Deconstructing Fox: A Bad Defense Of The House Freedom Caucus
This is the start of a recurring series in which I will read what is published on Fox News’ website and respond. Time for some turd mining.
The verb “fox” means to deceive or outsmart, and, like the adjective version of the same word, it refers to the folksy characteristics of a fox.
This is quite fitting for Fox News because the news network is culturally infamous for its artistic quality of deception, especially with its pundits and opinionators. With this series, I will try to deconstruct the deceptions with which Fox News typifies its spirit animal. And there is real deception.
Punditfact, the sister site of Politifact, has found that just 21% of the claims Fox pundits make are either “True” or “Mostly True”. Yikes.
Another 18% of claims are considered “Half True,” in which technically Fox pundits are correct, though they are likely drawing dubious conclusions from the information they are studying.
This leaves a whopping 61% of examined Fox pundit claims that have been labeled “Mostly False”, “False” or “Pants on Fire”. Clearly the turd mines are overflowing.
My first deconstruction today is a piece entitled “Five Myths about the House Freedom Caucus” by Adam Brandon.
“Few have been the victims of the misinformation mill as much as the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 conservative Republican lawmakers trying to actually do something meaningful in government,” writes Brandon. Go on.
“Myth 1: The “House Freedom Caucus is Trying to Shut Down the Government”.
“The Establishment’s favorite trick to increase the size and scope of government is to wait five minutes before a shutdown to present the House with a monster spending bill, and then demand that they vote for it — or else.” As if the House does nothing until that five-minute deadline.
The reality is that the House actually spends its time listening to the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), and thus fashions a bill impossible to pass against a veto from President Obama, and an override-proof Democratic minority. The actual legislating work is then dumped solely in the Senate’s lap, which is why “monster” spending bills and grand bargain-style deals are presented minutes before a shutdown.
If House Republicans had the temperamental aptitude to be able to compromise like Senate Republicans, last-second cliff-prevention politics would not be the habit of Congress.
“Myth 2: The House Freedom Caucus Is Hijacking Government”.
“Given an opportunity to support pro-growth economics, fiscal restraint and limits on the regulatory state, the HFC would not stand in the way of a well-functioning Congress.”
So basically the HFC would love to compromise in Congress if Congress does everything it wants.
“They’re [the HFC] not interested in hijacking anything,” Brandon writes, apparently forgetting that Speaker Boehner has been forced to resign, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been denied replacing him, and the HFC is far from sold on Representative Paul Ryan becoming Speaker.
“Myth 3: The House Freedom Caucus Is Only Interested in Attacking Obama”
“Its [the HFC’s] members don’t want to bloody Obama; they want to negotiate with him.” It does not take a Politifact research project to determine that this statement does not accurately reflect the last seven years of Republican politics. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader who Republicans love to hate for being too liberal, publicly admitted that his efforts were to ensure that President Obama would be a one-term failure.
“… [the] Republican leadership has been unwilling to send bills to the president’s desk if he even hints that he might veto them, and you have the most powerful lame duck in history.” With the current political calculus in Congress, Obama’s veto is a real and complete obstacle to passing laws that Democrats do not support. The fact that Congress has passed ANY budgets over the last seven years is an indication that Democrats had compromised with Republicans when they had majorities in Congress.
The second part of this quote is paradoxical: how can President Obama be a lame duck if he is so powerful? Fox ideas and statements can often be deconstructed internally and linguistically.
“Myth 4: The House Freedom Caucus Is Bad for the Party”.
“The Republican Party is going through some growing pains, to be sure, but the end result is that the Party will ultimately be stronger for it.”
Prior to the current Speaker of the House drama, Eric Cantor, the former Majority Leader in the House, was ousted himself by HFC member Dave Brat. For years, Republican primaries have been dominated by candidates railing against establishment Republican politicians, and the three leading Republican candidates today, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, have not a single day’s worth of political office between them. They are thriving against real Republican leaders, including sitting senators and former governors simply because they are not associated with Washington and actual governing. The Republican Party has effectively splintered into two separate, self-destructive parties.
This is no myth, and demographic trends are moving ever away from the increasingly polarizing and unpopular GOP. President Obama won two electoral landslides against Republicans, and it is hard to imagine that Republicans have done anything to convince Obama voters to change their political leanings.
“Myth 5: The House Freedom Caucus Is a Bunch of Right-Wing Marxists.”
This, I suppose, is a myth, but this insult is thrown by Republicans who do not have a good sense of political science. However, it is usually the Tea Party groups that the HFC represents in Congress that routinely accuse the Republican Establishment of being Democrats, Marxists and other conservative derogatory terms.
This article is pretty much a bad attempt for Fox News to defend the governmental dysfunction behind the team-killing HFC’s politics as a brave defense of freedom and representation.