By giving the administration of Barack Obama a front-page forum to bash House Minority Leader John Boehner last weekend, The New York Times is once again proving that it cannot resist doing the “hope and change” crowd’s dirty laundry.
“A GOP Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists,” the paper’s September 12 headline screamed boldly, bashing Boehner for being connected to special interests that “contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign.”
Assuming that wasn’t sufficiently subtle, the paper also described Boehner as a “perpetually tanned, sharply tailored, chain-smoking golfer.”
The Times smear on Boehner is straight out of the left-wing playbook — a slash-and-burn mode of divisive political demonization that Obama claims to be “above” but one that legacy media outlets (particularly the Times) are all-too familiar with.
Their shared objective is painfully obvious — to create a convenient enemy for Obama at a time when growing numbers of Americans are losing faith in his “leadership.” In Boehner, they have simply gone to Republican central casting and picked out a suitable antagonist to saddle with their decades-old class warfare rhetoric. Rather than accepting responsibility for their failed economic policies, Obama’s team is using the Times to manufacture a “villain” upon whom they can blame the nation’s ongoing economic malaise — which has been Obama’s responsibility for the last twenty months (and even longer if you count his support for the failed interventionist policies of former president George W. Bush).
Yet amid news of record poverty increases, increasing unemployment, deteriorating consumer confidence and global economic uncertainty — Obama’s definition of “hope and change” is now coming full circle.
The “stimulus” didn’t work. Blaming Bush didn’t work. Now it is Boehner’s turn to be castigated by the same president who stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January of 2009 and proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
Far from denouncing “petty grievances” and “recriminations,” however, Obama is now aggressively employing them via the same old attention-diverting, blame-shifting tactics that Washington politicians of both parties have used for decades.
“White House surrogates spent the weekend highlighting a New York Times piece detailing (Boehner’s) ties to lobbyists,” wrote Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post two days after the story was posted.
Not only is the White House leading the attack through the media, the Obama administration is publicly patting itself on the back for a job well done.
“I think that, yes, it has been successful,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said of the strategy behind attacking Boehner.
Clearly Republicans in Washington — Boehner included — share much of the blame for our nation’s deteriorating economic and financial prognosis. But rather than correct the failed policies of the past (unsustainable government growth, expanded government regulation, excessive government spending), Obama has put these same policies on steroids.
On the next page: what the Times’ article conveniently failed to mention
Also, in using the Times to dish his dirt, Obama and his allies conveniently ignore the fact that 45 current or recently-departed Democratic members of Congress — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have received more money from lobbyists during the current election cycle than Boehner. They also conveniently ignore the fact that Pelosi frequently uses a taxpayer-funded Gulfstream jet to travel around the globe — or that in her taxpayer-funded travels she has rung up a massive $101,000 tab for in-flight food and liquor over a two-year period.
Of course the Times wasn’t about to put Boehner’s “tightness” with lobbyists into any sort of perspective, because that would have undercut the very foundation of the attack. Such “journalism” is grossly unfair — and something we should bear in mind whenever the legacy media attempts to claim the mantle of objectivity.
In prostrating itself at the behest of a desperate administration, the Times is showing itself to be nothing more than a willing tool of a failed president who is grasping for excuses, not solutions.
And while the jury is out on whether John Boehner deserves better, the American people certainly do.
Howard Rich is the chairman of Americans for Limited Government.