Thursday, February 19, 2009

Media Recognition of GOP Leadership

Cross posted at First Draft.

Let's start with this bit of Kabuki theater--the headline trumpets the avowals of several governors--including mine--that ideological purity trumps fiscal sanity, and they must, regrettably, reject stimulus funds (aside: easy to say when their own government issued paychecks aren't in danger of being cut.)

Of course, the loud squawking is a cover for the mere symbolism of their action. Buried in the article are paragraphs pointing out that outright rejection of funds will likely be limited to small measures, and that State legislatures can override a governor's refusal anyway.

And believe me, the States, including mine, need the money. Turning down funds would be sheer lunacy (note: I work for the state, and can tell you that myself and my coworkers are VERY concerned about what will happen in the next fiscal year. We've already been asked to submit any ideas re: cost cutting measures, and there are rumors of possible layoffs.) But you wouldn't know this from reading the article or scanning the headline. Instead, the media dutifully relays the G.O.P. message (which has been thoroughly discredited anyway.)

Speaking of discredited, you'd think the AP might note that ANY Republican criticism of alleged "spending abuse" in the stimulus bill might ring a bit hollow--can you say "three hundred tonnes of missing cash" in Iraq...and god knows how much more filtered through contracts and whatnot, plus the general fiscal mismanagement of the Bush administration and for the most-part-GOP-controlled legislature...but Charles Babington can't be's as if the last eight years have been chucked down the memory hole.

Finally, there's this gem, the thrust of which is that President Obama has been in office an entire month but Democrats aren't criticizing him for a lack of focus on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast like they did with Dear Leader George W. Bush...

Give. Me. A. Break.

While it certainly WOULD be nice if President Obama assessed the needs of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, and, speaking for myself, I've been disappointed that there hasn't been more focus on the region, the guy's been in office for one month. The Bush administration had almost his entire second term to address the matter...and their response spoke volumes: tepid, disinterested bureaucratese...

I can't help but contrast their utter disregard for the Gulf Coast with their responses to first, the Terry Schiavo tragedy, which managed to accomplish the impossible--Shrub cutting short a vacation--and second, the economic meltdown, where administration officials were suddenly more than willing to play fast and loose with the rules, something they NEVER did in response to Katrina and the flood (with a single exception--Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law for the cleanup.)

Anyway...oh, and it's not like the Associated Press or any news organization did much by way of follow up on the various broken promises made by the previous administration. But suddenly, one month into an Obama administration, they can't wait to point out that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still quite a mess. How perceptive.

You know, with water carriers like the Associated Press, you'd think the Republican Party was still in charge.

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