Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Our Republican “Problem”

Did you see the recent article by Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of the libertarian Reason? Welch is upset that liberal “fact checkers” rarely check Barack Obama’s “facts.” And fail to do so, while claiming to be fact-driven.

Welch writes:
If there was one overarching journalistic theme of the 2012 election, it was the alleged Republican war on science, math, and basic facts, as called out by a newly emboldened political press. . . New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan in September [attacked] the “false balance” of “giving equal weight to both sides of a story, regardless of an established truth on one side.”
“Let’s Just Say it: Republicans Are the Problem” . . . was the headline on an April Washington Post op-ed piece by longtime Beltway think tankers Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, adapted from their book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. These Washington insiders, after decades of evenhanded analysis, had finally seen enough. “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics.”
And Mr. Welch, the surprise here is?  Shouldn’t we “Just Say it: Republicans Are the Problem”? The national elite knows Democratic-controlled government represents the best vehicle for imposing their intellectual will on America. If you believe in Plato’s Republic, if you believe our betters should rule over the rest of us--as do academics, BosWash high achievers, the media, Hollywood scriptwriters, lawyers, the non-profits, virtually the entire credentialed national elite--then of course you want Democrats to run the country.

In the elite’s view, the opposition--the productive economy, business--is busy trying to make money, money for themselves in excessive amounts. This is money that must continue flowing via taxes to the people trying to care for the “afflicted,” as in Chicago humorist Finley Peter Dunne’s (1867-1936), phrase "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Dunne’s words are the media’s (and Hollywood’s) unofficial motto. In their eyes, government rightly taxes the rich to support themselves and those working for the less fortunate (the Democratic coalition of government workers, unmarried women, minorities, and youth).

If you are fighting for bigger government on behalf of the afflicted, and your major tool is the mightier-than-the-sword pen, then of course, of course you are going to wield the pen to strike down the enemy, which cannot be allowed to win on your battlefield of the spoken, written, filmed word, the battlefield of research, writing, publishing. Imagine Republicans trying to refute your intellectual(ly superior) work?

So Mann and Ornstein, of “Republicans Are the Problem” fame, are also right when they say “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics.” Republicans are outside the national elite as currently constituted, and dedicated, though not as intensely as our elite is dedicated to defending the status-quo, to overthrowing the current established order. It’s “war by other means”.

Welch goes on to write:
At the end of November, “Politico” published an article about how progressive journalists, now that Obama was safely elected, were beginning to consider criticizing the president a bit more. “He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe,” New Yorker political columnist Hendrik Hertzberg said. “[But] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”
It was a remarkable admission of what many have long suspected: Portions of the press are in the tank for Democrats.
As “many have long suspected,” likely including Welch. But don’t count on the media to go after Obama in any meaningful way; Republicans remain the enemy.

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