Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Debt Downgrade Blame Game

I was up in time for the Sunday news shows. I flipped back and forth for a minute between ABC and NBC and finally settled on "Meet the Press." John Kerry and John McCain were interviewed, forgettably, with the exception of McCain's comments on Afghanistan. But the roundtable discussion was a keeper. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Allan Greenspan stole the show (a bit of which can be seen here). But frankly the reason I didn't channel surf further was Rachel Maddow. Maddow is maddening. The S&P downgrade dominated the discussion, and Maddow's entire shtick was political. David Gregory asked her about economic implications and she segued into an attack on "Republican intransigence." Check it out:

Maddow was sticking like glue to S&P's press release, which claimed that the downgrade was a comment on political gridlock in Washington. But Maddow's fascinating because she perfectly encapsulates all that's wrong with the Beltway media mindset: She blames Bush for the crisis, citing the revised GDP numbers to argue that "the hole we've been getting out of is even deeper than we thought." Well, I guess if you're in a hole you stop digging, but the Obama-Dems 2012 budget was pegged to add $7.2 trillion in new debt over the next decade, and that's after racking up $1.7 trillion after the administration's first year in office. Congressional Republicans stood up to this, and that fortitude so enraged the progressive political class that "tea party terrorists" were claimed to be the greatest threat to national security since Nazi Germany. But Maddow goes on. And bless his heart, but Alex Castellanos fails to get a smackdown rebuttal until much later in the broadcast. I reported on Janet Daley's essential piece earlier, "A Capitalist Economy Can't Support a Socialist Welfare State." The GOP talking point has to focus on the unsustainability of big-government entitlements. Republicans won the day by standing firm, and the S&P downgrade ultimately will damage Democrat reelection prospects next fall, hence Maddow's desperate efforts to spin this as not an economic issue at all, but one of tea party "intransigence."

In any case, see Karl at Patterico's Pontifications, "For Whom the Downgrade Tolls":
In sum, the S&P downgrade marks a post on the road where progressive demagogy loses its power. The downgrade marks a post on the road to extinction for 19th-20th century progressivism. That’s why the Obama administration — and true progressive ideologues — made S&P their first target, however futile the gesture.

I wouldn't separate the partisan left from the ideological left so much (Maddow is both, for example), but it's a really perceptive essay otherwise.

UPDATE: Linked at Atlas Shrugs and Yid With Lid. Thanks! Also linked at Blazing Cat Fur!