Taranto: How the Press Looks Silly for Projecting ObamaCare Would Make GOP 'Sore Losers'

James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal pointed out in his "Best of the Web Today" review on Thursday how Mark Halperin of Time seems to disagree so vehemently with himself about how the Obama presidency was supposed to unfold this year. Why would Obama delay business-tax-cut talk until the fall, for example:

It is fair to ask (and many Democrats have) why the President is only now proposing such critical measures, rather than offering them up earlier in his term, before election-season politics brought governing to a standstill.

It's fair to answer, too. While Americans were anxious about the economy, Obama was obsessed with wrecking our health care. He was urged on by cheerleaders in the media like the one who wrote an article on March 22, the day after the House passed ObamaCare, which began as follows:

In the 7½ months between now and November's midterm elections, millions of Americans will be whipped into a frenzy over the purported evils in the Democrats' health care bill, egged on by Fox News chatter, Rush Limbaugh's daily sermons, threats of state legislative and judicial action and the solemn pledge of Republicans in Washington to make the fall election a referendum on Obamacare. But in doing so, they may be playing right into the Democrats' hands.

The author of that paragraph: Time magazine's Mark Halperin.

It would be unsporting to dwell on Halperin's lack of prescience. After all, anyone who makes political predictions is going to get it wrong sometimes. But in his March 22 piece, Halperin went beyond prognostication:

Democrats will be joined in the fray by much of the press. For Republicans, this will seem like familiar ground, since generations of conservatives have complained that the so-called mainstream media have been biased against them. Well, get ready, Republicans, for déjà vu all over again. The coverage through November likely will highlight the most extreme attacks on the President and his law and spotlight stories of real Americans whose lives have been improved by access to health care (pushed, no doubt, by Democrats from every competitive congressional district and state).

The louder Republicans yell, the more they will be characterized and caricatured as sore losers infuriated by the first major delivery of candidate Obama's promise of "change." The focus on the weekend's alleged racial and gay-bashing verbal attacks by opponents of the Democrats' plan should be a caution to Republican strategists trying to figure out how to manage the media this year.

Halperin is a member of the press, and as the first paragraph of the March article makes clear, he was among the ObamaCare cheerleaders who, as he accurately observed, made up "much of the press." Thus, that last excerpt is not just a prediction but a promise: Don't worry, Mr. President, we in the press will propagandize relentlessly for you and turn this into a political winner.

We think that was an unwise promise to make, not only because the press is supposed to be independent, but also because it was impossible to deliver the goods. The liberal media monopoly has long since been broken. Halperin and his colleagues were never going to be able to put lipstick on the ObamaCare pig by slandering opponents or producing puff pieces on "real Americans whose lives have been improved." Yet having promised to do just that, Halperin isn't even trying. Instead, he is chastising the president -- for inexplicably following Halperin's advice!

Wall Street Journal ObamaCare James Taranto
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