Eric Boehlert wrote a great article over at Media Matters the other day, Are Media Crowning Jeb Bush A “Moderate,” The Same Way They Promoted George W Bush As A “Compassionate Conservative”? As everyone should know, Jeb Bush is extremely conservative. You might even call him a fascist — I certainly do. But Boehlert links to many in the “liberal media” who are all on about what a “moderate” Bush is and how he plans to run as a “centrist.” If Bush is a moderate and a centrist, then those words have no meaning.
This is entirely by design of the American conservative movement. The idea is to push totally loony ideas so that their normal — extremely conservative — ideas are seen as “moderate” and “reasonable.” A competent press would not allow this kind of “working the refers” and allowing expectations to be so badly distorted. The situation is such that there is no substantive difference between the conservative freaks and the conservative establishment. It is all about style. When it comes down to it, Bush is a “moderate” because he talks nice. Louie Gohmert is a “freak” because he doesn’t.
But it wouldn’t matter which man lived in the White House. They both would appoint judges that would repeal Roe v Wade. They both would sign budgets that cut food stamps for the poor and lowered taxes on the rich. And they would both be itching to go to war with any of “those people.” For the majority of Americans, there should be no difference between these men. But because of what the mainstream media think, Bush is an acceptable candidate and Gohmert is not.
Of course, for well established reasons, the Democrats do not do the same thing on the left. This is especially interesting, considering that economic populism is extremely popular — on both the left and the right. But as a result, the effective hard left in this nation is just standard policy — stuff that is to the right of what Democrats believed in the 1940s. And that means that the media have no problem assigning someone like Elizabeth Warren as an extremist, even though there aren’t many voters in the United States who would disagree with her economic agenda.
The conservatives can be taken seriously while pushing an extremely unpopular economic vision. The only problem that they face is that they’ve developed a base that doesn’t much care about the policy. And for good reason! Does some retired truck driver really care about cutting the corporate tax rate? No. He’s not a conservative for the reasons that the elites are. He’s a conservative because he’s mad as hell. And the conservative movement has a very simple and compelling narrative to explain why his life has been so unfulfilling: “those people.” You name it: minorities, feminists, environmentalists, socialists, young people, Hollywood, college professors. This guy will accept George Bush but what he wants is the red meat that spews out of Louie Gohmert’s mouth.
If it weren’t for the Louie Gohmerts of the Republican Party, it is quite possible that our retired truck driver would not vote for Jeb Bush and the seemingly endless stream of Republican establishment-bots like him. He might even be open to the economic agenda of Elizabeth Warren. But that can’t be allowed to happen! It is frightening to the power elite. And so the establishment in both parties sees that it doesn’t happen.
You may remember the wars in Nineteen Eighty-Four. They are constantly going on and the sides are all equally matched. So no country ever gets much of an advantage. And they are only fighting over a small bit of useless land anyway. This reminds me of how the Democrats and Republicans compete. At this point, they are really only fighting over social issues. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the working class does anywhere for mediocre to poor. And the power elite just get richer and more powerful.
Assuming this is not a conspiracy, then the people we have to blame are those in the mainstream media. They are the ones who define the far left as anything a Democrat (And many a Republican!) ever proposed before 1992. And they only define the far right as people who push fascist ideas using the wrong words. Fascist ideas that are well spoken are “center right” and “moderate.” The problem is not our politicians. It is our media. And that means it is us. Because we are the ones who keep listening to this claptrap.