Media criticism is definitely the lowest form of analysis, but sometimes it’s an urge worth indulging. There’s been a recent current of lefty commentary purporting to discover that the GOP is primarily concerned with preserving tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans.
[T]hough he has passed himself off as a deficit hawk, [Paul] Ryan actually is a dyed-in-the-wool supply-sider. At his core he believes, for both moral and economic reasons, in holding taxes on the rich low. He has successfully learned to pitch himself to the political center as a debt hawk but the pitch is at odds with his voting record, his current positions, and his own intellectual history.
Wowie! Paul Ryan is a Reaganomist at heart. Not exactly a shocker.
Meanwhile, here’s Noam Scheiber:
But if all the Bush tax cuts expire in January, then the Democratic position will be that everyone but the rich gets a tax cut, and the Republican position will be that everyone including the rich deserves a tax cut.
Zowie! The GOP really wants to protect low income tax rates for the wealthy! Even when it comes with a strategic cost!
I’m being too glib, of course—I don’t mean to pick on Chait and Scheiber. They’re two of the better news analysts in town. Both guys are trying to show how the political logic of the moment discloses GOP convictions and strategy. What’s more, given that so much of the Republican Party’s rhetoric is crafted in order to obscure their intentions, there’s always (some) value in pointing out the class warfare agenda they’re actually advancing. But it’s not really a story anymore to show that the GOP prioritizes the wealthy’s financial interests and hides it behind dishonest rhetoric. That’s been obvious for a long time (Years? Decades?). I actually worry that Chait and Scheiber’s approach actually legitimates the official Republican line by taking it seriously.