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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/14/08

Pathetic Right-Wing Attempts To Spin '08 Election Results

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Message Jack Clark

So, what kind of post-election spin from the right have you heard?


Whatever the variety, their spin is designed to rev themselves up, and to demoralize us.


Won't work, I'm afraid.


Let's take three right-wing attempts to delude themselves.   


The most idiotic take I've heard is a repeat from prior presidential elections.  Right-wingers present a map of the US color-coded blue-red not by state, but by county.  The country is awash in red.


Tom Brokaw even was on the air talking about this.


Such a map is meaningless.  Sparsely populated counties voted for McCain.  There are a lot of square miles there.  But few people.  That's why McCain lost.   Few people.


What, is this Empty Acres for McCain?


Now, another doozy I've heard purports to tell us, that Obama's victory shows the public embraces right-wing policies.


This, amazingly enough, comes from people who mere days before, were warning the nation that Obama was espousing socialism.


Brent Bozell is the head of a right-wing media watchdog group called Accuracy in Media.   


A week before the election, Bozell said on Fox & Friends:


audio: Bozell

But when you go through the entirety of the campaign saying the kind of things that you're saying in the debates, where on, for every question, you've got a redistribution of wealth answer, where you've got socialism, where you've got the government controlling every aspect of life. You don't expect a reporter to ask you, "Is this socialism?" Because the media don't ask that question.

Ok, you'll recall that my entire last podcast before the election, was devoted to debunking that final right-wing attack line, that Obama plans to turn the country into a socialist state.


Yet listen to what Bozell said, three days after the election, on Fox News' America's Newsroom:


audio: Bozell

[T]he fascinating thing, Bill, is that Barack Obama ran as a Reaganite and won over the fiscal -- the public as a fiscal conservative. That's what the polling data shows…Barack Obama won as a conservative. That means that Barack Obama does not have the mandate to enact the left-wing agenda he wants to enact. He didn't run on it, he ran from it. So, this is not necessarily bad news for conservatives.

So, Obama ran as a Reaganite.  But I thought he ran as a socialist.  A Reagan socialist, perhaps?   No, no, of course, it's a socialist Reaganite…


Arguing that government must step in to strengthen the social safety net, that we must raise the taxes on the wealthy, those are certainly Reagan-like positions, huh?


The right-wing capacity for self-delusion is seemingly endless.


Okay, the third right-wing spin attempt, is to admit that Obama ran to the left and still won, but that the country remains a "center-right" nation.  That's the term du jour:  center-right.


Republican Senator Lindsay Graham told the Associated Press:  


I think this is a center-right nation. America did not wake up one day and become liberal…  

Wrong.  For a complete, detailed debunking of this, you should check out my three part series, called Reason To Cheer.  It's in podcasts 105, 106 and 108.


In short, several polls from major polling organizations show that Americans support progressive policies on most every economic and social justice issue, that our progressive majority is growing larger and larger, and, that increasingly left-leaning youth will turn the country increasingly progressive.


That last item was pretty prescient, huh?


What issues are these?  For starters, try the overall role of government, health care, taxes, and moral values.  Yes, moral values.


Majorities, sometimes even super-majorities of Americans, believe that:


--the government should provide more, not less services

--the government should guarantee health care for every American.

--the distribution of wealth in this country is unfairly concentrated

--the wealthy pay too little in taxes

--Democrats reflect the nation's moral values more than do Republicans


Gallup just found that 51% of the public wants to heavily tax the wealthy in order to redistribute wealth.  Two-thirds of the public supports a government guarantee of health care for every American.  


You may also run into right-wingers who are now bringing up a post-election poll that says Americans describe themselves as conservative, moderate and liberal in the same percentages as four years ago.  That would be 34% conservative, 44% moderate, and 22% liberal.


Part 2 of the series, addressed this very mystery, that if more than half, often two-thirds or more of Americans espouse progressive positions, shouldn't two-thirds or more of Americans describe themselves, given the choices liberal-moderate-conservative -- as liberal?


They should, but they don't.  Why not?


A couple of reasons, according to analyses and polls: the word liberal has become so demonized, that many people espousing progressive positions will instead call themselves moderates.  And perhaps the main reason, many self-described moderates and conservatives don't understand their positions are actually progressive, not moderate or conservative.


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This article is adapted from a segment of the weekly Blast the Right podcast. Jack Clark is a pseudonym for retired attorney Jerold Block, now working full-time to advance progressive causes.
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