Conservative Definition of “Liberal”

Mitch McConnellSuzy Khimm over at WonkBlog reports that Harry Reid read an Ornstein and Mann OpEd on the floor of the Senate this morning. It was about Republican obstruction in Congress. You know: the kind of thing that no serious person could contest.

But that doesn’t mean a silly (or evil) person couldn’t contest it! Mitch McConnell was having none of this talk of Republican obstruction. What he said really struck me, because it encapsalates the conservative mindset:

The reason I’m having a hard time restraining my laughter—I know Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann. They’re ultraliberals.

Needless to say, Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann are not ultraliberals. Ornstein, for example, is a Republican who works at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. They are centrists, even by the highly conservative American political scale. By international standards, they both skew very conservative. But this is how conservatives of the Mitch McConnell kind think: if you aren’t a conservative extremist, you are a liberal. I first noticed this in conservative claims that the media were liberal. This amazed me until I realized that by “liberal” they meant “not conservative.”

Once you understand this, everything else falls in place. So sure, Ornstein and Mann are ultraliberals. They must be! They’re not Nazis.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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