New York Times White House correspondent Jackie Calmes' 1,300-word story for the Saturday Business section, with the online headline 'G.O.P. on Defensive as Analysts Question Party's Fiscal Policy,' was so blatantly biased it caught the attention of neo-liberal Mickey Kaus, who posted a withering, entertaining analysis at The Daily Caller, revisiting his old theme of liberal cocooning among the Times and its readership.
Kaus wrote that the emphasis on nonexistent 'defensiveness' 'must be heartening to Times readers. It's also the stuff of which delusions are made – the familiar process of cocooning, in which Times-addicted Democrats wake up election day expecting President Kerry to have been swept into office only to discover that the paper of record has mistaken the views of its editorial board for the views of voters.' Kaus concluded 'The NYT gets more like MSNBC every day.'
Calmes, whose preference for Democratic policies has been well-documented at Times Watch, began her Saturday story with a paragraph that could have come straight out of a pro-Democrat opinion piece.
The boasts of Congressional Republicans about their cost-cutting victories are ringing hollow to some well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans, who are expressing increasing alarm over Washington's new austerity and antitax orthodoxy.
Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of the United States.
But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year - for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever - was wrong for addressing the nation's two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.
Instead, these critics say, Washington should be focusing on stimulating the economy in the near term to induce people to spend money and create jobs, while settling on a long-term plan for spending cuts and tax increases to take effect only after the economy recovers.
Among those calling for a mix of cuts and revenue are onetime standard-bearers of Republican economic philosophy like Martin Feldstein, an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., Treasury secretary to President George W. Bush, underscoring the deepening divide between party establishment figures and the Tea Party-inspired Republicans in Congress and running for the White House.
Kaus noted sarcastically that Paulson "is such a GOP standard bearer that he served on Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board."
Besides the headline and a Times photo caption claiming 'House Majority Leader Eric Cantor issued a defensive memo,' Calmes' text also insisted without evidence that Cantor's memo was "defensive."
That is a common assessment, which may explain why Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, was defensive about Republicans' antitax absolutism in a memo to his colleagues on Monday.
'Over the next several months, there will be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S.& P.'s analysis of the inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong. In short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases,' Mr. Cantor wrote.
But, he added, 'We were not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hardworking families and business people.'
Kaus pointed out (emphasis his): "Completely missing, however, is any convincing indication that Republicans are, in fact, 'on the defensive."
Calmes insisted that Americans are suffering from a false consciousness about Obama's "economic stimulus" package, which actually, apparently, worked, 9.1% unemployment rate to the contrary.
Republicans are resistant. And Democrats are too cowed to counter much, given polls that show many Americans believe Mr. Obama's 2009-10 stimulus package did not work, despite studies to the contrary.