.
During the debt ceiling debate I heard Republicans blame the national debt on the “Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid congress” and President Obama. Sure because those wars and the unfunded Medicare prescription drug giveaway to Big Pharma never happened! And on the left there’s a lot of disgust because we did have a majority in Congress, and what did we get for it? It’s like people have forgotten all of those filibusters, the long hard slog to get Sen. Al Franken seated, the deaths of Senators Kennedy and Byrd, the “60 is the new 50” crap we went through these past years. It’s been one Republican obstructionist hardball tactic after another, pushing Democrats ever further to the right, peeling away DINOs like Joe Lieberman (who, let’s face it, isn’t even a Democrat anymore, he’s a Lieberman) or Ben Nelson on one issue after another. We’ve all written about it. Have we forgotten?
But the Democrats need to wake up, already: you can be pragmatic and “bipartisan” all you want but if an idea stinks, it stinks. And you’re the ones who will get the blame. Always. It doesn’t matter what the facts say: you will get blamed.
I don’t really have a point here. I’m just wondering if there aren’t there any principled Democrats left — or is such a thing even possible absent a news media that refuses to do its job?