Saturday, December 18, 2010

Catch of the Day

Ezra Klein had an excellent post yesterday on the subject of Robert Reich's claim that Democratic presidents always compromise, while Republican presidents don't.  As Klein shows, that's just not true; there are, of course, lots of examples of Republican presidents cutting deals with Congress, or even totally caving to Congress.  Klein has some good examples; add to those George H.W. Bush's budget deal, and most memorably Ronald Reagan's acceptance of a major tax increase in 1982.  Reagan also signed into law restrictions on US support for the Contras in Nicaragua at one point, even though such aid was one of his main priorities. 

Good catch!

By the way, I figure I'm obliged to note that the Robert Reich quote is from a Matt Bai piece on triangulation that didn't feature major historical factual errors, conceptual confusion, or misunderstanding of the political process.  Reich is wrong, but it's good reporting to let us know what he (and, as Klein notes, plenty of liberals) believe.  As I've said before, I think Bai is a good reporter, but miscast as an analyst; I'm obviously not going to change my mind based on one piece, but if every one of his articles was like this one, I'd retire my occasional item on him.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with the larger point of the post, but Reagan eventually circumvented the laws that he signed that restricted aid to the Contras. I'm not sure I would really consider that a compromise...

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  2. I think you are forgetting what was likely Reich's point. What exactly did Bush ever compromise away? Never anything of substance.

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