MRCWatch Dept. - Anyone of any prominence threatening the nut-right’s caricature of President Obama as a far-left socialist kinda' guy in an election year can certainly be expected to get kicked around a bit by Newsbusters. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said President Obama's speech last night to the Democratic National Convention demonstrated that the Democrats "are not a left-wing party" but are, instead, a "center-left" one and that Obama is "something of a moderate, not a lefty here--certainly not a socialist..." For Matt Vespa, them's fightin' words but his attempted take-down of Matthews today doesn’t have a lot of fight in it.
"Chris Matthews must be living in an alternate reality.
The stimulus, ObamaCare, the autoworkers union bailout, the green energy
executive order, the watered-down Dream Act enacted by presidential
fiat weren't actions of limited government."
In this reality, it's true that every Republican in the U.S.
House and all but three Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted against
the Obama stimulus package. It’s also true that immediately after the
vote, most of those same conservative Republicans began demanding a
piece of the pie go to their states and districts and, having voted
"no," returned home to take credit for all the money the stimulus was
bringing in. Of 219 Republican members of congress at the time, 114 of
them--over half the delegation--did this little dance.
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan was among them; in a
story that received virtually no coverage in the corporate press that so
regularly fawns over him, he lobbied the government for millions of
dollars for a pair of companies in his home state. Obama's support
for the stimulus only makes him some uber-leftist in a world in which
conservative Republicans are as well.
Similarly, "Obamacare" was a Republican health care plan created in
the 1990s as an alternative to the Clinton health plan (itself derived
from a Republican original). Republicans had intermittently advocated it
for 15 years before Obama adopted it as his own and one of the "mitts"
in that "intermittently" was Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney, who, as governor of Massachusetts, implemented that very plan
in his state. Obama chose it--a conservative plan aimed at propping up
the failed insurance industry--in preference to the single-payer approach
favored by the liberals. One of the only major progressive elements he
included in his own was the "public option," which, in a back-room deal he cut with industry
lobbyists, he then agreed, at the beginning of the health care debate,
Vespa's "autoworkers union bailout" is what is known, in the real
world, as the bailout of the auto industry. That wasn’t an invention of
Barack "Kenyan socialist" Obama but of George Bush Jr., the most
conservative Republican to ever occupy the U.S. presidency. It was
before congress in Dec. 2008, before Obama had even become president,
and again, Republican vp candidate Ryan voted for it.
The original Dream Act was authored way back in 2001 by left-wing
nutjob Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)--in the real world, one of the most
conservative members of the U.S. Senate. It has been introduced
repeatedly over the last 11 years and the Bolshevist Bush administration
incorporated major elements of it into its own comprehensive
immigration reform package in 2007 (which failed).
Vespa complains about "$5 trillion added to the national debt" but
$1.2 trillion of that was actually signed into law by Bush and as the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has documented,
policies initiated by Bush, rather than Obama, have been responsible
for nearly all of the present and projected U.S. annual deficits. Obama
certainly earns abuse for what has happened on his watch but his sin
was in continuing to follow the policies of his conservative Republican
predecessor, not in being, himself, any sort of big spender. Contrary to
the Tax-And-Spend caricature Vespa seeks to invoke by raising this
issue, around 70% of the present U.S. debt was incurred under Republican, rather than Democratic, administrations.
Vespa mentions elements of the poor economic performance of the Obama
administration but none that touch on the Matthews assertions he's
trying to refute. No one disputes the Bush-era economic collapse has
been hard on the U.S. The Bush administration itself was hard on it.
That’s pretty much Vespa's case. If anything, it suggests that
Matthews only erred by calling the Obama administration "center-left,"
when "center-right" would be more accurate.
 Ryan did this in writing then lied about it on at least two separate occasions before finally having to fess up.