Cokie Roberts needs a reality check because she's got herself convinced that if the president would just sit down and talk nice to the terrorists in the House of Representatives all of this talk about shutdowns and defaults wouldn't happen. In Cokie's pretty little world, there would be this nice negotiation and then Congress would link hands and sing Kumbaya after they gave the Tea Party their full list of demands.
After all, what do elections matter if the side who has the hostage can shoot it without consequence, right?
The roundtable on This Week was a shameful exercise in Village delusion. We begin with Cokie's "both sides" nonsense:
I might say this whole business of, you know, we won't negotiate with a gun to your head, actually I would prefer to negotiate with a gun to my head rather than have somebody shoot me.
And I think that's where they could end up if they don't sit down and talk. And so both sides really do need to some, now, I've got to believe that there is (inaudible) nobody in a back room with something in a back pocket.
No one reminded Cokie that both branches of Congress passed budgets in March and April. No one reminded Cokie that the Senate has requested a conference NINETEEN times only to have Ted Cruz block appointment of conferees in the Senate and the House refusing to appoint them too. Nay, that must be too esoteric for the Villagers.
So the terrorists take an innocent hostage -- the ACA -- and put a gun not only to the President's head, but to 800,000 Federal employees, the Senate, and every citizen of this country. Anyone with half a brain should have figured out by now that this is EXTREME behavior. It is not normal, it is not a "both sides" moment. After all, I can't recall Nancy Pelosi holding Dubya by the short hairs along with the entire country by threatening default and shutting down the government to withhold funding for the Iraq war. Because that's not what responsible politicians do.
There are lines that should not be crossed, but Cokie feels sorry for the terrorists. She's sad that the President is pushing them to be embarrassed by their embarrassing and unpatriotic behavior, and she has an ally in Jon Karl.
KARL: So you need something. Look the Republicans at this point have gotten themselves into this dark alley, into this box canyon. They need a way out. They cannot unconditionally surrender. I mean the White House I think that the danger for the White House is they are so convinced that they have the upper hand. And they do right now, absolutely have the upper hand. But they will overplay that and force the Republicans to a self-destructive move.
ROBERTS: What is the point of that by the way? What is the point of that? What is the point of the White House pushing them so hard that they have cry uncle?
The point, Cokie, is a simple one. We do not negotiate with terrorists, whether they originate here or in other countries. We do not cave in to unreasonable demands and we expect our elected officials to put the country ahead of their own political aims. That is the point.
The problem is, this attitude is now the Village cry. Dan Balz wrote a long, contemplative piece for today's Washington Post blaming both sides for moving farther from the center into their own ideological universes. His entire piece fails to mention the fact that ONE side has left the rational world, much less the rational center.
There are a few breaths of fresh air in the putrid Village universe, however. Nicholas Kristof laid it out clearly in the New York Times:
The stakes rise as we approach the debt limit and the risk of default — which the Treasury Department notes could have an impact like that of the 2008 financial crisis and “has the potential to be catastrophic.” Astonishingly, Republican hard-liners see that potential catastrophe as a source of bargaining power in a game of extortion: We don’t want anything to happen to this fine American economy as we approach the debt limit, so you’d better meet our demands.
In this situation, it strikes a false note for us as journalists to cover the crisis simply by quoting each side as blaming the other. That’s a false equivalency.
Look, Cokie! He said it. He put it right there on the table. So did Media Matters, who put responsibility for this ongoing clusterf*ck right on the shoulders of those who caused or helped to cause it:
What's been clear for years is that the press clings to its preferred storyline: When Republicans obstruct Obama's agenda, the president's to blame for not changing the GOP's unprecedented behavior. In other words, "both sides" are to blame for the GOP's radical actions and the epic gridlock it produces.
The media lesson for Republicans? There's very little political downside to pushing extremism if the press is going to give the party a pass.
Which is exactly what Cokie and her pals did in that segment. They pretended to be serious, but they were just giving cover to the Tea Party terrorists to continue their extreme behavior unabated, while the rest of the country, our economy, and what shreds of our social safety net remain are sucked away in a sea of shouts about 'both sides' doing it.
What will it take for them to actually be honest with their audiences? I don't know. The pattern is clear to anyone paying attention:
And now, rather than seeing the health care obstructionism as part of an obvious Republican continuum, and rather than noting it followed the gun law obstructionism, which followed the sequester obstructionism, which followed the Chuck Hagel confirmation obstructionism, which followed the Hurricane Sandy emergency relief obstructionism, which followed consistent obstructionism on juridicial nominees, the press remains reluctant to connect the obvious dots that help paint the portrait of a truly radical Republican party.
You can rest assured, however, that they don't shy away from painting a portrait of Barack Obama as a radical liberal who somehow deserves this kind of obstruction, because...both sides.