Find someone you love as much as elite political reporters love Republicans holding a gun to the head of the world’s economy
Republicans are engaged in extortion, not negotiating. Just ask them:
You may remember how McCarthy shot himself in the foot during his first bid to be Speaker back in 2015. The then majority leader created a political furor by admitting and bragging that the Benghazi hearings were all about damaging Hillary Clinton politically. Everyone knew this, but only an idiot would admit it publicly. The ensuing controversy forced McCarthy to withdraw from a Speaker’s race that he almost certainly would have won.
Well, he did it again.
When speaking with reporters about his “negotiations” with the White House over extending the debt limit, McCarthy was asked what concessions his side was willing to make. Were the Republicans willing to raise taxes on the wealthy? Close a single tax loophole? Provide additional funding for one of Biden’s priorities?
Nope. McCarthy responded:
“We’re going to raise the debt ceiling.”
And with that one sentence, the Speaker of the House admitted what had been obvious to everyone but the people charged with chronicling the debt limit crisis. What is happening between the White House and the House Republicans is not a negotiation; it’s extortion, pure and simple.
The Republicans have not responded in kind. They are unwilling to consider any of the President’s proposals to reduce the deficit. They use the threat of default to extract as many policy concessions as possible. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Republican Representative Matt Gaetz said:
“I think my conservative colleagues for the most part support Limit, Save, Grow, & they don’t feel like we should negotiate with our hostage.”
You’d think Republicans just openly admitting what they’re doing would give the media implicit permission to report what’s happening accurately. But the problem is that the press is hardwired to both love any kind of “fiscally conservative” Grand Bargain and even more hardwired to blame both sides equally irrespective of the underlying facts, so…
The Washington media loves a high-stakes bipartisan negotiation more than life itself. I have never understood their fetishization of bipartisanship – where the mere agreement between a Republican and Democrat is more important than the substance of what they agreed upon. Perhaps, the editors and publishers were raised on largely apocryphal stories about the good old days where Republicans and Democrats solved the nation’s problems over a glass of whiskey or a round of golf.
The coverage of the debt limit crisis has been surreally normal. The back and forth is treated like a traditional negotiation over education, funding, or tax rates, and the only consequence of failure is opportunity cost. It’s now obvious to everyone with open eyes and ears that this is extremely abnormal. Every single reporter knows this, but very few of them will say it, proving once again that the legacy media is incapable of accurately portraying the MAGA era of American politics. McCarthy is committing an act of extortion, but reporting that means taking a side. Once again, the media chooses balance over accuracy. And in doing so, they are running for cover under a radical extremist faction that is putting the entire global economy at risk.
What is happening in Washington right now is not Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill trying to figure out the budget. It’s an armed robbery, pure and simple. When a bank robber pulls a gun and demands the contents of the bank safe, that is not a negotiation over how much money the teller should fork over.
Putting their own 401(k)s at risk is showing a real commitment to the bit, I must concede.