Political operatives spend a lot of time doing "hits" on their opponents, often tagging people with hypocrisy or gaffes or other things that make the other guy look bad. I always try in these situations to drill down into what it is that the hitter actually thinks about the issue at hand, since at the end of the day demonstrating that there's some hypocrisy in politics is a little banal. To that end, I had this exchange with John Boehner's press secretary:
Which was wrong. Do you agree it was wrong? RT @Brendan_Buck: Reminder: the president, as a Senator, voted against raising the debt ceiling.— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 4, 2013
Buck graciously responded:
@mattyglesias just some context when they get self-righteous.— Brendan Buck (@Brendan_Buck) October 4, 2013
So then I again tried to clarify:
@Brendan_Buck But is the context that he was wrong back then or that he was right?— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 4, 2013
And eventually got this response:
@mattyglesias we're for raising it - just want to do something about the deficit at the same time.— Brendan Buck (@Brendan_Buck) October 4, 2013
I think this continues to be a somewhat confusing view. Back when George W. Bush was President, Barack Obama was asked once to vote on a debt ceiling bill that was not paired with any deficit reduction. Obama voted "no" which Obama now says was the wrong call. John Boehner, by contrast, faced five such votes and (rightly) voted "yes" all five times. So the question on the table is who was right. I say that Boehner was right and Obama was wrong. I think Boehner's press secretary is trying to say that Boehner was wrong and Obama was right. Or at least he seems to be trying to imply that he thinks that. But he won't quite come out and say it.
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