There are always at least two views to any economy. If you think the U.S. economy is recovering but might need more stimulus, you probably vote liberal. If you think the economy stinks and government needs to be reined in, then you might be committing treason.
Prominent Democrats have been nibbling at this issue for more than a year – saying GOP opposition to Obama’s socialistic plans is only driven by politics. The consistent claim has been the GOP wants, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, “to make the economy worse” to ensure defeating Obama.
Now some are even more blatant. Major Obama funder and onetime comedian Bill Maher said “Republicans are stalling every effort that he has tried to make to create jobs and help the economy.” He called it “treason” during his June 8 HBO show.
“You can say that in 2004 when Iraq was falling apart, and there were bombings all [over] Baghdad, that every time there was a bombing, maybe some Democrats secretly applauded? But the difference is they didn’t cause the bombings. They’re actually causing the bombings here. That’s why I called it treason,” Maher explained.
He’s not alone.
Progressive talker Thom Hartmann (on whose show I sometimes appear) asked “have Republicans committed treason, sedition or just conspiracy to destroy the lives of millions of working Americans so they can make sure Obama stays a one term president?” According to Hartmann, following a cabal-like planning meeting, Republicans had worked to “intentionally sabotage an entire nation.”
The claim somehow ignores that Democrats initially controlled the House and had 60 votes in the Senate. It also bypasses that somehow both the stimulus and Obamacare passed the Congress under Obama.
Even the Fourth of July wasn’t allowed to pass without Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg calling the GOP “the Treason Party.” Of course, he claimed Republican “dogma” includes “hobble education, starve the government by slashing taxes to the rich, kneecap attempts to jumpstart the economy by fixating on debt.”
Public Relations strategist Cliff Schechter raised this issue last June, writing: “Are Republicans Committing Treason?” Schecter, whose clients include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic National Committee, railed on what he called “anti-American Right.”
It’s also the question asked by the Associated Press, just without the claims of treason. “Is GOP stalling on economy to hurt Obama?” wrote AP’s Charles Babington on May 23. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., warned that House Majority Leader John Boehner is threatening another debt-ceiling crisis. “I hope that the speaker is not doing this because he doesn't want to see the economy improve, because what he said will certainly rattle the markets,” he said.
The story reminded readers that this isn’t a new idea. “‘Their strategy is to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory,’ Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, wrote in an e-mail to supporters last October, when Congress was debating a jobs bill.’”
The idea in all this is almost laughable. Democrats are so sure that they are right and righteous and can find no other explanation for the continued economic downturn. Unemployment spent three and a half years at 5 percent or below under President George W. Bush. It has spent nearly an identical time under Obama above 8 percent. At the same time even the most supportive news outlets have been forced to cover the national cataclysm in household wealth where the median household lost 39 percent since 2007.
There is no way to spin those statistics except failure. So if Obama the All Knowing has failed, well it must be the fault of the GOP.
This is not a small issue. It’s already crossed to Europe. Guardian UK columnist Michael Cohen asked “Did Republicans deliberately crash the US economy?” in a June 9, 2012, column. Don’t doubt where Cohen stands. He’s a fellow with the Century Foundation, where Obama transition team head John Podesta is a trustee.
Cohen started out bashing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Though he pretended to give both sides, he quickly added “there is circumstantial evidence to make the case.” He was inconclusive, but still strongly bashed the right, saying, “one of two major political parties in America is engaging in scorched-earth economic policies that are undercutting the economic recovery, possibly on purpose.”
It’s certainly a strategy that seems to be having an impact. The lefty loons at Daily Kos polled, asking the question: “Do you think the Republicans are intentionally stalling efforts to jumpstart the economy to insure that Barack Obama is not reelected or not?” The results show 50 percent voting yes. Of course, that comes from a Daily Kos/SEIU poll, which is like asking death row inmates to handle the poll on the death penalty.
That isn’t the only time recently the left has been claiming conservatives are committing treason. New York Times economist Paul Krugman claimed climate change deniers are treasonous against Mother Earth. “And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason – treason against the planet.” Eco-treason? And former Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm claimed asking for ID from voters is also “treasonous.” Of course, she calls it“voter suppression.” Like when they asked me for ID at the theater recently. I guess that was “Avengers” suppression.
Political watchers would say conservatives, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have also used the term. That’s true. The difference is media types skewered him for it. Now it’s becoming commonplace for prominent Democrats and their supporters to claim any opposition to the president is “treason.” No, it’s called freedom. The people who declare all political opposition to be treason usually run third world dictatorships.