Democrat Edwards, Still Not a Liberal

Understatement of the week, from reporter Steven Weisman: "Still, not everyone in the [Democratic] party is a deficit hawk."

Steven Weisman's Tuesday "news analysis," "Democrats Face Limits In Reshaping Bush Budget," includes this wry bit of understatement: "Still, not everyone in the party is a deficit hawk. Among the 2008 presidential candidates, former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina has already said that he would defer the goal of a balanced budget to finance health, education and help for the poor. Other Democrats, including several in the Senate, may well have to follow suit."

In another word (though the Times is loathe to apply it to him), Edwards is a free-spending liberal. Edwards also said he would raise taxes on those making over $200,000 a yearto pay for health care for the uninsured.

"The box that the Democrats find themselves in is likely to remain a factor in their spending decisions this year.

"Even Senator Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and the biggest Cassandra in Congress about the perils of continued deficits, seemed to acknowledge that he had had trouble convincing even fellow Democrats of the urgency of the long-term fiscal problems."

This isn't the first instance the Times has sold Democrat Conrad as a "deficit hawk" - Robin Toner and David Rosenbaum did the same in April 2005.

As Times Watch pointed out at the time, while Conrad is not an arch-liberal, he is safely ensconced on the leftward end of the Senate spectrum, and this deficit hawk seems tolerant of borrowing for quite a lot of programs, including preserving military bases in his home state. Conrad also opposed the Farm Bill because it contained "cuts in funding for the crucial economic safety net for farmers."