The purposeful obfuscation of Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank is a reliably liberal media lapdog at the Washington Post (not the John Philip Sousa march, but the newspaper).
Sometimes—through random success, just as a blind squirrel might find an acorn—Milbank says something funny, interesting, or topical. Generally, he does not.
In this recent column, he does not enjoy random success. Instead, Milbank delivers a reliably partisan and predictable attempt to slime Paul Ryan. Why? Because 1) Raul Ryan’s budget position has been endorsed by Mitt Romney and 2) Mitt Romney will running against Barack Obama in November.
Milbank’s issue at hand is that Paul Ryan had the audacity to deliver a draft budget instead of taking the do-nothing approach meekly favored by the Harry Reid-controlled Senate (no budget in three years, but they did reject the President’s 2012 budget 97 to zero) or the fairy tale/mentally ill 2013 budget delivered by the President (non-endorsed 414 to zero in the House).
Here’s Milbank’s beef:
…Ryan, the author of the House Republican budget endorsed by Mitt Romney, said his program was crafted “using my Catholic faith” as inspiration. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was not about to bless that claim.
A week after Ryan’s boast, the bishops sent letters to Congress saying the Ryan budget, passed by the House, “fails to meet” the moral criteria of the Church, namely its view that any budget should help “the least of these” as the Christian Bible requires: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless. “A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons,” the bishops wrote.
Milbank’s writing is disingenuous at best, ignoring the overarching context the mentioned and earlier budget-focused USCCB letters to the Congress, both of which say the following:
1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
The above context provides much for the USCCB to find wrong with all versions of the federal budget (and more so, for every federal budget ever produced). First, and of greatest significance, think Obamacare and abortion and ponder how that protects or threatens human life and dignity. But the USCCB also groused against proposed Administration cuts to “safe and affordable housing,” the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, and “the entire foreign operations budget.”
But noticeably unmentioned by the USCCB is the whole Exodus 20:15 thing, better known as Thou shall not steal.
By continuing to grow the federal deficit in the Obama manner, the Administration is stealing from future generations (assuming the debt is someday repaid, a stretch) or else from debt holders (who will be forced to take pennies on the dollar paybacks).
Obama will be forced to address his record during the campaign and after the elections, Mr. Milbank will be able to settle into the intellectual easy chair of railing against the new president and nostalgically longing for the old one. It’s good work if it suits your disposition.