Michael Tomasky on GOP: ‘How Radical Becomes Normal’

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky has turned up the partisan hyperbole to 11.  In a January 13 piece, the leftist writer claimed that, “the fight over unemployment benefits underscores the right’s extremism” with a picture of Tea Party Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) featured to illustrate his point.

The frequent MSNBC guest argued that because the GOP is demanding that for the first time in years any extension in unemployment benefits be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget that “the party has been hijacked by extremists.” [Pro-tip: Never play a drinking game involving liberal journalists and the term "hijacking." You'll die of alcohol poisoning.]

Tomasky’s central argument was that because the GOP supports paying for an extension of unemployment benefits, “Republicans in Congress care only about the views of the more radical half of their party.” He cited a new Quinnipiac University poll which said that 58 percent of Americans supported extending unemployment benefits, but that poll didn’t say whether or not Americans supported not paying for such an extension with offsetting budget cuts elsewhere.

There are numerous Republicans who have publicly said they support a three month extension, so long as it gets paid for, but Tomasky painted this reasonable request as “radical” simply because past sessions of Congress were financially irresponsible and did not pay for such extensions.

Tomasky then went on to reference then-Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) who in 2010 voted against an extension of unemployment benefits without paying for them as an example of “what was considered extreme and nutty then is standard operating procedure today”:

But even then, the Senate GOP leadership wasn’t with Bunning. I remember that time well. Bunning had a few defenders among his colleagues, but basically, his position was seen as extreme by Democrats and even many or possibly most Republicans. Bunning finally got the message after a couple of weeks of antics—which included him whining that his noble filibuster against helping the nation’s jobless was preventing him from watching an important Kentucky Wildcats basketball game—and relented.

Tomasky then dragged up the tired liberal trope that, “there’s the standing GOP House opposition to anything with Obama’s name on it. And this is how radical becomes normal.” 

Ah yes, because the GOP doesn’t have any substantive objections to President Obama’s policy objectives, it’s simply about opposing anything “with Obama’s name on it.” Tomasky’s argument is nothing new; you can hear it nearly every time you tune into MSNBC. Other than the fact that it goes against congressional history, Tomasky never rationally explains why an extension in unemployment benefits shouldn’t be paid for.

Tomasky concluded his GOP hit piece by hoping that Democrats win, meaning increasing the debt, but lamented that, “it looks like they’ll only win by agreeing to the pay-for demand, which means that there’ll be new demands next time. There’s no end to how far right these people will go.” 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer was a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.