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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From the Claremont Institute: Conservatives blame Republicans for losing Congress. Are they right?

BY CHARLES R. KESLER @ Opinion Journal.


  • I know that most Conservatives, myself included, were angry at and frustrated with the extent to which the Republican majority abandoned the Conservative principles we voted for them to follow. However, I do not believe many Conservatives therefore voted Democrat nor that a great many Conservatives therefore failed to show up at the polls.

    Instead, I believe that it was the constant drumbeat of negativism from the MSM that resulted in the Democrats regaining control of Congress. Since the ‘disputed’ elections of 2000, and even back to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, the American people have been subjected to a constant barrage of outrage, negativity and criticism from the MSM about anything and everything the Republicans did, did not do, proposed to do or did not propose to do.

    Try to think of an exception. Try to count how many times the MSM cast a Republican performance or initiative in a positive light. The improving economy? No subsequent terrorist attacks on American soil since 2001? Free elections in Iraq? For that matter, try to think of a single negative incident which did not serve as an opportunity to blame President Bush and the Republicans. Gas prices up? Gas prices down? The one week quagmire on the road to Baghdad? The weather? When were the Republicans ever right about anything? Every night people went home after work and/or settled down after putting the kids to bed and saw, heard or read how bad things are, how bad they are, how bad their leaders are and how bad their country is.

    The MSM threw so much excrement on the wall that even if none of it stuck the foul stench lingered on. It went well beyond ‘where there’s smoke there must be fire’. Any fire became irrelevant and it was the smoke itself that became intolerable. It was the acrid smelling smoke of hostility, of malaise, and of white American guilt. How else to vote under such circumstances? How else to disassociate oneself from culpability other than to throw the rascals out?

    The consequence of the Conservative disallusionment with the Republicans was not to change the Conservative vote nor to keep Conservatives from the polls. It was to minimize the extent to which Conservatives were motivated to defend the Republicans from the excesses of the MSM leading up to the elections. We weren’t all that pleased with them either.

    This will remain the dirty little secret of 2006. Nobody can or will talk about it. The MSM will have to do their gloating in private. To pronounce it publicly would be to admit to the very bias they so blatantly employed and still persist in denying. Their self importance has been confirmed and they have set the country back on the right track. They do not believe that to be opinion, just fact. They are compassionate, they are caring, their intentions are good and honorable and they just know they are right.

    Democrats won’t say it. They are fat, dumb and happy now and looking forward to regaining the White House as well in 2008. They are not about to do or say anything that would indicate it was not them nor their agenda, whatever that now turns out to be, nor their ideology that brought them success. They now presume a mandate to be their own Liberal selves even though many of them ran to the right to get elected and the rest dare not claim to be Liberal publicly least that vast majority of the American people they tell us agree with them react otherwise.

    Most of all, the Republicans will not say it. For them to do so would just be to invite more of the same. The MSM would rear up on its relative moral high horse and berate them as poor losers who can not admit to nor take responsibility for their own mistakes. Even privately, Republicans will be loath to admit it because we want to believe that the power of the MSM has been diminished. It has not. The MSM just stuck it up our collective derrières to prove otherwise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 PM  

  • Excellent comment anotmo. I, too, as a conservative felt the frustration of our failed leadership to carry out a conservative agenda and felt helpless as I watched what I thought was a tidal wave coming towards us with the Dems riding the crest.

    The results were bad ...could have been worse ... but bad enough.

    Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the constant drumbeat of negativity from the press took its' toll on the American people. I am curious however.

    You mentioned Conservatives did not (in your humble opinion) vote Democrat, nor did they stay home, away from the polls. What happened then? (Aside from the negative press.)Somebody had to bail on the Republicans .... if not the Conservatives. Just curious what your thoughts were on this point.

    Your average six-pack Joe and your single mom still get their news from the old MSM. Television viewers and newspaper readers still make up a very large portion of the American electorate. Their propaganda is still very powerful, unfortunately.

    By Blogger HeavyHanded, at 5:03 PM  

  • I think several things happened as a consequence of the MSM’s anti-Republican campaign.

    The first is that the Democrat base was unusually energized by it and flocked to the polls in greater than average numbers. (Are there any statistics by which to test that idea?)

    The second is that the Moderates, Independents and Centrists, (MICs?) responded to it by voting Democrat more than usual.

    (An interesting group these MICs. I always wondered how politicians, such as but not limited to Hillary, could periodically take currently popular positions completely at odds with their history yet still get people to change their minds about them. Who were these people that could be so easily swayed by recent and empty rhetoric? I now think they were and are the MICs. They are not really very interested in politics but they do take their civic responsibility of voting quite seriously. They claim no firm party affiliation and seek to cast their vote based on something more substantive, (they ‘vote for the candidate not the party’). Therefore, while they do not usually pay all that much attention to politics, they wake up leading up to elections. In that way, they are more influenced by what the various candidates are then saying about matters then urgent than they are by what those candidates may have said or done in the past about those or other matters.)

    Finally, I suspect that some who call themselves ‘Conservatives’ and support the Republican Party are being disingenuous about that in the same way that so many more who call themselves ‘Liberals’ and support the Democrat Party are being disingenuous. Their support for a particular political party is not sustained by ideology so much as it is by association. That political party is ‘their’ political party and they want it to win much the same way, say, a Steelers fan wants the Steelers to win. They don’t really care if they do it by good defense, good offense, good special teams, passing, running. raising taxes, lowering taxes, foreign relations, et. al. just as long as their ‘team’ wins and they can then bask in whatever reflected glory that affords them. Such ‘Conservatives’ may well have stayed home on election day or even ‘crossed over’ with useless, counterproductive protest votes. What sports fan has not walked away from the TV when their team is performing poorly or even rooted for the opposition in hopes that a loss would wake up the GM to shake up the roster or coaching staff? And let us not forget that ‘fan’ derives from ‘fanatic’.

    I see more of this sort of thing in the Democrat Party than I do in the Republican Party. That is why Bill Clinton can take post-administration credit for Republican initiatives like welfare reform and not upset his supporters while George Bush endures public criticism from his supporters when he strays off the path. The problem, of course, is that sports do not really matter while elections do and conduct appropriate to the former are death to the latter.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 PM  

  • Yeh, okay. I think we are pretty much on the same page here. I am in complete agreement with your "MIC" theory.

    These folks, I believe, are quite susceptible to a candidate's last minute pandering (and to the press and network news) as well as being susceptible to the politician who is adept at the art of political triangulation. They don't pay enough attention, nor long enough to see the flip-flopping which is taking place. Their attention span is probably limited to the last 60 days before the election.

    By Blogger HeavyHanded, at 11:43 PM  

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