Just as with the last Republican takeover of the House in 1995, it was easy to predict the media elite were going to dig deep into the mud and throw every smear they had at the new conservative powers in town. Congress finally passed, and the president signed, a deeply deficient kick-the-can compromise into law in order to raise the debt ceiling. Tea Party conservatives correctly denounced the deal as woefully inadequate.
When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the creditworthiness of the United States government, Sen. John Kerry shamelessly labeled it a “Tea Party downgrade,” and no one in the press questioned him. This is beyond ludicrous. It’s a deliberate lie on Kerry’s part. How can you blame 87 new Republican House members who weren’t in Washington when Barack Obama was tripling the deficit with trillions in new spending, which Kerry happily endorsed?
The Tea Party’s raison d’etre is the spending excesses of Washington. Blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade is like blaming the Betty Ford Clinic for alcoholism. Moreover, the only legislation that would have met the spending-restraint criteria necessary to avert a downgrade was the Cut Cap Balance proposal. It included $5.8 trillion in cuts, easily more than what S&P required. But President Obama vowed not to sign it, and the Senate Democrats – here we go again with the Kerry hypocrisy – refused to consider it.
In fact, the Senate Democrats under Harry Reid have been so dysfunctional that they haven’t voted for a budget in years. The liberal media continue largely to ignore this reality, too.
When Bush was president, everything that went sour in America was his fault, and the press never tired of repeating that line. This president and his left-wing allies in Congress have earned their position in the hot seat today, but now that the Tea Party has created a Republican power base in the nation’s capital, everything seems to be their fault.
On Saturday’s “Today” on NBC, correspondent John Harwood declared that the downgrade provided Obama with “a tangible consequence to point to for Republican brinksmanship on the debt and deficit reduction deal.”
Wait a minute: so Democrats never drew a line in the sand? Liberals had no demands about what was untouchable? This is willful blindness in action.
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” host David Gregory not only allowed Sen. John Kerry to lie about a "Tea Party downgrade," he underlined it. “There were Republicans and Democrats who said Tea Party members, a lot of them freshmen conservatives, were digging in and, actually, some used the word ‘hostage,’ holding the whole process hostage because they would not raise any taxes at all.”
They weren’t just hostage-takers in the liberal media lens. They were full-blown violent terrorists. For a group of people who find it offensive to link any Muslims with terrorism – even the ones who refuse to condemn Hezbollah or Hamas – it is remarkably easy to smear the Tea Party with that brush.
Take New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission.” On TV, Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson added “they’ve strapped explosives to the Capitol.”
The New York Times just kept coming. Business columnist Joe Nocera said the country “watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans waged jihad on the American people.” Columnist Maureen Dowd was even more shrill. She wrote the Tea Party “slashers” were “like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country's reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims,” Obama and John Boehner.
As if Dowd hadn’t spewed enough hatred, she added more horror analogies. They were “like the metallic beasts in ‘Alien’ flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner's stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.” They were “a maniacal gang with big knives held high.”
Why Dowd left out Freddy Krueger, werewolves, and Darth Vader is anyone’s guess.
Which is not to say liberals are happy with Obama. The Times also published a huge op-ed by psychologist and Democrat message guru Drew Westen who wanted Obama to be a better story-teller. Voters are like children looking for narratives at bedtime: “Today we seek movies, novels and ‘news stories’ that put the events of the day in a form that our brains evolved to find compelling and memorable.”
The challenge is: What stories to tell? If they are honest, they only hurt. There just is nothing good this administration is achieving. The other option is the make-believe story, as in the fairy tale that the Tea Party caused the market crash.
That’s the road well-traveled by the liberal press.