NY Times' Zeleny: 'Both Sides' 'Bruised' in Debt Ceiling Deal; Only Conservatives 'Intractable' in Debate

In a front-page “news analysis” piece this morning, Times national political correspondent Jeff Zeleny pronounced that “After a Protracted Fight, Both Sides Emerge Bruised.”

Yet Zeleny’s analysis was chock full of the typical liberal bias slant that puffs up President Obama, slams the Tea Party as “intractable” and ignores the partisanship of liberal Senate members, particularly Harry Reid (emphasis mine):


The president, with his re-election on the horizon, emerges from the showdown in a diminished state after giving considerable ground and struggling to rise above a deep partisan intransigence that has engulfed Washington. And Republican leaders, especially Speaker John A. Boehner, are bruised after navigating the intractable sentiment of the Tea Party movement.

A full victory lap was not expected — or, perhaps, deserved — by those on either side of the debate, which has consumed the capital, unnerved the financial markets and infuriated the American public. Yet even as a compromise was announced on Sunday evening, both parties were prepared to try to define the deal as staying true to their respective principles.

How well each of them does in shaping perceptions of the outcome could have a substantial effect on the 2012 presidential race and the balance of power in Washington as the ideological fight over the size and role of government grinds on.

Mr. Boehner faces an immediate test on Monday, needing to bring along enough Republicans to push the deal through the House. The Republican presidential field will have to decide how to navigate between the compromise reached by Congressional leaders and the passions of the Tea Party movement.

Mr. Obama’s challenge is to reassert himself as a leader and use the outcome to position himself on the campaign trail as the voice of reason and moderation in a bitterly polarized capital.

Of course the Republican-controlled House of Representatives sent the Senate two plans to avert a debt ceiling crisis: Cut, Cap and Balance and the Boehner bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promptly tabled both, having declared they were “dead on arrival.”

Although that may sound like “partisan intransigence” and “intractable” posturing to most voters, Zeleny failed to describe Reid or fellow Senate Democrats with the same unflattering terms he reserved for House Republicans.

As Stephanie Condon of CBSNews.com reported this morning, “House Democrats may be the hardest to convince the deal is worth supporting,” noting that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, denounced the deal as “a sugar-coated satan sandwich” and that Rep. Raul Grijalva of the Congressional Progressive Caucus slammed it as a deal that “trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals.”

For his part, Zeleny blandly dispatched with liberal Democratic ire about the debt ceiling deal with this paragraph:

For many liberals, this concession — and the president’s unwillingness to make a more full-throated case for greater action to address joblessness and protect other Democratic priorities — could undermine legislative support for the deal and increase the challenge of motivating voters in 2012.

Of course Tea Party-backed Republicans fought hard and made a "full-throated" case for fiscal responsibility by pushing Cut, Cap and Balance, but to liberal journalists that sort of determination to stand on principle is simply "intractable" partisanship that threatened a U.S. government "default."

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