“Extremism” In Defense Of Bloated Budgets Is Apparently No Vice

Nor, it would seem, are really tired clichés.

At least since Dick Gephardt’s primacy as a leader of the party, “extremist” has been the Democratic description of choice for Republican policy initiatives. So the only wonder in Sen. Chuck Schumer passing along the caucus’ orders to describe House GOP plans to cut less than 2.8% of the $3.6 trillion federal budget as “extremist” is that he was dumb enough to get caught:

Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, began to instruct his fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process.

After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

Words lose their impact after a while. And this one’s had a long, tiresome run (see also, “racist,” and, to be fair, “socialist,” and “elitist.”) It beggars belief that their focus groups still respond in any significant fashion to this canard. After a decade and a half of overuse (not to mention worldwide flareups of the real thing), you’d think they’d at least switch to a synonym.

Image: Yid With Lid.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Quick Takes, Tea Party
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. It’s always embarrassing when the talking points memo gets leaked. The Republicans should make sure their document security is up to date.

  2. sam says:

    “Words lose their impact after a while. And this one’s had a long, tiresome run (see also, “racist,” and, to be fair, “socialist,” and “elitist.”) ”

    True dat. But maybe they don’t really believe it just as Bill Sammon doesn’t really believe that Obama is a socialist. It’s all, you know rhetoric. if hackneyed…. But

    ” It beggars belief that their focus groups still respond in any significant fashion to this canard.”

    I’d guess that the target audience is independents, who are viscerally opposed to extremes of any kind….Whether it works will have to wait for the polls after April 8. Who gets the flying fickle finger of disapprobation.

    Whether it works remains to be see, huh?

  3. Franklin says:

    I am in extreme agreement with the elitist post and socialist comment. Oh, and you’re all racist Nazis, too.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    Since the November election so-called republicans have done nothing but add to the debt and wage class and culture warfare. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, the debt is still bigger and womens rights are in danger.

  5. Aidan says:

    Water is wet, the Tea Party is extreme. Getting caught openly acknowledging your own talking points is mildly embarrassing to be sure, but this would pack a lot more punch if the Democrats were caught knowingly peddling demonstrably false talking points (like, oh I don’t know, saying that Obama is a socialist). If you disagree that the word “extremist” applies to the Tea Party, then say so. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s a lot to see here.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    I dunno which I find more surprising: that Schumer needed to be told what spin to peddle, that he was actually willing to mouth others’ word instead of blathering his own BS, or that he actually shut up of his own volition. All are equally unbelievable.

    What I don’t find surprising is how little attention this is getting in the mainstream media. Even when given a “smoking gun” abuot hwo the Democrats take their talking points from Dem Central, just parroting what they’ve been told, they still downplay or ignore it.

    J.

  7. mantis says:

    I dunno which I find more surprising: that Schumer needed to be told what spin to peddle, that he was actually willing to mouth others’ word instead of blathering his own BS, or that he actually shut up of his own volition. All are equally unbelievable.

    The fact that you find any of it surprising is surprising. Did you hit your head when you fell off the turnip truck?

    My guess is you wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if this were a Republican call. Psss, here’s a secret: Republicans do the same thing. You should know; you repeat their rehearsed talking points all the time!

    Even when given a “smoking gun” abuot hwo the Democrats take their talking points from Dem Centra

    We found the smoking gun! Democrats practice coordinated messaging! We must destroy them before this smoking gun becomes a mushroom cloud! Of messaging!

    When you purport to be an old cynic and a starry-eyed naif at the same time, Jay, you just show yourself to be full of shit.

  8. Aidan says:

    Just so I’m clear here, you’re wondering why there isn’t a national scandal that a coordinated political party use talking points and deliberate messaging when addressing their political opponents in the media?

  9. sam says:

    @Jay

    “the Democrats take their talking points from Dem Central, just parroting what they’ve been told”

    Ah, give us a break, Jay, for Christ’s sake. What, you think the Dems are unique in this. Really?