Nov
07
2012

Pundits: In Victory, Obama Must Accommodate His Opponents

Matt Bai (photo by Nicole Mays)

With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus […]

May
12
2011

NYT's Bai Repeats GOP's 'Family Values' Canard

Writing about Newt Gingrich's presidential bid on the New York Times' Caucus blog (5/10/11), Matt Bai seems to confuse GOP rhetoric for fact as he suggest that, when it comes to marriage vows, Republicans are generally known for walking the line: Mr. Gingrich, a bit of a rogue in his personal life, has never been a favorite of his party's powerful social conservatives, who tend to think of scandalous affairs as the purview of Democrats, and maybe Rudy Giuliani. In order to maintain a tired and inaccurate cliché, Bai has to have forgotten John McCain, Henry Hyde, David Vitter, Larry […]

Jan
10
2011

Violent Rhetoric and False Balance

Today in the New York Times Paul Krugman (1/10/11) suggests that we not pretend that "both sides" are responsible for toxic political rhetoric: Where's that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let's not make a false pretense of balance: It's coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be "armed and dangerous" without being ostracized; but Rep. Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the GOP. …Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you'll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won't […]

Jan
05
2011

Matt Bai, the NYT's Tea Party Promoter

New York Times reporter Matt Bai has tried to argue that the public is really worried about the budget deficit. He's tried to find polling evidence to show the public favors some form of budget-cutting austerity,which usually leads him to focus on numbers that support his argument while ignoring those that run counter to his political preference. He's back at it today (11/5/10),in a piecewarningRepublicans to not confuse their midterm for some sort ofmandate.He tries to make a case that the voters were really with the Tea Party on some key issues: All of this implies that Republicans think the […]

Dec
01
2010

How Much More Public Could Obama's Break With the Left Be?

As Peter Hart noted earlier, New York Times political reporter Matt Bai has a piece today (12/1/10) critical of Barack Obama for being "loath to publicly disown his base." Bai writes of Obama: "Since he isn't willing to break publicly with liberals, independent and conservative voters tend to see him as a tool of the left." You know, when your chief of staff refers to progressives as "fucking retarded," your press secretary denounces the "professional left" and your senior adviser says that such critics are "insane"; when your vice president tells the left to "stop whining" and you yourself urge […]

Dec
01
2010

NYT Wonders: Will Obama FINALLY Slam Dem Base?

New York Times reporter Matt Bai uses the debt commission (12/1/10)to ask whether Barack Obama will finally stand up to the liberal base of the Democratic party. As the headline puts it, "Debt-Busting Issue May Force Obama Off Fence." You see, in Bai's world, Obama was never much of a Clinton-style "triangulator," which is a big problem: Part of the contrast Mr. Obama sought to draw with Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign was that you would never catch him triangulating against his friends for political gain. It was a point of pride for Mr. Obama that he would […]

Nov
24
2010

Matt Bai: Even Liberals Know Liberalism Failed

New York Times reporter Matt Bai apparently really, really cares about the budget deficit– so much so that he's done reporting suggesting that the rest of us care about it as much as he does. He's also demonstrated his concern by writing an outrageously misleading article about Social Security and the deficit (the Times had to correct one of the article's more misleading assertions; Bai falsely claimed that a Democratic congressmember called the Social Security trust fund "make-believe money"). Today (11/24/10) Bai is tackling the furor over TSA airport screening, which is apparently proof that Americans in the age of […]

Nov
09
2010

The Goal of Stimulus Is Not to Show How Progressive You Are

Matt Bai (New York Times, 11/9/10), as a standard-issue corporate media political analyst, sees the Democrats being moved to the right as an upside to their disastrous showing in the '10 midterms. But he's worried that the party isn't learning the obvious lesson. If there was any sliver of hope for moderate Democrats on a catastrophic midterm election night, it was their assumption that now, at least, the partys leaders would have to focus on recapturing the political center…. A lot of Democrats took it for granted that these defeats marked a repudiation of the speaker and of the party's […]

Nov
04
2010

A Short History of Right-Wing Populism Until the Birth of Matt Bai

New York Times political analyst Matt Bai writes in a post-election piece (11/4/10): A powerful force in the party, Ms. [Sarah] Palin represents an aggrieved, anti-elitist strain of conservatism that goes back to Richard M. Nixonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s Silent Majority. It is a rural conservative impulse, rooted most firmly in the South and West, that equates liberal government with tyranny and anti-Americanism. Matt Bai was born in 1968–perhaps not coincidentally, the year Nixon was elected president, and a year before he gave his "Silent Majority" speech that Palin's politics "go back to." But angry right-wing populism has been a major strand in […]

Nov
01
2010

NYT's Bai: Tea Party = MoveOn.org?

New York Times reporter Matt Bai had a long piece Sunday (10/31/10)that argued that Tea Partiers are really the right-wing version of Bush-era MoveOn activists and bloggers (the "netroots"). Bai writes of "the larger forces that unify many self-styled activists on both the left and right," and suggests that "the recent uprisings on both ends of the ideological spectrum shouldn't be viewed as opposing trends, but rather as points on the same cultural continuum." The only way topull this offwith a straight face is to decide that political beliefs that motivate both groups are not worth inspecting or critiquing. Thus […]

Sep
17
2010

NYT: Public Doesn't Care About the Deficit After All

The New York Times (9/16/10) points out in a write-up of its new poll : The economy and jobs are increasingly and overwhelmingly cited by Americans as the most important problems facing the country, while the deficit barely registers as a topic of concern when survey respondents were asked to volunteer their worries. Huh. The New York Times has spent a lot of time telling readers that the public cared very deeply about this, as FAIR noted in a June 24Action Alert, which asked the paper to provide evidence for assertions like Times reporter Matt Bai's suggestion (6/17/10) that "the […]

Sep
09
2010

The Long-Running Public Opposition to Roads and Bridges

Matt Bai has a piece in theNew York Times today (9/9/10) explaining how Barack Obama squandered an opportunity to make fundamental changes to the American economy. One claim in the piece jumps out; after explaining that large infrastructure projects–rail lines, broadband, etc.– are "things that only an active government could realistically do," Bai claims: Getting such projects done justified some tolerable level of public debt, proponents argued, just as a family might consider a steep mortgage on a home in a high-quality school district to be an investment in the children's success. And yet, little was achieved by way of […]

Aug
26
2010

Matt Bai's Outrageous Slam on Social Security

New York Times reporter Matt Bai writes a piece today (8/26/10) singling out a Democratic congressmemberwho talks aboutcuts to the federal budget. Thisis presumably an unusual, newsworthything worth writing about–hence the headline, "One Liberal Voice Dares to Say, Cut the Budget."It's worth pointing out thatother Democrats have proposed ideas likecutting military spending withoutgetting points for bravery. The point of the piece is to attack Social Security. Bai cheers on the White House deficit commission, which he argues hasbeen unfairly attacked by liberals who are "mobilizing to discredit the panel's work" and "pre-emptively oppose the panel's findings." These critics don't get […]