When I read their op-ed in Sunday’s Post, I concluded that Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein had written a clever parody: How would two shopworn founts of conventional wisdom let on that they are Democratic hacks and not serious pundits, let alone scholars?
Why, they would write a piece saying the GOP alone is to blame for what’s wrong in D.C. They’d disregard that the Democrats had control of the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years of the Obama administration, and that the Democratic majority in the Senate hadn’t passed a budget in three years.
They’d omit mention that President Obama nixed the “grand bargain,” as The Post reported. They’d overlook that not only had the Republican House Budget Committee chairman put forth tax reform and Medicare and Medicaid reform (which the entire GOP passed) but that the Republican nominee for president did all that plus offer his formula for Social Security reform. They would leave out the hyperpartisan war on opponents, run out of the White House against everyone from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Supreme Court to Fox News.
They’d slide by the gender- and class-baiting that Obama and the Democrats are relying on in lieu of agenda, and forget the shameless Mediscare gambit in response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) effort at Medicare reform. They wouldn’t mention the Democrats’ refusal to respond to the supercommittee proposal (which included new revenue) from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
If Ornstein and Mann were really shameless, they’d ignore the president’s partisan attacks on Republicans (accusing them of putting party above country, wanting us to breath dirty air and drink dirty water) and his failure to propose comprehensive immigration reform, preferring to use it as a wedge issue to inflame ethnic antagonisms. If they cared not a fig for their professional reputations, they’d throw around adjectives (”extreme” is always an easy one) with no factual support and cite intemperate House Republicans rather than the legions of deal-making Republicans in both Houses. They would cite fringe cranks like former senator Chuck Hagel.
They’d ignore that President Obama threw the Simpson-Bowles commission under the bus. They would underplay the fact that Democratic primary voters have systematically removed Blue Dog Democrats from office and that House Democrats chose to reelect the flame-thrower Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) as their leader, rather than the more practical Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.)
And by gosh, what courage! They risked writing something — tongue in cheek, right? — that people would think was actually sincere analysis, and then roll their eyes in disgust, wondering if they’ve given an in-kind donation to the DNC. They had no fear that the reaction (of all but the Democratic shills) would be to take them seriously and feel a pang of pity that has-been pundits would throw themselves at the feet of the Daily Kos crowd. Hats off to them, yessiree! You don’t see intellectual courage like that in D.C. every day.
P.S. Yes, this is the parody; theirs is the result of what happens when you’ve been in D.C. too long.