Going to Extremes

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

In a conference call last week, reporters overheard Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) rehearsing budget talking points with party colleagues: “I always use the word ‘extreme.’ That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.” In prepared remarks yesterday, Majority Leader Reid was not subtle about sticking to the script:

— “The Tea Party is trying to push through its extreme social agenda.”

— “This is an extreme agenda that has no place in this bill.”

— “This isn’t the time — and we don’t have the time — to fight over the Tea Party’s extreme social agenda.”

Other Democrats have also been following their talking points. Some recent examples from the Congressional Record:

— Sen. Pat Leahy (Vt.): House Republicans are “reacting to the ire of a minority of vocal, anti-government extremists.”

— Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.): “We do not have to yield to the extremists on the Republican side in the House who do not want to see any compromise whatsoever.”

#more#— Rep. Russ Carnahan (Mo.): “The Republican extreme cuts are not the solution.”

— Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.): “I rise today because in a few short days, this body will consider an extreme and devastating anti-choice bill.”

— Rep. James McGovern (Mass.): “That budget takes extreme, right-wing trickle-down economics to new levels.” Also: “Mr. Speaker, it’s time that the Republican party does the right thing for its country and not just for the extremist wing of its party.”

— Rep. James Moran (Va.): “Take up the Moran-Tester bill instead of this expression of ideological extremism that is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

— Rep. David Price (N.C.): “Republicans may be willing to risk a governmental shutdown to appease extremist elements, but we cannot allow our country to be held hostage to their radical agenda.”

— Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.): Republican measures are “controversial cuts and ideologically extreme poison pills that the majority knows the nation doesn’t want and the Senate and the president will not support.”