Friday, January 05, 2007

The Government We Deserve?


On NPR yesterday I heard part of an interview with the new Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, which included an exchange to the effect of,
Q. Would you support ending subsidies for big oil?

A. I oppose any tax increase.
That exchange could inspire a lot of discussions... The compliance of the media, and why politicians aren't called on their deceptive and misleading answers, or their nonanswers to simple questions. Whether lying with a straight face is a talent politicians learn on the job, or if politics is a world of sociopathy. Or (perhaps) less cynically, why anybody would call for the Democratic Party to try to reduce the Bush deficit when his party cannot be honest about our situation or what we would have to do to correct it.

David Ignatius writes,
The Democrats have to decide whether on economics, they want to be (forgive the sexist term) the "Daddy Party" of fiscal responsibility. Unless politicians find the courage to trim entitlement spending to what the country can afford, the projections are scary.
By Mitch McConnell's reasoning, isn't Ignatius calling for the balancing of the budget on the basis of a tax increase on the poor?

McConnell offers more words of wisdom....
Earlier on the Senate floor, McConnell said he'd fight attempts by Democrats to end the Bush administration's warrantless domestic-spying program and any attempts to roll back Medicare prescription-drug benefits.
Because, darn it all, the President needs to be above the law. And it's always the Democrats who want to scale back programs like Medicare.

Is McConnell actually saying that he will oppose any effort to bring common sense into the Medicare prescription benefit? That he will oppose efforts to eliminate the "donut hole" in prescription coverage, to allow Medicare to compete directly with private insurers to offer the benefit, or to permit Medicare to negotiate discounts with pharmaceutical companies? That he will misrepresent efforts to improve the benefit while lessening its costs as a "roll back"? Or is he simply delusional?

This represents the Republican concept of "a restoration of civility and common purpose"?

2 comments:

  1. The compliance of the media, and why politicians aren't called on their deceptive and misleading answers, or their nonanswers to simple questions.

    I don't consider myself a master of cross-examination, but I have wondered about this also. How dim to you have to be not to say "That's not really what I was asking. What I asked was..."

    Reminds me of Ari Fleischer's comment that there is a difference between responding to a reporter's question and answering a reporter's question.

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  2. Sometimes you have to wonder if the media listens to the answer at all. How many times have we heard an interviewer ask a question that was answered just a few minutes before . . . and as you pointed out, how often do we hear them respond to a "non-answer" as if it were an answer.

    Of course given that the "best media" available tends to be NPR, who aren't very good at all, maybe in addition to wondering if we have the Government we deserve we should give some thought to how we have come to deserve our currently abominable media . . .

    CWD

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