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Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 12/13/2010

New York Times pronounces Republicans "deficit hawks"

By Greg Sargent

The New York Times, in a straight news article, states as established fact that the incoming House GOP majority is comprised of "deficit hawks."

Jonathan Bernstein erupts:

There's simply no justification for a neutral-voiced article calling the incoming Republican majority "deficit hawks." Republicans do claim to be for a balanced budget. So do Democrats (and dissenters are, as far as I can see, more or less equally distributed between the parties). Republicans did not run on a budget-balancing, or even deficit-reducing, program. To the contrary; the two major and significant budget-related planks of their platform, tax cuts and repealing ACA, would both enlarge the deficit significantly...

The Times would not allow its reporters to call one side of an international conflict the peace-loving side just because one nation proclaimed its devotion to peace the loudest, regardless of its actions. It should have the same standard for domestic politics. It is certainly possible that the incoming Republican majority will turn out to be deficit hawks, but for right now all we know is that most Republicans want to spend less on many government programs, and that's all that the Times should say.

In labeling Republicans "deficit hawks," I think the Times probably means to suggest that Republicans are the ones who are rhetorically more committed to reducing the deficit. But if you are going to go on actual policy ideas, it seems germane to note that Obama and Dems -- and not Republicans -- are the party who wants to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which would of course be better for the deficit than continuing them.

Yes, I know that Obama's tax deal, which is likely to pass with significant support from Senate Dems, continues the high-end tax cuts. But no matter how many times conservative pundits assert otherwise, the deal does not mean Obama and Dems endorse tax cuts for the wealthy. They are only going along with them in order to secure the things they do support, i.e., extensions of middle class tax cuts and unemployment benefits. Dem support for continuing the high-end cuts is a concession. That's why this deal has been widely described as a "compromise."

As Bernstein notes, maybe Republicans will turn out to be "deficit hawks" in practice. But until then, there's no reason to grant that label in advance. With a bruising political spin war set to take place next year over which party is genuinely serious about reducing the deficit, it'll be interesting to see who is willing to grant the presumption that the GOP is the party of deficit hawks, before the policy evidence is in. Worth keeping an eye on.

By Greg Sargent  | December 13, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Dems, deficit, taxes  
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Comments

The Republicans are deficit hawks now, just like they were for the eight years that Bush/Cheney were in charge.

Republicans are great at using Orwellian double speak, and suckers at the NY Times always eat it up. Can you say Judith Miller, Boys and Girls?

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Dems don't care about deficits. They care only about spending as much as possible, punishing successful people, and redistributing their money.

And spending IS the problem.

Posted by: quarterback1 | December 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't care about deficits. They create them. Bill Clinton left an annual revenue surplus that was actually starting to pay down the national debt.

Republicans, under Bush/Cheney, turned that into gigantic annual deficits, and lost many millions of jobs, while doing so.

Republicans are deficit hawks, just like actual hawks are strict vegetarians.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't care about deficits. They care only about spending as much as possible, punishing unsuccessful people, and redistributing their money.

Fixed it for you. ;-)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 13, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Deficit hawks.. amazing.. This is a MADE-UP, MEDIA TERM that means NOTHING.. The Times is trying another Murdoch-Inspired fear tactic that quite frankly is getting REAL old.. This is NOT 1955 (although most republicans long for those days)... The russians aren't coming with ship-loads of missiles... and the Japanese economy hasn't tanked any time recently...

The times is using this as a way to Pay off a favor - (but for what we don't know yet), or 2) give themselves something to talk about for weeks with their made up story lines and garbled propaganda..

Just noise.. never ending double-speak..

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | December 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Greg

Look at your own blog - Are the Conservatives saying they want the budgets cut?


Everytime the COSTS of the health care program, or the budget deficit comes up, is it not true that ALL the liberals fall silent???

Greg- have YOU ever said the health care plan is TOO EXPENSIVE ????


The case is closed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Why is a "deficit hawk" a fear-inspiring term? I find it a fairly laudable term, just not one that can be applied to many Congress critters on either side of the aisle. Clinton and the Republicans in the '90s got backed into it by mutual stalemate.

