Monthly Archives: November 2012

Is Fox News Helping the Democrat Party?

There is an interesting Huffington Post article today (linked below) that suggests Fox News is doing the Republican Party a disservice by painting the GOP as a bunch of ignorant radical conservatives. Depending on your perspective, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I think Fox News has been making it easy for the Democrat Party to win over votes from people like me for a few years now. Like taking candy from a baby.

We’ve all been brainwashed to believe that the “conservatives” think MSNBC and CNN are mouthpieces for the “liberal” agenda while the “liberals” think the opposite about Fox News. Maybe these stereotypes are true, or maybe we think this as a result of good advertising. Just like Coke and Pepsi. Do we really know who decides how Fox and CNN are portrayed to their market audiences and whether a political party agenda is behind it at all? My guess is that it has nothing to do with pushing a political perspective but rather about showing content (which happens to be political) that draws consistent ratings,  just like any other television entertainment programming.

But let’s say for fun’s sake that it all really is about politics. That Fox really is the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and CNN really is the mouthpiece of the Democrat Party. If that is the case, the Democrats are winning. And Fox News is helping them.

When you wikipedia the Democrat Party, you see that most educated people who live in cities are generally thought to vote Democrat. Why are the educated people voting Democrat? You would think that educated people would probably be more likely to choose the party that favors a decentralized federal government, capitalism, and a focus on the economy and national defense. Especially when a Republican administration is more likely to leave the social issues to the states, effectively rendering irrelevant a stereotypical educated person’s conflicts with the GOP’s conservative stance on social issues. Or at least I, as an educated city person, even with my bleeding heart social views, think that the basics of the republican ideology make a lot more sense for me as a libertarian minded voter than do the democrat ideologies. But most of my peers do not, and it seems that the common perception of the Republican Party’s stance on social issues is to blame.

So who is to blame for the common perception that the Republican Party is for those with ultra conservative social views? The news networks. All of them.  Fox News most of all. When you really think about it, the obvious question must be raised: is it possible that Fox News could be the ingenious product of a Democrat Party think tank, meant to exaggerate and propagate negative stereotypes about the Republican Party?

“It is in the interest of the Democrats, not the Republicans, for there to be a loud, extremist, heavily white faction in the Republican Party, constantly pushing that party rightward. One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox which contributing to forcing him to the right during the primary season. Even after the primary season, when Fox became a big supporter for Romney, the rift between official editorial position and the political feelings of Fox viewers and hosts, was clear.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lincoln-mitchell/is-fox-even-helping-the-r_b_2210775.html

“Tea party activists blame losses on Republican establishment.” Headline from yesterday’s LA Times. Whether this is true or not, this is a widespread perception of the Tea Party, the idea that they are pure conservatives and that Mitt Romney was not conservative enough for them. That is why I think it would be next to impossible to convince my peer group of socially liberal economic conservatives that the Tea Party is the way to go. I can’t even convince them that the Republican Party is the way to go. If the GOP wants anything to change, they need to introduce a fresh face with a socially moderate agenda who can pull in the libertarian vote and the vote of the socially liberal economic conservatives who voted for Obama this time.

The Republicans need an answer to Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, someone who emphasizes that a Republican administration would leave these issues to the states and whose answers to their personal opinions on the social issues are not that far off from Obama’s. Someone who doesn’t wear pleated khakis and sweater vests. It may be a cold day in hell before we ever get a Republican candidate like that, but if it happened, I think the GOP would not only maintain their current support from the conservative right (who else are they going to vote for? the Democrat?), they would also gain the votes of a lot of libertarians, independents and moderates they didn’t have in 2012. Call me crazy, but we’ve tried everything else. Give us a Condoleezza Rice.

Angry Tea Party activists say Mitt Romney was too moderate and that the GOP undermined ‘true conservative’ candidates:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-tea-party-20121111,0,4516315.story

Condoleezza Rice: GOP sent ‘mixed messages:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83627.html

Give us a Condoleezza Rice

To the Tea Party:

I feel the need to follow up the original post with a clarification for those of you of the Tea Party inclination who found a lot of the stereotypes contained therein offensive or disheartening, at the least. The original post, “We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party,” was written for a very specific audience with a specific purpose and was not directed at the Tea Party in any way. I was speaking to the 20-40 something young professionals who are overeducated and cynical or naive enough to buy into or at least relate to the stereotypes of both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party described below. My purpose was to address their disillusionment with both political parties, identify the common values they generally share which are consistent with the core values of the Republican party, and emphasize that it is possible for us to mobilize and carry out a reformation of sorts as the Tea Party did with the result of uniting behind a Republican candidate in the next election.

