Chris Matthews was deeply satisfied by the New York Times publishing an op-ed Wednesday they titled "The Cry of the True Republican" by John G. Taft, a descendent of our fattest president, William Howard Taft. "The body blows to the Republican Party just keep on coming," Matthews announced on Wednesday night's "Hardball."
This "stalwart Republican" suddenly sounds like a Xerox copier of the half-witticisms of Chris Matthews, as if Matthews was quoting himself on the air: "There is more than a passing similarity between Joseph McCarthy and Ted Cruz, between McCarthyism and the Tea Party movement." This is not the same John G. Taft as the guy who wrote for Forbes just last December that our spending addiction needed fixing:
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid might have made more sense when prospects for perpetual demographic growth were taken for granted. Public and private sector pension benefits looked affordable when asset allocation models forecast real returns of 7% to 8% . With real (after inflation) returns on a balanced portfolio closer to 2% or 3%, they are no longer financially sustainable, as state treasurers from Rhode Island to California are being forced to recognize. And with more debt owed by more institutions and individuals than ever before in the history of the world… credit markets will no longer let us borrow to make up the gap between the assumptions of the past and the reality of today.
Politicians squirming in their year-end fiscal cliff negotiations resemble addicts refusing to believe there isn’t a way to score some more growth; that it won’t be possible to shoot up again to escape unpleasant reality. The Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” bond buying programs are the Central Bank equivalent of methadone… temporary, weak but ultimately unsatisfying substitutes for the real thing.
That's not an MSNBC-pleasing article. But there's an entirely different Taft in the New York Times, which makes you wonder if there's been a serious conversion to the Left, or merely the desire to please a media titan or two:
Speaking through the night, Senator Ted Cruz, with heavy-lidded, sleep-deprived eyes, conveyed not the libertarian element in Republican philosophy that advocates for smaller government and less intrusion into the personal lives of citizens, but a new, virulent strain of empty nihilism: “blow it up if we can’t get what we want.”
This recent display of bomb-throwing obstructionism by Republicans in Congress evokes another painful, historically embarrassing chapter in the Republican Party — that of Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, whose anti-Communist crusade was allowed by Republican elders to expand unchecked, unnecessarily and unfairly tarnishing the reputations of thousands of people with “Red Scare” accusations of Communist affiliation. Finally Senator McCarthy was brought up short during the questioning of the United States Army’s chief counsel, Joseph N. Welch, who at one point demanded the senator’s attention, then said: “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” He later added: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
Watching the Republican Party use the full faith and credit of the United States to try to roll back Obamacare, watching its members threaten not to raise the debt limit — which Warren Buffett rightly called a “political weapon of mass destruction” — to repeal a tax on medical devices, I so wanted to ask a similar question: “Have you no sense of responsibility? At long last, have you left no sense of responsibility?”
There is more than a passing similarity between Joseph McCarthy and Ted Cruz, between McCarthyism and the Tea Party movement. The Republican Party survived McCarthyism because, ultimately, its excesses caused it to burn out. And eventually party elders in the mold of my grandfather were able to realign the party with its brand promise: The Republican Party is (or should be) the Stewardship Party. The Republican brand is (or should be) about responsible behavior. The Republican party is (or should be) at long last, about decency.
Taft is exquisitely liberal in this piece: slamming Ted Cruz as a bomb-throwing nihilist in the same breath as announcing the need for decency. He's also perfectlly leftist in refusing to acknowledge that despite McCarthy's verbal recklessness, there were Soviet spies throughout the federal government in the 1950s, as confirmed now in the Soviet archives. But the Left never admits troubling facts like this. They "print the legend," even after it crumbles. Taft only failed to suggest against all the evidence that Alger Hiss is still innocent.
PS: John G. Taft was a hero to the gay-marriage lobbyists.