|Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'|
Friday, May 14, 2010
If you want to claim everything stemming from the Western Enlightenment tradition as “progressive” you’re free to do so. But analytically, where does that get you? By this logic we’re all progressives—and by all, I mean conservatives, libertarians, Bolsheviks, liberals, anarchists, and Maoists—because we’re not Medievalists. But if progressive is to mean something more concrete and specific—say, the ideas associated with the New Republic, Herbert Croly, Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, and the administration of Woodrow Wilson—then Scott’s use of “progressive” is almost meaningless.
What makes the "Neutral Story Line" not neutral at all is that the media seems most interested, each cycle, in the "Neutral Story Li9ne" that hurts the Republicans more. For instance, the amount of money flowing into elections became a more and more intense problem as more and more money flowed to Republicans, putting Democrats at a disadvantage. The supposedly Neutral Story Line doesn't really seem all that Neutral when you consider that there's-too-much-money-in-politics reached its crisis stage during Bush's 2004 election, when he spent more money than anyone in history, but suddenly wasn't a problem at all when Obama topped him in 2008. This despite the fact that Bush actually had a higher percentage of small-money donors than Obama (as a percentage of total money donated), and Obama had a bigger percentage of high-dollar donors.
The media loves these story lines, because facially they appear neutral -- "money in politics is a danger" has no on-its-face, explicit partisan import -- but the timing of when to deploy a particular story line is highly partisan, and always made with the Democratic Party's best interests in mind.
Thus, when Bush refused the campaign spending limits, and spent only private money, it was nearly a constitutional crisis; when Obama did the same, it was a triumph of people-powered politics.
Are conspiracy theories bad? Well, right now, when the Republican base is vulnerable to buying into conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace or sabotaged deep-drilling oil rigs, conspiracy theories are bad, and examples of the Paranoid Style of American Politics.
On the other hand, when former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright confessed to Mort Kondracke she feared Bush had actually captured bin Ladin and was secretly holding him only to publicize his capture on the eve of the 2004 elections, a party's trafficking in conspiracy theories wasn't even worth noting.
Certainly such conspiracy theories weren't worth noting when Bush and Cheney (and their deadly cabal) were accused of sabotaging a plane in order to murder a sitting and popular liberal US Senator.