Friday, September 08, 2006

Desperate World-Herald Blames Democrats for "Do-Nothing" Republican Congress

by Kyle Michaelis
The Omaha World-Herald is grasping at some pretty thin straws in its attempt to justify the decades of favor it has shown to Republican politicians. Now that the Republican Party controls the White House and both Houses of Congress, it seems a tad ludicrous - not to mention insanely partisan - to put equal blame on the Democratic Party for the many failures of leadership and vision throughout the federal government. Yet, that's exactly what the World-Herald tries to do in its Thursday editorial:
Before the partisan spinmeisters take over, let's review just why public dissatisfaction with Congress is so high - and why the election two months from today is so unlikely to affect it.

A key problem of Congress is its failure to step up and address crucial issues. Lawmakers are returning from yet another recess, and a recent list of their unfinished business includes no fewer than six key issues that Congress is unlikely, nonetheless, to address. Namely:

The unfinished budget. Immigration. Lobbying. Medicare drug coverage. The futures of both the estate tax and the minimum wage....

Two issues in particular - immigration and the budget - speak to systemic problems in Congress that neither major party can legitimately blame solely on the other....

[C]ongressional leaders have confirmed that immigration reform will be put off until the next Congress. All the effort to craft a comprehensive, tough yet humane bill will have to start from scratch. But the harvest of campaign fodder for both parties in the meantime has been rich indeed.

As for the budget....this will be the 30th fiscal year out of start without a finished budget.

Whether in the majority or the minority, each party has failed to restrain domestic spending - and to address longterm concerns involving entitlements - even as it manipulates the budget "process" to yield political capital and larders full of bacon for their districts. Discipline? That's for states and local governments. Or so seems to be the Washington attitude.

In seeking votes on Nov. 7, Republicans have a serious credibility problem. But Democrats do, too. Between the onrushing presidential election and the Democrats' past performance, why should voters believe that much of significance would be accomplished if partisan control switches on Capitol Hill?...

People are elected to public office to attempt to address the problems that arise in the process of self-government. Political parties exist to win elections. The current congressional conflict between those two goals just might excuse voters who say, "A pox on both your houses."

That's a pretty clever trick by the World-Herald to assert their independence from "partisan spinmeisters" despite the fact that their editorial board had already done the Republican Party's work for them. Nowhere in this editorial is there any suggestion of the unprecedented one-party domination currently enjoyed (and so shamelessly abused) by the Republicans. In fact, the thrust of this entire editorial seems to be obscuring this fact in a haze of false equivocations and bipartisan blame-sharing that borders on outright deceit - anything to prevent Republican politicians from being held accountable for what can only honestly be called Republican failures.

It is one thing to question how much things will improve should Democrats retake the majority in either the House or the Senate. But, considering the full extent of inaction and corruption that has consumed Congress, it's unforgiveable to allow what might have been a healthy note of skepticism to become a singularly cynical message of GOP apologetics.

The buck has to stop somewhere. Still, the World-Herald persists in advancing an idea of democracy totally devoid of accountability....for no other reason but its serving the newspaper's all-too-partisan agenda.

Fortunately, the American people are not as big of fools as the World-Herald supposes and the Republican Party hopes. Both should receive a wake-up call this November although their shared capacity for spin, blame-shifting, and self-delusion make their actually learning any sort of lesson highly, highly unlikely.


Blogger Dave said...

I had much the same reaction as you, Kyle. I would add: the Omaha World-Herald is endorsing a self-defeating form of cynicism in an attempt to apologize for the ineptitude of this Congress. The kind that gives us a 98% incumbency rate in Congress.

I have a little bit more faith in the power of democratic elections. We may not make sweeping changes, but we can definitely change things for the better. And saying that we can't, or that we shouldn't because Democrats wouldn't be much better than what we have, is just reinforcing the same type of B.S. that turns people off to politics in the first place.

Blogger ptg said...

OWH desperate? I wonder if they know they are desperate.


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