Washington Post’s Gerson Hacks Up Another Fur Ball Into National Debate
Michael Gerson of the Washington Post Editorial page really phones one in today. I know it is the day after Thanksgiving and there is a tendency to just rehash old arguments in an effort to get a column or blog post out, but really this is beautiful example of false equivalency and intellectual laziness topped with a cherry of partisan world view.
The basic premise of this steaming, tightly coiled pile of crap is that now that there has been electoral defeat for the Democrats liberalism is turning to conspiracy theories to explain what happened. Is it a Truther conspiracy? Is it a Bilderburg Group conspiracy, with shadowy billionaires running the planet? Is it aliens? No, none of those (well we know the Space Alien vote was bought, those damned Gray’s will do anything for fresh people to probe!) the so-called conspiracy is the idea that the Republicans have done and will do everything in their power to keep the economy from recovering as long as President Obama is in the White House.
Gerson points to recent posts by Matt Yglesias, Steve Benen and Paul Krugman, all of whom have pointed out that Republicans have said they are out the get the president, that they have constantly blocked economic measures that every serious economist says will help, that they have done everything they could to claim (falsely) that the stimulus has not helped, and that the health care reform law would cost money, even though the Office of Management and Budget has said it would save 100 billion over ten years. . . .
It is not like it is a leap given all of these on the record statements and actions to look at the pattern and say that the Republicans have decided that they will do better with an angry electorate and the way to keep them angry through 2012 is to do as little as possible to push the economy to grow.
Mr. Gerson says that Republicans take great exception to this idea, and it is this pointing out an obvious patter which has poisoned any chance of cooperation with Republicans. He comes out with a really black-is-white-up-is-down idea with this paragraph:
They must assert that the case for liberal policies is so self-evident that all opposition is malevolent. But given the recent record of liberal economics, policies that seem self-evident to them now seem questionable to many. Objective conditions call for alternatives. And Republicans are advocating the conservative alternatives – monetary restraint, lower spending, lower taxes – they have embraced for 30 years.
Yes, that is the point Mr. Gerson, the policies the Republicans are advocating have been shown over time and by experiential evidence to cause a higher concentration of wealth, a stagnation of the middle class, job loss and economic chaos. We are in the economic crisis we face today because of the policies of Republicans, after all they ran the nation completely for six of the last ten years and opposed every idea of the current administration for the last two.
The fact that the nation is not in better shape has a lot to do with the actions of Republicans. The price for passing any kind of stimulus was a too low arbitrary cap on the program. Even with that it has been estimated to have saved or created millions of jobs which would not exist or would have been lost if the money to the States had not been spent. It would have been an even worse crisis for the unemployed if the extensions of benefits had not been passed, over Republican objections and massive no votes.
Gerson finishes up his little trip through an alternate reality by comparing the fact based voices of the left to the wild eyed writings of John Stormer, who penned the 1964 text “None Dare Call It Treason.” Gerson thinks that pointing out the actions and words of people like Minority Leader McConnell who said, “It is my number one priority to make sure President Obama is a one term president” and Rush Limbaugh who said, “We want the president to fail” is the same as a wingnut claiming that foreign aid and “planned inflation” was a plot to destroy the United States completely.
This comparison might be more effective if it were not for the fact-free way that Republicans approach policy. They have the same old ideas, discredited and dysfunctional for the last 30 years. They have not produced the growth that is claimed, they have not resulted in jobs and prosperity, but the opposite. It is not that the left thinks that Republicans are trying to destroy the nation, it is that we think they are disconnected from reality to the level that their policy and their clear lust for power is going to do the job anyway.
It does not matter what their motives are, they may very well believe in their policy, against all evidence, but it is the affects of their stated tactics in pursuing that policy which we are concerned about. Mr. Gerson says that it is very bad advice for the president to double down on liberal ideas, but this ignores another fact, President Obama has not been a liberal president. He has pursued some policies that have been on the liberal wish-list for decades, but the way in which he went about it was very centrist, to say the least. He has bent far too far to the right in order to court a political Party that would not walk across the street to piss on him if his ass was on fire and his hair was catching.
What the left wants is what it has always wanted, the Democrats to actually try, just give it a shot, at governing from a liberal point of view and being unapologetic about the things that can be done for the average people of this nation and not the wealthy elite. It is not doubling down we want, it is an actual solid liberal stand.
In any case this column could have been written by any partisan Republican hack, like Mr. Gerson. It has only a vague attachment to reality, the hall mark of modern Republican thought, and as such is just another example of the hair balls that Conservatives will hack up into our national conversation. I hope the Washington Post feels like they got their monies worth from Mr. Gerson, as there is not much there in this column.
The floor is yours.