The AP is assisting Republicans with their desperate meme that Democrats are to blame for the failure to avert the Fiscal Cliff that Republicans built with previous refusals to compromise.
In an article this morning, the AP reported on Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s appearance on NBC’s Today show in which he said he was “encouraged that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is getting “actively engaged” in talks to resolve the problem.” Schumer told Today that a deal may be “closer than people think.”
That’s a nice quote from someone who is trying to negotiate with the other side. No mention of the humiliating Republican failure in the House.
But with what did the AP end their story? A Republican quote blaming Democrats.
Yes, for real:
Appearing on the same show Friday, Republican Sen. John Thune noted a meeting later Friday among President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, saying, “It’s encouraging that people are talking.”
The South Dakota senator said, “I think in the end we will get a deal, but the question is the timing of that.”
He also said the two sides are at stalemate because, quote, “Democrats haven’t been willing to discuss the issue of spending.”
That’s helpful, eh? To end with this quote gives it a nice punch. They felt no need to offer their readers facts or context.
Democrats haven’t been willing to discuss spending? First of all, Obama already cut spending by a trillion dollars (1.7 trillion if you count the interest) as a part of the Budget Control Act in 2011. In fact, discretionary spending levels will hit their lowest level as a share of GDP since the early 1960’s.
So, Democrats were willing to discuss spending. They already discussed spending. In point of fact, in the last ten years, Democrats have consistently been more fiscally responsible than Republicans; e.g., the Obama Administration’s spending is the lowest since the Eisenhower Administration.
Second of all, Democrats also put spending on the table in negotiations with Speaker Boehner. It is hardly Democrats’ fault that the Speaker couldn’t get his GOP crazy caucus on board. With that failure, Republicans knew that they lost their leverage and that in the Democratic majority of the Senate, the deal would reflect more Democratic ideas than Republican ideas.
Such is the price of incompetence and inflexibility. Whose fault is this?
We wouldn’t be facing a fiscal cliff at all if Republicans were willing to compromise/govern. But here we are, with Republicans refusing to tax the rich and threatening to raise taxes on all Americans unless they get cuts to “entitlements” in order to play pretend fiscal conservative. They never want to address real spending issues like defense spending. A serious fiscal conservative would take aim at where the bloat and waste linger, not only at their ideological foes.
And of course our media are here to help them sell this utterly false image by ending with a quote from a Republican blaming Democrats for the fiscal cliff.
The truth is that we are here, at the edge of the cliff drama that Republicans created, because Republicans refused to raise taxes on the rich. That is why we are here. Republicans are math impaired. They want the American people to believe they can balance the budget – that they never cared about until they lost power- with spending cuts alone.
The media allows them to get away with this insane idea. The media awaits another Democrat to explain math, and if a Democrat doesn’t do it every single time a Republican pretends to not understand math, the media leaves the notion dangling out there that if only Democrats were willing to address spending, this fiscal cliff would loom no more.
Republicans have become the crazy man on the corner screaming about the “deficit” whenever they are not in charge, and yet telling us that “deficits don’t matter” when they are in charge. Now the crazy man is screaming that Democrats wouldn’t cut spending. These are not serious people, these are not honest people, and these people are not really trying to address the issue they created.
Hey, media, it’s a shell game, wherein Republicans shift conspicuous things and huff about spending cuts in order to hide their refusal to raise taxes on the rich. Do the math: It’s called revenue.
The grifting never ends.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.