The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election still not a win for the right

Before the election was over-- but by the time it had become clear that Democrats were the big winners-- some conservative pundits had already hit upon a way to claim that black was white. As I've noted several times over the last few days, it was to claim that the Democrats who won weren't really Democrats at all, but conservatives.

As perhaps the least ridiculous way to claim a loss as a win, it was obviously going to be the rationalization for conservative talking heads. Just as inevitable was that lazy and/or inept reporters dutifully pass it on as the truth. But it's still nonsense.

On Thursday, the New York Times' David Brooks wrote, in a column titled "The Middle Muscles In," that in Tuesday's elections "voters kicked out Republicans but did not swing to the left. For the most part they exchanged moderate Republicans for conservative Democrats." He's not the only one to make a similar argument -- indeed, the meme that by delivering the Democrats the majority in both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years voters somehow were trying to elect conservatives has been bouncing all over the media, spread mostly by people with an interest in seeing their own views, whether centrist or conservative, confirmed. (. . .)

Media Matters for America, the liberal press watchdog, has already documented the political proclivities of 27 of the new Democrats in Congress; MMA restricted its analysis to those who defeated incumbent Republicans or took over open seats previously held by Republicans. It found: "All 27 candidates support raising the minimum wage. All 27 candidates advocate changing course in Iraq. All 27 candidates oppose efforts to privatize Social Security. Only two of the 27 candidates do not support embryonic stem cell research. Only five of the 27 candidates describe themselves as 'pro-life.'"