When I referred to the Republican Party as holding ideals that are “bigoted, racist, sexist,” etc, I was speaking to the stereotypes perpetuated by the liberal news media platforms. Unfortunately, these stereotypes really have taken hold in the perspectives of a lot of my peers. I am not saying that this is right or that I think this way, but I am saying that this is a major problem that must be addressed to motivate this group of people to vote Republican in the future.

Please note that when I described this stereotype of the Republican Party, I was not referring to the Tea Party. The reference to the Tea Party in the title of the piece and in the final paragraph is meant to cite the Tea Party as an example of a group of people who were less than thrilled with what they were getting from the Republican Party and who therefore started and continue to maintain a movement of successful reform within the GOP. I am holding the Tea Party up as an example that such reform and rebranding can be successfully carried out.

You may ask why I do not urge my peers to join the Tea Party or other less well known libertarian or independent movements. I do not because the unfortunate stereotypes of the GOP have already stigmatized the Tea Party amongst this group of people, and I don’t have the idealism or energy to believe that it would be possible to pull a large enough chunk of Democrat or Republican leaning members of my peer group over to the libertarians to do anything other than take away important votes from a Republican candidate in 2016. I do think that the national news media political pundits have painted the Tea Party as extremists or as another version of the same negatively stereotyped Republican right. Although I do not hold that perspective, the audience I am trying to reach in the original post unfortunately does buy into this stereotype, mainly because they believe what they hear from the talking heads. The purpose of this blog is not to challenge these stereotyped perspectives but to bypass them entirely with the same ultimate goal.

I wrote this piece in direct reaction to my dismay with the results of the election on Tuesday night. I could not understand how so many of my peers could vote for Obama in the name of certain social issues when a semi-socialist Democrat administration would likely mean possible economic collapse or at least the continued growth of the federal government, something which I believe threatens the protection of those very “rights” with which they are so concerned.

Rather than exhausting myself and dying early from the stress of trying to convince my peers that the Tea Party is a cause they should join, I think the best way to motivate this group to the same ultimate end is to emulate the Tea Party’s successful model of reinventing and rebranding a type of Republican ideology that appeals to the more socially  liberal and economically conservative values of this group of people. There are a lot of ways to accomplish the same thing, and I think this is the best way to really cut to the heart of the matter with my peers.

We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party

Based on what I saw on the social media platforms, the political blogs and the “news” channels over the last year, this was the most hopeless, personal and divisive presidential race I have witnessed in my lifetime. It wasn’t just the far right and far left enthusiasts or the ignorant extremists trying to intellectually (and emotionally) destroy each other, it was my peers, the new wave of 20-40something year old young professionals who were not thrilled with either candidate, who were posting very personal, bitter content that was often more about hating one candidate than loving the other. We have a problem. This election wasn’t about personal or political beliefs coming to a head, it was about the fact that our generation, the new wave, the up and coming core of this country, who are just now realizing that the results of a presidential election affect our real lives, have been left staggering around blindly because we have no good options. To generalize, we are social liberals and economic conservatives without a party.

The Democrats look great on the social issues when compared to the Republicans whose idiots run around talking about legitimate rape, anti-marriage amendments, racial profiling immigration policies, employer limited contraceptives and women in binders. The Republicans look great on everything else when compared to the Democrats’ policies that have us at an alarmingly increasing 107% debt to GDP ratio and a budget that may never be balanced, where 47% of Americans pay no taxes, where 49% of Americans receive some sort of government assistance, where national bankruptcy and widespread poverty are knocking at our door, and where a centralized federal government increasingly regulates and takes power from the states, threatening the very liberties that the Democrats’ social policies favor right now. There is no good option.

As always, the talking heads on the major news media programs spent the election year gleefully splashing around in this giant kiddie pool of hot button issues, rousing both viewers’ emotions and national ratings while guiding a significant population of this country’s votes. A lot of us were so taken aback by the hideous things the talking heads told us were said on the Republican side of the fence that we considered voting Democrat just to oppose a party that is portrayed as a bunch of bigoted, sexist racists; we toyed with the question of whether a slick looking Harvard JD/MBA with a proven budget balancing talent from a party of bigots might be better than four more years of a Harvard JD who is a big government socialist at worst and an academician idealist (like many of us) with a mediocre plan for fixing the economy at best. If we went by the facebook posts from our friends and the email forwards from our grandparents, we had a choice between a homophobic, sexist elitist and the antichrist. We had no good option.

