The mainstream media has perpetuated a sacred narrative that we are expected to buy into unconditionally and without exception: Conservatives — and by proxy the GOP presidential candidates — are extremists who must come to the middle to court the coveted moderates if we want any chance of winning in 2012.
The mythology we are made to believe tells us that we as conservatives must tone it down. We ought to take a few steps to the left and move closer to the voice of reason — the Democratic Party and the gods of liberalism. They are, after all, the moderate ones, the levelheaded ones, the centrist ones. One problem with the mythology of the mainstream media: it’s just that, a baseless myth.
Euhemerus, an ancient Greek mythographer, suggested that myths began as distorted historical accounts of real events. Through continually articulating the imaginative re-writing of history, the myth is accepted as truth and the actors in them elevated to the status of gods.
The mainstream media has taken on the role of mythmaker. They repeatedly color events in such a way that paints the liberals as logical and conservatives as extreme. No matter how far left the Democratic Party moves or how outrageous their rhetoric becomes, they will remain the gods of reason and commonsense. And regardless of how rational conservatives are, the Republican Party will be dubbed the god of extremism and bigotry.
But let me challenge the mythmakers of the mainstream media with something they avoid like the plague: the truth.
An article in the Economist last week dubbed the GOP field as “cranky, extreme, backward-looking, detached from the mainstream,” and thereby “unelectable.” This is nothing new — all part of driving forward the myth. But the truth? If the Democrats don’t tone it down and move to the center, they are the ones at risk of losing the White House.
Take a look at some of the less-than-moderate statements the Democrats have made over the last few months.
On October 27, Obama said this to students at University of Colorado-Denver:
We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will. We’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress.
And he has done just that with the unconstitutional recess appointments of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three new appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.
I’m pretty sure discounting the Constitution and completely ignoring one branch of government will not fly very well with the beloved moderates.
Better come back to the middle, Obama.
In a rare moment of brilliance last month, Majority Leader Harry Reid said this on job creation:
Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They’re impossible to find and don’t exist.
Not sure what to label this statement if not “extreme.” Perhaps “false” would be another accurate description. (Paul Roderick Gregory of Forbes does an in-depth analysis of Reid’s fuzzy, imprecise calculations here.)
It’s no secret that Obama has been revving up the class warfare rhetoric over the last few months, too. In Cincinnati on September 22, the president said:
Now, the Republicans, when I talked about this earlier in the week, they said, well, this is class warfare. You know what, if asking a billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what, I’m a warrior for the middle class.
With more than half of Americans, 52 percent to be exact, thinking it’s wrong to consider America as divided into “haves” and “have nots,” differentiating Americans based on class and pitting one class against another might just backfire. This seems like something the moderates might have a hard time swallowing.
And then there was the particularly insightful statement from Rep. Barney Frank Thursday on Rachel Maddow’s show. Speaking on the topic of the massive defense cuts, Frank commented:
Militaries are not the place you go when you want good things to happen. Militaries stop bad things. They don’t start up good things or bring on good things, particularly in foreign societies.
Last time I checked the fall of Adolf Hitler was not just “stopping a bad thing,” it was a good thing. Saying that militaries don’t do good things could dissuade some moderate military families from voting Democrat. Watch it, Barney.
And let’s not forget the centrist, moderate words of Maxine Waters, now subject to an ethics investigation, last August:
The Tea Party can go straight to hell.
If only the GOP could be as centrist and moderate as their counterparts.
Statements like these either go unreported or are heavily distorted by the mythmaker media. Why? Because they do not fit the sacred narrative.
Lucky for us, we as American voters have the power to dispel the grand myth we are force-fed. We can start by recognizing the truth you’ll rarely hear when you turn on the TV or radio or open a newspaper — Democrats better tone it down, or they risk losing the moderates in 2012 and losing the White House.