Feb
22
2011

Republicans, Doing Just What Democrats (Never) Did

Sometimes the premise of an article is just all wrong. Like this from Monday's New York Times (see bold):

As Republicans See a Mandate on Budget Cuts, Others See Risk

By ADAM NAGOURNEY and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

WASHINGTON — In Congress and in statehouses, Republican lawmakers and governors are claiming a broad mandate from last year's elections as they embark on an aggressive campaign of cutting government spending and taking on public unions. Their agenda echoes in its ambition what President Obama and Democrats tried after winning office in their own electoral wave in 2008.

They're talking particularly about the battle in Wisconsin to eliminate collective bargaining rights for public workers under the guise of budget cutting and fiscal discipline. What comparable steps did Democrats take after 2008? End the Afghan War? No, they dramatically escalated it. Push for the Employee Free Choice Act in order to help bolster the ranks of the labor movement? Nope. Enact aggressive, far-reaching Wall Street reform in order to take advantage of widespread public outrage? Nope. Massive jobs program to counter horrendous unemployment? No. There were few signs that the Democratic leaders and the White House ever much considered such steps. Healthcare is the only legislative item that might make sense here–a bill that, in many respects, borrowed from Republican Mitt Romney's plan in Massachusetts.

The point of these articles is to warn about partisan "overreach," the need for bipartisanship, and so on. But they often have to start with a false premise–that the major parties behave in the same way, playing to their respective bases. They do not.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.