The Times' latest Thursday "Political Points " podcast was hosted by Sam Roberts and reporter David Kirkpatrick, with Deputy Washington bureau chief Richard Stevenson and White House correspondent Peter Baker as guests. One subject: Obama's health care overhaul and the "far right" opposition to it.
Roberts offered a clear labeling contrast four minutes in, while referring to a "fascinating story in the Times about the fact that the far right, or certainly the conservative wing of the party, regrets in a sense that there's been so much vitriol over this legislation, that its point of view free market, basic economic strictures has not really come across."
Roberts is referring to Thursday's "Conservatives See Need for Serious Health Debate. "ReportersJim Rutenberg andGardiner Harriscontained many unnecessary "conservative" labels, but unlike Roberts, refrained from using the loaded term "far right" to describe the mainstream conservative groups it profiled, including Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
By contrast, when White House correspondent Peter Baker described Obama's core supporters nine minutes in, he didn't call them the "far left" but used the gentler term "progressive base": "It's going to give him a lot of heartache even further among the progressive base of the party, which we just talked is unhappy about some of the maneuverings about health care."
Around 3 minutes from the end, Deputy Washington bureau chief Richard Stevenson brought up therecession's impact on the future ofcapitalism, and blamed conservatism for some of the mess we're in:
What Obama was trying to articulate back then in the spring was that there were a lot of fundamental imbalances in our economy and our society, some of which were the product of 20 or 25 years of an ascendance of conservative thought and market-based forces that left certain aspects of the economy out of whack. He has addressed some of those things, or has started to address some of those things, in a concrete way. For example, tighter regulation of banking, tighter regulation of business in general....One of the very interesting questions that we're facing over the next few years, as the economic cycle turns and the politics of the day play out, is the degree to which the nation's ideological center moves continually leftward or whether Obama runs up against some limits there. The health care debate suggest that there are some limits, that people are quite uncomfortable with the idea of government taking a much more explicit and activist role in a very big part of the economy and a very big part of people's lives.
David Kirkpatrick interjected rather snidely,with a suggestion that rural conservatives have too much of asay:"Or at least some people in under-populated states that have a disproportionate share of the Senate and not of the House."