Which Party is Ideologically Extreme?

Memories

Donald Douglas brings up a book written by two “neutral and objective” journalists urging the press to stop being so darned balanced in their political reporting. You see, with ideological extremists like Republicans having any power at all in Washington, DC, balanced reporting is not called for.

The title of this post is taken from their first chapter, “The New Politics of Hostage Taking.” I’m not sure if I’m all that interested in reading the book. Sure, Mann and Ornstein are highly respected political scientists, and they’re not especially prone to partisan hackery (or they haven’t been previously), but when your main thesis is that the Republicans are the problem — that Republicans are extremist — then, well, I doubt you can claim scholarly objectivity. And frankly, the authors confess as much in their commentary at the Washington Post, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”  (Read More)

This is getting so old. Which party was it that passed wildly expensive and partisan legislation that angered a majority of those they’re supposed to represent? Heck, most Americans are still mad about it.

George W. Bush ran on a platform of “compassionate conservatism” and went on to expand Medicare and spend a boatload of money that only looks small when compared to the spending since he’s left office. More recently, the Republicans have caved on several issues including extending the payroll tax cut, keeping the low student loan rates that Democrats had previously legislated to increase, and extending the debt ceiling. President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees were both confirmed with little opposition. I’d hardly call that a history of hostage taking or rigid ideology. In all fairness, House Republicans have managed to pass a budget, which is something Senate Democrats can’t say.

But the left and their parrots in the media want us to believe that the Republicans are extreme. What was it that David Axelrod said the other day? Oh yeah, now I remember. He said the Republicans are in the “thralls of a reign of terror” from the Tea Party. We’re supposed to think that Axelrod - whose political career began through his association with communists - and his boss are just a couple of centrists with no ideology other than doing what’s best for the rest of us. Anyone sympathetic to, or associated with, the tea party is akin to a terrorist trying to take food away from babies and grandparents.

For the most part, the tea party advocates for fiscal restraint. What’s so extreme about that? Conservatives, as Jonah Goldberg pointed out, don’t try to hide their ideology. They aren’t afraid of being associated with balanced budgets and personal freedom. But those on the left want nothing more than to distance themselves from their own ideology. Remember when Hillary Clinton said she would classify herself more as a “progressive” than a “liberal” after “liberal” had turned into a dirty word and before “progressive” was equated with communism? They go out of their way to conceal who they really are.

One of the great differences between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives will freely admit that they have an ideology. We’re kind of dorks that way, squabbling over old texts like Dungeons and Dragons geeks, wearing ties with pictures of Adam Smith and Edmund Burke on them.

But mainstream liberals from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama — and the intellectuals and journalists who love them — often assert that they are simply dispassionate slaves to the facts; they are realists, pragmatists, empiricists. Liberals insist that they live right downtown in the “reality-based community,” and if only their Republican opponents weren’t so blinded by ideology and stupidity, then they could work with them.

This has been a theme of Obama’s presidency from the start. A couple of days before his inauguration,Obama proclaimed: “What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives — from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry” (an odd pronouncement, given that “bigoted” America had just elected its first black president).

In his inaugural address, he explained that “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.”

Whether the president who had to learn, in his own words, that there’s “no such thing” as shovel-ready projects — after blowing billions of stimulus dollars on them — is truly focused on “what works” is a subject for another day. But the phrase is a perfect example of the way liberals speak in code when they want to make an ideological argument without conceding that that is what they are doing.

Be sure to read the whole thing, the rest of the article notes how the left uses the same old tired cliches to try to get their point across and make their political opponents look bad. With the left’s use of cliches to win arguments there was enough material for Goldberg to write a whole book about it: The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. And when their cliches don’t work, usually because they’re in power and their policies stink, they resort to other things.

As for the Republicans, they don’t get any credit for compromising with the folks afraid to associate themselves with their own ideology, so they should just stop doing it and do what’s right. Who knows, maybe our children will thank them for it some day. I know, it’s hard with the Democrats and the media setting the narrative. (I know, I keep repeating myself.) But there’s new media today, and if they do the right thing we’ll be here help set a new narrative.

Update: Here’s a little more food for thought. How many times have Democrats caved to Republicans? When Republicans hold power they work with the Democrats and allow them to insert all kinds of crap (like allowing tax cuts to expire) so everyone can walk away with something to write home about. How often do Democrats holding power allow Republican input? It only happens when they have absolutely no other choice.

Update 2: Here’s the latest from the ideological extremists on the left. They’re projecting again.