Thursday, 26 April 2012


Ken Berwitz

In 2010, during the height of the so-called "Tea Party movement" (which, it should be noted, is far from over), several relatively moderate Republicans were defeated in primaries by more rightward opponents.  At that time media - reasonsably enough - characterized it as a Republican lurch to the right.  Most of those media also suggested that this rightward movement showed how marginal and out of touch the Republican Party had become.

Well, a funny thing happened in Pennsylvania two days ago.  Two relatively moderate Democrat house members, Jason Altmire and Tim Holden, were defeated in their primaries by appreciably more left wing opponents.  Most newspaper accounts suggest Mr. Altmire and Mr. Holden went down because they opposed ObamaCare, which enraged left wing activist groups enough so that they "worked" the districts and made sure Altmire and Holden were unseated.

Altmire and Holden were part of a dwindling group of moderate (not "conservative", as some media called them, but moderate) "Blue Dog Democrats":  i.e. Democrats who had not gone as far left as the rest of the party.  And they were both exorcised for their crime of staying somewhere near the center. 

Now there are even fewer Blue Dog Democrats....and the pressure is that much greater for what is left of them to roll over for the left wing, which has taken firm ownership of their party.

With this in mind, I ask you to think about the primary coverage you saw on Tuesday night, and all of yesterday.  Tell me:  Have you watched, heard or read any news features which, in any way, pointed to this as evidence that the Democrat Party has lurched leftward?  Have you come across any analyses which pointed out that, according to just about every poll, most people do not want ObamaCare, so Altmire and Holden were more in touch with the average person than their opponents or their overall party?  Or that this suggests Democrats are unduly influenced by/beholden to left wing activist groups (you might even call them the Democrats' Tea Party movement)? 

The closest I have seen is today's article in the New York Times, which quotes one Democrat county chairman as saying "...the Democratic Party became more liberal".  Thats it:  not leftward, just liberal.  The article, it should be noted, goes on to blame Altmire and Holden's defeat more on redistricting than the left wing/ crowd punishing them for the heresy of occasionally straying off the plantation.  I'm not buying.

It is getting harder and harder to remember when we had actual journalists, and serious investigative reporters willing to go in whichever direction the news led them.  

Too bad for them.  And, especially, too bad for us.

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