Turn on your supporters, you Democrats and Pharisees!

FAIR highlights a column by Fareed Zakaria arguing that pensions for state employees around the country are so insanely high that they threaten to bankrupt the country (FAIR and this article point out flaws in his logic). Zakaria’s conclusion is that Dems should stop supporting the public sector unions (note by the way that this includes firefighters, police and teachers. Firefighters and police used to be heroes to conservatives until the current anti-union wave hit the right wing and turned them into leeches sucking off honest taxpayers) even though the unions are part of the Dem base: “Public-sector unions are strong supporters of the Democratic Party, so their clout has drowned out the voices of the poor, the young, students and average citizens. That is why real credit for courage should go to those few Democrats who are taking on these issues, even at the cost of losing support from one of their key constituencies.”
The link above does a good job ripping into Zakaria’s financial analysis, so I’ll touch on another angle: How really unlikely it is that Zakaria or anyone else would make that argument about Republicans.
I don’t see columns stating “Religious conservatives are strong supporters of the Republican Party so their clout has drowned out the voices of women and gays.” And then going on to praise the Repubs who don’t side with them (of course, my eyes aren’t everywhere, so feel free to point out if you see an example) It’s taken as a given that Republicans rely on religious conservatives to keep them in office and that therefore they have to dance to the right-wing tune.
Not so with Democrats: The media often assert that Democrats must stand up to “the base” and prove that they put the good of the country higher than mere politics. The media lauded Clinton for his “Sister Souljah” moment for criticizing black activist and hip-hop artist Sister Souljah after she suggested “a week of killing white people” as an alternative to black on black violence. When Obama took office and liberals pushed against one nominee for CIA director (who’d been involved in Bush-era torture) there were columns demanding he stand up to the base and go ahead. I’ve yet to see articles calling on Bush in his day or Romney now to stand up to their base and support gay marriage (or at least refuse to support an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment) for the good of the country.
I’m not quite sure why this is. I doubt it’s because the media particularly side with the religious right, so is it because they’re trying for “balance” to prove they’re not the liberals the right-wing keeps insisting? Because they identify with the DC establishment, and liberals are seen as more destabilizing? Because they’re not personally threatened by the right wing’s agenda (national pundits, I imagine, can afford birth control, fly out of the country for abortions, and probably have no trouble finding unrestricted sex with either gender if they want it)?
Either way, it’s a bias to keep in mind when you encounter columns such as Zakaria’s.

1 Comment

Filed under economics, Politics

One response to “Turn on your supporters, you Democrats and Pharisees!

  1. Pingback: Shots at pundits other than David Brooks (among other things) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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