None of my friends who were thrilled with Obama the first time seemed to be so this time, but a lot of them chose to vote for him again either because of an inherent distrust of Romney or disgust with Romney’s stated personal beliefs about gay marriage or abortion/contraceptives. Most of my friends who voted for Romney were less vocal about it, seemingly almost embarrassed of their choice because of his and the Republican Party’s stance on the hot button issues, the same hot button issues that the talking heads splashed around in for a year, effectively polarizing the country (while achieving high ratings) and inciting voting patterns based on issues that should be mostly irrelevant at a federal level. Romney himself even repeatedly noted that although his beliefs on abortion, gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana, immigration, etc, were very conservative, they were issues that should generally be left to the states, not the federal government.  Obama more graciously noted his less conservatives stance on many of these issues, but he stood by the notion of a federal government which is big and powerful enough to start making those decisions for the states, as it has in the world of healthcare.

{I won’t even go down the healthcare reform path into the maze of my conflicting political and professional convictions; suffice it to say that I prefer that healthcare be left to the states, but we already have existing federal healthcare policies that needed massive reform, Obama was the first president to be able to pull that off, and while the vague and far reaching language in much of the Act scare me, I know that its passage was a tremendous achievement for the Obama administration and hopefully our country; despite my discomfort with big government, I hope that we are able to amend and further shape this Act into something that will actually benefit our country and save us from the previously inevitable decline into a scenario where the poor are denied even basic care and the rich can barely afford it. I just hope it accomplishes this (and more) without destroying our medical profession and bankrupting the system. Again, I get hives just entertaining the conflicting voices of the internal libertarian, lawyer and public health professional within me on this issue.}

So here we are, nursing our post-election hangover and idly scrolling through our facebook home feed, muttering expletives at the people who are still talking about the election, particularly the self righteous, whether gloaters or complainers. We are slightly jealous of our hard core friends who backed one candidate or the other to the point of religious zealotry; we wonder how they arrived at that point and whether they just ignored the facts, never knew the facts or allowed emotion to trump the facts. We wonder if this is just how American politics go, if this is how it has been for previous generations and if our helplessness induced apathy is just part of the deal. We wonder if it really even matters who gets elected, whether a different candidate would really make any different choices when presented with the top-secret facts about which we’ll never know and which we fantasize look something like Seasons 1 and 2 of 24.

This is a call to my peers. There is absolutely no reason for us to blindly stumble down this crusty, stale old path that has nothing to do with us. There is no other country in the world where personal liberties and freedoms are as protected as they are here. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY. We are the ones who are going to be left with this mess in 20 years if we don’t defend our interests now. If we try to vote independent or libertarian, our votes are wasted in this two party system. We need to reform one of the parties (or both) into something of which we are not ashamed.

I vote that we reform the Republican Party because I value decentralized government and individual freedom above all else. The problem with the Republican Party is the longstanding bigoted, racist, sexist old ideas that are used to motivate the older generation of conservative, religious right wing voters. I reject those ideas in the name of freedom and in the name of America. We are a country founded on the idea that all people are created equal, that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that government is created to secure those rights and derives its power from the consent of those whose rights it was created to protect. This is what America is about, and this is the purpose of the government.

Founded by anti-slavery activists, the Republican Party’s strength is sound economic theory, high value of the free market and individual achievement, strict construction of the Constitution, and the idea that a smaller federal government that gives more power to the states is one which best protects our freedom and allows us to flourish as a nation. The ultra socially conservative path that the Republican right has taken in recent years has alienated so many of our generation, evolving to the point that it has smothered this country’s and its own founding principles holding individual freedom and liberty above all else. I propose that we, the new wave of “moderates,” loosely defined as the socially liberal and economic conservatives, take back the Republican Party in the name of freedom.

The Tea Party was able to reform a portion of the Republican Party to fit its beliefs; they demanded what they wanted, and they got it. While our ideals are very different from theirs, we stand in the name of freedom, the founding principle of this country and of this party, and that is something that no American in their right mind can argue with. We believe in a decentralized government, one which allows us to determine by state the extent to which we will allow the state governments to regulate our bodies, our businesses, our right to bear arms, our right to marry who we want without government interference, our access to contraceptives, our taxes, and our public programs. Giving power to a federal government to impose regulations across our massively colorful and diverse population is insane. Even the EU knows better than that. We are the United States, and the principle upon which we came together was freedom from an overbearing government that interferers with our personal liberties. We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party.

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