The Oklahoman editorial page continues to use false comparisons to attack Democrats.
On Feb. 1, I published a post criticizing an editorial that absurdly compared the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans four years ago to the country’s response to the recent Haiti earthquake.
The editorial’s point was that President Barack Obama was doing as bad of a job rescuing Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, as former President George Bush did trying to rescue New Orleans. The main message of the editorial was to criticize Obama when, in fact, the two events are remarkably different. The Haiti situation is much worse, New Orleans is a major American city and there is not a large group of people criticizing the country’s overall response to Haiti like what happened with the federal government’s response to New Orleans.
This week, The Oklahoman editorial page, a propaganda arm of the GOP, used another false comparison (“Food Fight: Grocery tax appeal impractical, costly,” February 15, 2010) to criticize a Democrat. State Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, a Durant Democrat, earned the wrath of The Oklahoman for sponsoring a bill to end the sales tax on groceries because, well, it’s sort of like “fighting battles in the culture war.”
Here’s the gist from the editorial:
We’ve criticized Republican lawmakers who are obsessed with fighting battles in the culture war rather than attending to the people’s urgent business. Equally deserving of criticism is state Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, and most members of the Senate Finance Committee for voting to repeal the sales tax on groceries.
How in the world is criticizing right-wing religious legislation put forth in the past by, say, state Rep. Sally Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican, the same as criticizing taxation legislation that has bi-partisan support? The bill passed out of committee wouldn’t even take effect unless state revenues exceed 2008 levels plus 10 percent. Gumm and the committee are well aware of the impact of the tax repeal.
The Oklahoman even admits it has supported the tax repeal in the past.
Repeal of the grocery tax – something we’ve supported in the past – is a fine idea but hardly practical. It could only work by offsetting the fiscal impact through raising other taxes. Some smaller cities would effectively become wards of the state. In those cities, the sales tax is the only form of revenue and the tax on food is the main source of sales tax revenue.
Yes, the money would have to be offset somehow, as the newspaper argues, but that still doesn’t make the idea bad, and, again, the bill is not going into effect anytime soon, even if it passes and is signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry. Most people think it’s important for legislators to discuss taxation issues.
The point here is that the newspaper, again, tries to conflate the “mistakes” of Republicans with the “mistakes” of Democrats with false comparisons, and it does so only to score political points, which is exactly what the newspaper implies about Gumm. The editorial is self-reflexive; it’s about itself.