Carol Platt Liebau: Wishing Doesn't Make It So

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wishing Doesn't Make It So

It's always amusing to see a died-in-the-wool MSM liberal try to report on Republicans and their "feelings" as Scot Lehigh does today in The Boston Globe.

Lehigh wouldn't be able to gauge Republican opinion if it smacked him in the face. First, he tries to lionize the attitudinizing Chuck Hagel, whose presidential potential is somewhere between permanently dormant and nonexistent (if Republicans want a GOP "maverick," they'll pick the real thing and go with John McCain, who at least has some charm to offset the arrogance).

Second, he asserts that Republicans are beginning to quail at the thought of putting permanent tax cuts in place because "Locking in tax cuts that disproportionately reward the well-to-do even as Congress pares back social programs for those of low and moderate incomes is too much for some of them to abide." Setting aside the fact that tax cuts can only "reward" those who actually pay taxes ("disproportionately . . . the well-to-do" under the current structure), the critique is internally inconsistent: The big problem, as Lehigh's idol Hagel puts it, is the unrestrained growth in government. So they're cutting programs but government growth is unrestrained? Riddle me that, Batman.

Lehigh's beloved "iconoclast," the accomplished Bruce Bartlett, has become such an over-the-top Bush critic that he is taken seriously by very few.

Finally, the "resistance from the president's own party" over "warrantless [international] eavesdropping" signals very little in terms of a sea change in Bush's relationship with Republicans. The issue, as the congresspeople see it, is a tussle between congressional and presidential authority -- and some of them are hot to defend their own prerogatives.

Lehigh may wish that the President had systemic and ongoing trouble from a great mass of those within his own party. But wishing doesn't make it so -- and neither do a few selective examples.


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