Medicare Part D was a great idea. Now raise premiums to cover it. [For those who remember it, think Rostenkowski. When Seniors Attack.] Wasn't it Rove or Cheney who said "deficits don't matter"? I'm waiting for some evidence that all those spendaholics on the right have truly reformed.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 13, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

OT: Judge rules individual mandate unconstitutional. "An individual's personal decision to purchase -- or decline purchase -- (of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach" of the U.S. Constitution," Hudson wrote. "No specifically constitutional authority exists to mandate the purchase of health insurance."

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/12/13/health.care/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Good. Remove the mandate and replace it with a public option to keep costs down.

Repeal and replace, right?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 13, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"No Lables" Convention


This whole thing is beginning to sound like the "bipartisanship and compromise" which Obama pushed on the nation like a drug dealer in 2008


The nation has then experienced a BAIT AND SWITCH to Obama's far left policies - and a forcing of his leftist positions on the nation which never knew it was voting for such left-wing candidates.

This "No Lables" thing seems strangely like that. I have seen the democrats there, but no Republicans have been interviewed, that I have seen. Not to say there are none there.


The question is, is this just another democratic PLOY to start to try to get democrats seem acceptable again - before they start SWITCHING again?


In other words, is this convention just ANOTHER BAIT ?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Let us have everyone who wishes to opt out of having health care insurance, be allowed to do so, provided they sign an agreement, that they understand that they will never be allowed to seek any medical care without first paying for it, in full, up front. No free emergency room care for them. If they do not want to pay for health care coverage, then they must agree to pay as they go, for any visits to doctors or hospitals.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't think either party is really interested in cutting the deficit. Repubs got their Tax Cuts for Votes program and the Dems got their program expenditures for votes.

Political courage is not to be seen and RainForest will rabidly support whatever his Repub masters tell him to support. When his repub masters tell him they got to raise taxes to pay for their wars, RainForest and his ilk will freak. They will ask, "What would Limbaugh do?" And another moderate republican bites the dust.

And thus nothing ever happens. The thing that really bugs liberals is that they get dragged further to the right as Dems try to negotiate with Repubs scared of their unthinking and rabid base. Compromise eventually means doing things on their terms because the Repubs can do no less.

I think Dems have more room to be moderate, but with this constant sliding to the right in the deals, Dems are going to start demanding their representatives take a stand as well.

I really don't see how this dynamic ends. I mean look at RF's posts. Unthinking, reflexive, and absolute demonization of the other side. I don't see how it ends.

Posted by: Alex3 | December 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Let us have everyone who wishes to opt out of having health care insurance, be allowed to do so, provided they sign an agreement, that they understand that they will never be allowed to seek any medical care without first paying for it, in full, up front. No free emergency room care for them. If they do not want to pay for health care coverage, then they must agree to pay as they go, for any visits to doctors or hospitals."

Keeping in mind that is policy is aimed at those who can afford insurance, I'd agree. I don't see why you couldn't bill someone, with interest, or work out a payment plan and aggressively collect. If you gamble and lose, that's too bad. But I agree with your overall concept.
And I absolutely agree that people should pay out of pocket for routine and preventative care as this hardly qualifies as an unexpected event and/or cost. First dollar coverage is a huge problem and one of the reasons that "health insurance" seems to be confused with "health care."

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 13, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The GOP will become deficit hawks again the second the tax cuts are enacted. Just watch.

Passage of this tax bill will add nearly a trillion dollars to the deficit. All those Democrats urging passage should know that immediately following its enactment there will be be a war launched against Social Security and the rest of the New Deal. And those seeking to destroy the American Welfare State will use the monstrous debt to mercilessly starve our national government. One attack after another. Ceaselessly. Those Democrats urging passage should think about how they will react -- and far more importantly how the President will react -- once those attacks ensue. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on the tax bill but don't say you didn't realize what was going to happen after it is enacted. Democrats and Obama are giving Conservatives the best ammunition they could have when they renew their assault on the American Middle Class, Working Class and the Poor. Democrats are handing the GOP the gun to shoot them. Pass it if you will but please don't claim two months from now that you didn't know what was coming. (repost)

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I was watching an NFL game yesterday. This commercial came on. It showed Mitch McConnell walking up to President Obama, and then Mitch said:

Hey Barack, do you want to be my boyfriend?

