Jonathan Chait is a typical Beltway-minded Very Serious Thinker, which means that in his crafting of an apologia for yet another cave-in by Obama to corporate America’s well-heeled (and campaign-contributing) titans, he likes to a) assume that Obama’s most prominent lefty critics have no idea how politics works in America when in fact they understand it better than he ever will, and b) play fast and loose with the truth. To that end, he’s come forth with a kinder, gentler sort of hippie-punching, but in essence all he’s doing is the graduate-level version of the “Paul Krugman is a political rookie” post of Deaniac83′s so lovingly spammed by OFA New Mexico head Ray Sandoval. Deaniac83′s veal-penner post was rightly mocked even by Beltway Villagers — as is fitting for anyone who thinks or says that a guy who’s given advice to both Republican and Democratic presidents over the past thirty years is a “political rookie” — but since Chait’s a much more mannered and clubbable sort of fellow, who knows all the secret handshakes and such, his piece will get a free pass from his Villager kith and kin.
For those of us who actually care about the truth and accurate descriptions of history, and love to whack away at the millionaire scribes doing billionaires’ biddings by spewing falsehoods like the business entities Obama courts for their campaign cash spew effluent, Chait’s piece is a target-rich environment. Blue Texan’s already corrected Chait’s revisionist history of the stimulus package. I’m going to take a whack at Chait’s revisionist history of Obama’s legislative powers as compared to Bush’s, and why Obama couldn’t pass a stimulus package big enough to actually do most Americans much good:
“Yes, Bush passed his tax cuts — by using a method called reconciliation, which can avoid a filibuster but can be used only on budget issues.”
Um, Jonathan? Reconciliation can be used on many bills in which money is involved, not just budget bills. Do you know one reason why we know this? Because it was used to pass the health care bill, you moron. Really, do you think we all just fell off the turnip truck here? Or are you equipped with less than the memory God gave a tree squirrel?
Yes, folks: Mr. Chait just tried to get away with reviving the supremely lame excuse the Villagers and Obama Veal Pen apologists were using to justify the lack of a public option in the health care bill, as well as the lack of a real stimulus.
Betcha you thought that excuse was dead and buried once Team Obama had to use reconciliation to pass the laughably-misnamed “Affordable Care Act” by Scott Brown’s victory over Martha Coakley — a victory that came in large part because Coakley was forced to defend that industry-written, anti-choice-amended, public-option-less abomination. Well, apparently it’s not, because Very Serious Thinkers like Jonathan Chait (and/or the people who pay his bills) think you, Dear Reader, are too stupid to remember recent history.