Monday, June 07, 2010

OMG - The President Is Paying Too Much Attention to the BP Disaster!

Where would we be without Beltway journalism. One day its stars are patting themselves on the back for getting President Obama to devote significant face time to the Deepwater Horizon spill. The next thing you know, watch out, that could distract him from the nation's real problems.

In writing that "It's devilishly difficult to explain why deficits are good now and bad later," Dionne neglects to state why - and contrary to the implication of his article, it's not because of the Deepwater Horizon spill. With a Democrat in the Oval Office, the most ardent defenders of Bush's trifecta "joke" and his runaway spending have reinvented themselves as deficit hawks, and a sizable percentage of the voting public is buying it. The media has done a lousy job explaining how deficits work and why this may not be the time for austerity - and if Obama were to support another enormous stimulus package they would resort to the "he said, she said" routine, letting the newly reminted opponents of government spending misrepresent the effects of stimulus spending to date and attack the President for his "out of control" spending. Finding responsible tax increases that could offset the spending? That would only grease the wheels of the Republican noise machine. Dionne knows this.

This is a bit like the bursting of the housing bubble. Nobody saw it coming, right? Except, you know, for everybody who is actually paying attention. It's more accurate to say that there was a lot of intentional blindness and the mainstream media chose to tune out the voices of doom. The President is not going to set himself up for a lecture by Dowd as to how he's being "professorial" and out-of-touch, or the inevitable round of editorials excoriating him for not slashing spending ("Oh no - we're Greece!") knowing full well that neither the media nor his own party has any interest in covering his back. Yes, "advocates of further stimulus have to know they are losing the political argument", but it's not because they've been silent, or haven't been trying to educate the public.

(On a related note, via The NonSequitur, consider what life would be like if political scientists covered the news.)

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