Why the Media Meme of the Week Is Wrong

President Obama can chew gum while walking folks.

So, the media meme of the week is that President Obama is taking on some projects unrelated to the economy, while also dealing with the economic crisis. This has led House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), among others, to complain bitterly about extraneous policy initiatives.

Over the weekend, Cantor, responding to the president's new policy on stem-cell research, told CNN, "Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? This is job No. 1, let's focus on what needs to be done.... Let's take care of business first."

It prompted Ben Armbruster to raise an excellent observation.

Just in the first few months of the 111th Congress, Cantor has co-sponsored legislation that one might consider "distracting":

* H. Res. 204: Congratulating the American Dental Association for its 150th year of working to improve the public's oral health and promoting dentistry.

* H. Res. 18: A bill honoring the life, achievements and contributions of Paul Newman.

* H.R. 997: To declare English as the official language of the United States.

* H.R. 836: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the tax on beer to its pre-1991 level, and for other purposes.

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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