The Place To Be For Lying Republicans

I really try not to focus too much on the Washington Post Op-Ed page, because if I did I could basically have a dedicated blog, and that’s not what I want. Still, when they do things like run this blatantly dishonest guest Op-Ed from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, you really can’t ignore it. Plenty of people have already addressed most of the dishonesties, so I’ll just add a few points. First of all, there’s no way to really excuse most of this as “just opinion.” Almost all of it is objectively false. The founders didn’t establish the filibuster, nor did they personally design the Senate as a super-majoritarian body. Reconcilliation has been used numerous times, and for proposals much larger in scope than the “sidecar” amendment Democrats are talking about at the moment. Off the top of my head, the $1.8 trillion of Bush tax cuts comes most easily to mind, but so do COBRA and the Reagan tax cuts of 1981. Finally, the notion that reconcilliation can only be used to “balance the budget” is particularly ridiculous, not just because reconcilliation has often been used to increase the deficit, as with the tax cuts Hatch voted for in 2001 and 2003, but because the healthcare reform bill scores as deficit reduction. Is Hatch literally arguing that reconcilliation can only be used for proposals that literally balance the budget in its entirety, and so even bills that reduce the deficit in part, but not in whole, are out of bounds for the process?

On a larger note, I really would like to know what the Post thinks it’s doing by publishing pieces like this. Presumably, the purpose of a newspaper like the Post is to inform its readers about what’s going on, as well as to help them understand it. That’s certainly what journalists, publishers, etc. see their work as. But I think you’d be hard pressed to really defend the notion that Post readers are being better informed by Fred Hiatt’s habit of regularly publishing blatantly dishonest Op-Eds from conservative writers and Republican politicians. And while I can at least sort of understand how newsmedia has gotten to the point where regular columnists for a major paper are allowed to lie on a regular basis, I really don’t see how an self-respecting journalist could imagine there’s any journalistic value whatsoever to printing objective lies from a politician.

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