Barack said: sure.

Then Mitch said good, since I am now your girlfriend, you must let me eat your lunch.

Then Barack mumbled to himself: I think this is going to work out great.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"I was watching an NFL game yesterday"

Me too. Some team called the Bears thought they might beat the super-awesome New England Patriots. Nope.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are committed to reducing the deficit in a way that Republicans simply are not.

Democrats took untold political hits to make the ACA deficit-reducing. ZERO Republicans can claim credit for this, because as they so often point out, none of them voted for it.

Republicans, on the other hand, muscled through a Medicare drug benefit that adds $500 BILLION to the deficit in its first 10 years, with more and more to come in the future!

They repealed paygo so they could add tax cuts to the deficit!

They cut taxes while fighting two wars off-budget!

In 2009, the Republican response to the stimulus added more to the deficit than the Democratic plan did, and it was expected to create fewer jobs.

Just this month, Republicans wanted PERMANENT tax cuts for the wealthy--this was their top priority! They wanted TRILLIONS added to the deficit. (Democrats were willing to do this only for the middle class).

I don't know how anyone can look at the past 30 years and think Republicans care AT ALL about the deficit. They want lower taxes, and they don't have the political stones to cut any spending. Say what you will about the Democrats, but they aren't governing in fantasyland--they spend, they pay for it.

I am APPALLED that any Republican is called a "deficit hawk." They are a party of deficit HOGS.

Posted by: theorajones1 | December 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mike from Arlington

I don't think the liberals have the votes in Congress for the public option, never did.

And the way the liberals manipulated their way to 60 votes, and to get the Massachusetts legislature to change the law midstream, and then reconciliation -


The whole health care vote itself comes right up to the line of legitimacy.

Anyway - Obama's whole health care plan is tilted toward INCREASINGLY MASSIVE DEFICITS to begin with.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

All, a legal expert says the Virginia judge's ruling on Obamacare is "very defective" and will certainly be overturned:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/legal_expert_ruling_on_obamaca.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 13, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how the constitutional challenges to health care reform will end up but many of us on the Left were warning about this very thing when the public option was abandoned. I'd say it's long past time when we Americans began paying attention to the people are correct in predicting events.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"I was watching an NFL game yesterday"

Me too. Some team called the Bears thought they might beat the super-awesome New England Patriots. Nope.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 1:52 PM
..............

Yeah,
I saw that premature brag from BG about what the Bears were going to do to The Pats, and even though I am Bears fan; I thought to myself: what is he smoking!

The Bears have been doing it with smoke and mirrors. They played a lot of bad teams, and had to get a lot of lucky breaks, to compile their current record. They do not have much of a receiving core, and the QB is as erratic as the one that keeps showing up here.

The Bears Of Old were The Monsters Of The Midway. This team has no right to claim that they are.

They are closer to being: Mincers Of The Mod Way.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"The Bears have been doing it with smoke and mirrors"

Agreed. But if the Packers have lost Rodgers as OB they are finished (and they play the Pats in New England next week) so the Bears will probably win the division anyhow.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. But if the Packers have lost Rodgers as OB they are finished (and they play the Pats in New England next week) so the Bears will probably win the division anyhow.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 13, 2010 2:14 PM

.................

Like I said, they have been getting all the lucky breaks.

I expect to see a Super-bowl game between The Pats and Atlanta.

A battle between Two Irish QB's. It could turn into a Donnybrook. The officials better check the lockers for Shillelaghs, before the teams take the field.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Right... "Deficit Hawks" who are institutionally incapable of actually cutting government spending -- owing of course to the fact that their power base is now concentrated in states that are among the most dependent on federal largesse.

(Apologies for the on-topic comment.)

Posted by: CalD | December 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll forgive you this time, but don't do it again.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Dems don't care about deficits. They care only about spending as much as possible, punishing successful people and redistruting their money"

==

Naaah, no clich├ęs there.

Yeah, taxation is punishment. Where do you bedwetters GET this junk?!?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 14, 2010 3:01 AM | Report abuse

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