I never really paid much attention previously to people’s opinions of Froma Harrop and her columns. That is in part because I’ve seen her criticized from both sides of the political spectrum, so how bad can she really be? Well, her column on Wednesday in the Providence Journal sure seemed to make her biases evident.
Let’s start with the opening sentence:
“If the 2012 election were held today, Republicans could very well have their heads handed to them.”
I don’t quite understand this one. I looked up the Generic Congressional Vote polling on realclearpolitics.com and I see a dead heat. The polls just generically ask people, who would you vote for, the Democrat or the Republican. The answer comes out a perfect split tie at 41.3% each. I’m not sure how that is getting your “head handed to you”.
Next, if we need any other election results to be an indication, then look no further than New York’s Ninth Congressional district where Rep-elect Bob Turner is the first Republican to win that seat since 1920. During that campaign, even the popular Democrat and former NYC mayor Ed Koch came out in support of the Republican to specifically “send a message” to President Obama that his policies are unacceptable. Even the president’s own popularity polls are often an indication of which party will be victorious in the upcoming election. Obama’s disapproval rating currently leads his approval rating by 7 points. I’m not sure where Harrop gets this “head handed to them” idea.
Then, one of her very next sentences:
“Their debt-ceiling hijinks were no doubt immensely amusing to the Tea Party fringe”
Debt-ceiling hijinks? Maybe she’s unaware that the country is having some financial issues right now and there wasn’t that much attention being paid to fixing the issue. Just keep borrowing and borrowing without fixing the structural problem? No, something needed to be done and rather than making a five minute speech that only the Speaker and any homebound CSPAN viewer at 2 in the afternoon would see, they decided to stand up and do what they could to fix the problem. And look what’s happening now, there is some focus on fixing the deficits and runaway spending. That doesn’t sound like hijinks, that sounds like being responsible and doing the job you were elected to do.
“We’ve reached the part of the Western where the townsfolk, long intimidated by a gang of bullies, suddenly find their courage and fight back. A snowballing of suppressed rage bodes ill for the Grand Old Party.”
I agree with the first part. I am tired of the same old Washington, the same old lies, the same old business as usual. However, I think her second sentence has the wrong target. I think the suppressed rage may bode ill for many incumbents.
However, with her belief that the bully is the GOP and the Tea Party, who is this “we” that she speaks of? Clearly she’s speaking from a Democrat’s point of view and trying to project her single opinion on others. I don’t see that happening. This is like a conservative columnist claiming in early 2007 that the Democrats were being too whiny and would end up the big losers in the mid-term elections. We know how that turned out.
“[The Tea Party’s] circus act helped push a U.S. debt downgrade”
But what effectively originally it? Obama and the Congress’ mismanagement of the financial situations, bailouts and stimulus borrowing. The ratings agency even admitted that part of the reason for the downgrade was that the spending cuts did not go far enough. How far would the downgrade have gone if there were no cuts?
And there’s also Harrop with her revisionist history:
“It was against that sour public mood that Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican, ran against Bill Clinton in 1996. He lost.”
Yes, Dole lost in 1996 as did Walter Mondale in 1984. Both candidates were running against extremely popular presidents in a time when America was very prosperous and going well. When America is chugging along well, why would you want to change the president? Conversely, when America is moving like we are now, is exactly the time to change both the President and Congress.