David Herszenhorn Shrugs Off Democratic Senators Comparing GOP to Terrorists

Compare Republicans to terrorists, and threaten a popular uprising against them? No big deal to Times reporter David Herszenhorn. His Saturday piece from Capitol Hill, "Senators Vie for Last Word on Tax Breaks as Expiration Nears," treated the two fiery comments made by Democratic Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Claire McCaskill of Missouri as nothing special.

Meanwhile, the frustration among Congressional Democrats seemed to boil over on Friday.

At a news conference, Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, suggested that dealing with the Republicans was akin to dealing with terrorists. Mr. Menendez, responding to a question, said that while Democrats held the majority, they should not capitulate to Republican demands if those demands represented bad policy.

"Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate result?" Mr. Menendez asked. "It's almost like the question of do you negotiate with terrorists."


Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said that Republican supporters in the Tea Party groups should look closely at the Republicans' tax policies.

"If they think it's O.K. to raise taxes for the embattled middle class because they're going to pout if we don't give more money to millionaires, it really is time for the people of America to take up pitchforks," Mrs. McCaskill said. "And all those people out there in the Tea Party that are angry about the economics of Washington, they really need to look at this."

Herszenhorn didn't look askance at the incendiary anti-Republican rhetoric.

By contrast, he was far more agitated about unsubstantiated claims of racist taunts from conservative Obama-care protesters, as heard in this "Political Points" podcast on April 1, 2010:

Host Sam Roberts: "David and Jeff, we've been writing that health care became a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deep divisions in an increasingly fractured society. What is it the surrogate for, do we think?"

Herszenhorn: "Well there's so many things, Sam. One is clearly there's a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote."

And a nytimes.com post by Herszenhorn on December 7, 2009, headlined "The Crankiness of the Defeated," went after Sen. John McCain for a far, far milder jab at President Obama. He termed a press conference in which McCain complained of Obama's partisanship "the vengeance of the vanquished."

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