Jonathan Chait

Matt Bai Goes Awry

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[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner]

New York Times political writer Matt Bai's almost pathological need to appear evenhanded, even when writing analytically, is nicely captured by his blog post today. He focuses on a moment in the debate, already mentioned below by Jon, when every Republican candidate refused to agree to a deal that included "one dollar in new tax revenue for every 10 dollars’ worth of reductions." This, as Jon says, is "anti-tax mania." And here is Bai:

If this were merely a Republican phenomenon, the party would be alone in suffering the wrath of the average American voter. But it isn’t. You could have put a lot of Washington Democrats up on that stage, and asked them if they would have accepted $10 in new taxes or new stimulus in exchange for $1 in cuts to Social Security, and you probably would have gotten much the same response: hell, no.

Ah yes: except of course that President Obama offered the Republicans a deal with much less favorable ratios, at least as far as liberals are concerned. Now, I am sure Bai could find a few Democrats that would say "hell, no" to this deal. These Democrats do not run Washington. These Democrats do not control their own party. These Democrats would never make up the entire party's presidential field.

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