Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet me in the Middle (sucker)

The political blogosphere exists today thanks to one factor. No, not the internet. That is simply the technology that allowed it to occur. The cause, instead, is the complete failure of the political pundit class. Sometimes referred to as the Gang of 500 by smarmy insiders like Mark Halperin, this group has failed to offer true and insightful analysis of events instead relying time and again on "both sides do it" so "the answer is in the middle" analysis.

You will never see a more stunning example of this kind of worthless analysis than in this article at the Wapo. h/t Instaputz

Read this line from the article:
Our guess is that Jones’ latter hypothesis is the right one — that we are simply living in an era in which Democrats dislike a Republican president (and Republicans dislike a Democratic one) even before the commander in chief has taken a single official action.

And then look at the chart accompanying the article.

Notice anything interesting?

If the analysis above were to accurate, we would assume that Democrats hating a Republican president before a single official action has been taken would mean that the first year of W would appear on that handy little chart. Oddly, it's not there. Instead, the W years that make the list are 4,5,6,7,8: the latter half of his presidency...long after he took many official actions, some of them like torturing prisoners, that deeply offended many Americans, not just Democrats.

OTOH, it's pretty clear the GOP hated Obama on day one and hasn't stopped since. In fact, this past weekend you even had Grover Norquist saying as soon as the GOP has control of the Senate, they will impeach him. There is no mention of what they will impeach him for. High crimes and misdemeanors are so 20th century thinking.

It is evidently clear that only one side of the political game is guilty of hate with no reason. But that does not fit the approved Gang of 500 narrative so it does not get reported. And even if some reporter did point out the obvious ("Hey, the current GOP Congress is abusing the filibuster in a way that has never been done in history" or "Democrats did disapprove of Bush but only after spending 3 years with him" or "The GOP wants to impeach Obama for breathing"), the GOP would point and scream bias until the reporter backed down. (Meanwhile, Politifact would rate the whole episode "half-true" and call it a millenium.)

Our media failed and continues to do so in spectacular ways. And I must admit I have a grudging admiration to the right for recognizing this fact and exploiting it for all it is worth. If the answer is always to be reported in the middle, you can easily drive the country to your philosphy by simply taking the most extreme position. It gets further exacerbated if the opposing side take reasonable "middle ground" positions and yet you call them "socialism" anyway. (Ex. A healthcare law that is entirely reliant on the private sector insurance companies (i.e. the capitalists) and yet is called a government takeover of medicine.)

The right is working the refs. They are doing it very well. And this is why only venture capitalists and the Wall Street boys can have nice things.

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