Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our media: vindictive and smug

The vicious attacks be the left-leaning pundits and journalists has subsided, somewhat, thanks to Romney's increased traction and victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. Now, the same people that were jumping on any bit of news--however small--that would make people like Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, or Gingrich look silly, the same people whose animosity for the tea party crowd dripped from the corners of their mouths, have been magically transformed into thoughtful analysts, engaged in dispassionate assessments of Romney's chances going forward against Obama in the General Election.

On the flip side, the fanfare from the right-leaners that followed the spurts of growth in the support of the tea party "darlings" is gone. It's been replaced with antagonistic, spiteful attacks on Romney, dopey calls for his tax returns, and ill-conceived questions about capitalism.

That's what we get from our benighted gatekeepers of the truth. The left can't help itself; it's overcome with smugness, as it perceives a drop in fortunes of the tea party and the Christian Right. Plus, it get a candidate that speaks their language, the language of a northeastern elitist and the language of Wall Street, paradoxically. The right devolves into vindictive barbs, as various pundits realize there is an excellent chance they'll soon be eating crow and that the tea party movement can't--all by itself--overcome the obvious weaknesses of various candidates.

The last is a critical issue, something that most in the media--on the left and the right--fail to comprehend, for very different reasons.

The tea party, since its very inception, has been a localized, grass roots phenomenon. In the 2010 elections, the most plentiful gains by Republicans occurred--by far--at the sate and local levels. Largely ignored by the national press, the gains here were truly unprecedented. Gains in the House were significant, as well. But things didn't go nearly as well in Senate races. The one Senator who benefited the most from the tea party movement was probably Marco Rubio in Florida. Yet, he never proclaimed allegiance to the movement, merely sympathized with them and their concerns.

The attempts to usurp control of the tea party movement by national figures and organizations have all failed. Palin was--and is--the closest thing to a national leader, but she knows she cannot actually claim that mantle. And that's why the movement has failed to coalesce around a single candidate: it's a movement of individuals. Each tea party-type candidate has positions, ideas, or values that are not necessarily reflective of all members of the tea party.

Consider the social conservatism of someone like Santorum. Their are many people in the tea party movement that don't give a rats ass about some of his concerns, in this regard. In fact, many think he's completely wrong. Ron Paul--who is miles away from Santorum on such issues--appeals to such people. Thus, the movement is fractured in its support, as both claim allegiance, yet differ on core principals.

Most pundits on the right don't seem to understand this, probably because they have their own built in assumptions about conservatism in general and the tea party movement in particular.

Then there is the publicly avowed evangelicalism of a candidate like Perry. His staunchest supporters see that as a part of the tea party package, as essential to the movement. But again, many others in the movement--even some that are themselves evangelicals--disagree.

And the pundits on the left can't disengage themselves from this notion, at all. They take it as a given that tea party equals Christian Right, never mind all of the evidence--like Rubio's success--that says otherwise.

So here where are, heading into an election season with a media that is--by and large--devoid of critical thinkers, that falls all over itself in its pettiness. And that's a shame, since if things continue to go Romney's way, the race for the White House will be very interesting, even if Obama remains the odds on favorite.

Cheers, all.


  1. What substantive issues will make a Romney-Obama race interesting? Top marginal tax rate? How to fix RombamaCare? How soon to bomb Iran? Their top donors/financiers are even the same - banks.

  2. They'll both be forced to highlight points of divergence, Don. Look how much fun Bush-Kerry was. :)