The wire service Agence France-Presse found the president bristling with action: "Obama also highlighted his audacious $3.55-trillion budget plan for 2010, which bristles with economic reforms and spending on healthcare, climate change and education in a bid to end America's worst economic crisis since the 1930s."
Then there was The Washington Post, the industry leader in budget salesmanship. In a front-page story, editor Karen DeYoung oozed Obama's withdrawal plan from Iraq came "just a day after he transformed the domestic political landscape with a breathtakingly bold budget plan." Two pages later, reporter Alec MacGillis somehow left out a cheerleader's purse full of exclamation points in a story on Vice President Biden's middle-class task force: "Commentators left and right have reacted with awe to the ambition and transformative potential of President Obama's economic blueprint."
Commentators on the right reacted with awe? Only at the shameless boosterism of the leg-tingling Obama press corps.
Later came a front-page Post story by Philip Rucker, which began, "President Obama's budget is so ambitious, with vast new spending on health care, energy independence, and services for veterans, that experts say he will need to hire tens of thousands of government workers to realize his goals." The Heritage Foundation suggests it means a (SET ITAL) quarter of a million new bureaucrats (END ITAL) for the federal establishment.
As an adjective, "ambitious" is meant to be a positive word. But George Bush's toppling of Saddam Hussein was "ambitious," and the media didn't applaud its scope. In fact, they paraded the liberals around arguing the Iraq war was unsustainably swelling the deficit. The late Tim Russert pressed Bush in February of 2004: "How, why, as a fiscal conservative as you like to call yourself, would you allow a $500-billion deficit and this kind of deficit disaster?"
Today, a $500-billion deficit would sound like progress. Obama's budget aspires to reduce the projected 2009 deficit of $1.75 trillion by more than two-thirds, to $533 billion, by the end of his first term -- which, if successful, would make it worse than the worst performance by President Bush.
It should be laughable for the White House to promote a "fiscal responsibility summit" days after they shoved through a $787-billion "stimulus" bill through Congress. But the gooey flood of positive adjectives from the press demonstrates that they are not government watchdogs. They're "breathtakingly bold" Obama enablers. The honesty deficit in our press just grows, and grows.