With Congress in recess, things are kind of slow this week. So when I ran across a Bloomberg op-ed with exaggerated attacks on the Tea Party, and two typical Think Progress blog posts, I thought I’d have a little fun taking them down.
First, the Bloomberg piece. The author’s basic thesis is that the Tea Party is going to shut down Congress, and it’s only the extremist, “virginal” Republican conservatives who are winning in Senate Republican primaries. She cites the Texas run-off election, the Connecticut Senate race, and the Nebraska and Indiana Senate races. Of course, she seems to forget that Rep. Akin (R-MO) — no moderate or liberal, but not backed by the Tea Party or Sarah Palin, either — won the Republican Senate primary in Missouri. Did she miss Senator Hatch’s (R-UT) victory, or former Senator George Allen’s in Virginia? I guess she must have missed those races as well.
Of course, the author’s summary of criticisms against former Rep. Chris Shays in Connecticut and David Dewhurst in Texas is pretty simple — they reached across the aisle! They associated with leadership! Never mind that Dewhurst was bashed for being part of a corrupt system in Texas, and for supporting amnesty and a wage tax. Also, never mind that the author’s “across the aisle” example for Shays was campaign-finance reform…meaning she thinks it’s a good idea to support a candidate who voted at least once for a very unconstitutional law.
Onto Think Progress. They say Rep. Akin has a long history of “extremist, inflammatory” positions, mostly on issues related to homosexual marriage and related issues. However, they also bash him for thinking the 17th Amendment should be repealed and for opposing Medicare; for wanting to leave the United Nations; and for saying the student loan debate is part of America’s decline to “stage three cancer of socialism.”
Only one problem with these criticisms: Akin’s views pretty much line up with conservative philosophies and principles. Which means Akin isn’t extreme. Rather, Think Progress is either so liberal or so intellectually dishonest its writers refuse to admit what conservative philosophies actually are. It would be like me saying liberals who want to raise taxes are extreme — their position is flat-out wrong, but it’s well within the principles of their movement.
In their other blog post, Think Progress bashes the Chairman of the RNC for calling Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) a liar over his Romney tax comments. From the post, with the second emphasis added (Think Progress added the first bolded section):
PRIEBUS: As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar, who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself, complains about people with money, but lives in the Ritz-Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. The fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is just ridiculous.
Assuming Priebus meant to say that Reid has not publicly released his tax returns, it is worth noting that given the level of the office, most successful presidential nominees have released their tax returns since the 1970s. The same tradition does not apply to those in Congress and Reid has never been a presidential candidate.
Reid, citing an anonymous source, claimed this week that Romney may not have paid any taxes for 10 years.
On Friday, Romney himself dismissed Reid’s attacks, lamenting the tone of the campaign. He said “I had hoped it would be a debate about the direction of the country. What we’re seeing instead is one attack after the other — misleading, false attacks.”
I have to ask — does anyone actually think Priebus was talking about Reid being a liar over his tax returns? ‘Cause I sure don’t. I think he was talking about the unsourced accusation that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.
The ironic thing about these disparate examples of liberal overreaction is simply that: overreaction. Most conservatives don’t call liberals “extreme” for wanting to raise taxes, or for believing in global warming or a larger federal government. We recognize that these positions are, depending on their scale, within the mainstream political debate necessary in a thriving republic. Just because someone is wrong does not make them extreme, yet that is what liberals seem keen on doing to the reputation of anyone to the right of Senator John McCain (R-AZ).