Sunday, April 10, 2011

You know you're in trouble when "MSM" reporters are better at articulating a coherent liberal agenda than high-profile Democrats

This morning on ABC's "This Week," with David Plouffe interviewed by Amanpour and DNC stalwart Donna Brazile at the Roundtable  - both suggesting some sort of "win" by Democrats in averting some of the more outlandish of the GOP's proposals while agreeing to larger spending cuts than those originally outlined by Speaker Boehner  - it was up to two journalists to make the central point about a an appropriate and coherent Democratic strategy in negotiating the budget deal that was just agreed to and what it means for a liberal agenda moving forward.

Chrystia Freeland of Reuters:*
I think the Planned Parenthood stuff was a gift to the Democrats and that was so easy for them to push on that. Thank goodness from the Democrats point of view that those riders came up because it allowed the Democrats to argue that actually the Republicans don't care about the economy but pushing their social agenda.  
What I think is Democrats actually arguing that the recovery is incredibly fragile, unemployment is high and it's not about .. if you make cuts in the right way, that's okay.  There is an argument to be made - and I think if anyone makes it, it should be the Democrats - that  says "Don't make cuts right now.  Yes, the budget is a problem but it's a medium term problem...Right now is a time when actually we should still be talking about government spending."
Ron Brownstein of National Journal:
They concede an important predicate for this debate. They have not drawn the line and said this is not the time to be retrenching, so when we begin this bigger debate - I mean this is the foothills of the Himalayan debate that's coming over the overall budget and the Paul Ryan plan. 

It's going to be harder for them to come back and say, Look we shouldn't be withdrawing federal spending when the economy's so weak, because they clearly didn't make that argument here.
And there's a strong argument to be made because they could say, so far it's working - and just look across the ocean, look across the Atlantic, the Brits have imposed budgetary austerity and their economy is shrinking even faster than they thought.   
This argument is crystal clear, with good evidence based on real-world experience of the European austerity agenda in the midst of continuing high unemployment and lagging economic growth.  Why it was up to two conventional journalists to have to make it, rather than the representatives of the Democratic agenda, is a question we have to ask ourselves going forward.  Something is very wrong with the picture.

*My transcript from This Week's video.

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