Journalists: some context please

Journalists: some context please

by digby

Following up on David's post below, with which I strongly agree, I would just like to point out another problem with the coverage: lack of context. For instance, even among journalists who ostentatiously reject the direct he said-she said, the impulse is to go to some length to qualify it by saying that while this particular crisis is clearly the fault of the Republicans, the larger picture is much more mixed with the Democrats having to take responsibility for their own actions that led to this. In other words, both sides are guilty --- the Democrats provoked this by doing whatever. (Passing the ACA without Republican votes, etc.)

This is nonsense. I'm sure it's true that Democrats have angered the Republicans by using legislative maneuvers to pass their agenda and I'm sure the Republicans are upset that theirs is not getting passed. But you really need to take a step back and look at the big picture. For 20 years the Republicans have openly and energetically been defying political norms. Ever since the Gingrich revolution we have careened from one violation of these norms to the next, from the 95 shutdown to the impeachment to off year redistricting to filibuster abuse to vote suppression and beyond. This is the story, not the fact that Democrats used a sharp maneuver that one time and it made the Republicans really, really mad and they vowed revenge.

The last two decades have been a systematic whittling down of every precedent, regulation and rule that had kept the government running even in times of great political disagreement. It's vitally important that the media convey this context because when you look at that litany of GOP actions over the years you will see that defaulting on the debt is completely plausible. They could very easily do it. They have adopted a revolutionary posture and they make no bones about it.

As anyone who reads this blog knows very well, I do not let Democrats off the hook. In a million ways they have enabled the GOP and allowed this huge shift to the right over the past few years. But they have not engaged in the destructive, radical usurpation of democratic norms that has become the hallmark of the Republican Party and which has led us to this critical moment. The last 20 years of GOP radicalism is not business as usual.