Fox News Hates the GOP
Although it is probably not that much of a secret to liberals who really pay attention and survey the entire political spectrum for all it’s worth, I’ve come to the conclusion that Fox News isn’t so much an arm of the Republican Party, it is a completely different animal that is crushing the life out of the GOP. Liberals assumed that Fox News was working with the GOP to shift the Overton window to the far right but it’s become evident that the GOP has been getting shoved through that window.
For those not interested in following the link above, from Wikipedia:
Overton described a method for moving that window, thereby including previously excluded ideas, while excluding previously acceptable ideas. The technique relies on people promoting ideas even less acceptable than the previous “outer fringe” ideas. That makes those old fringe ideas look less extreme, and thereby acceptable. The idea is that priming the public with fringe ideas intended to be and remain unacceptable, will make the real target ideas seem more acceptable by comparison.
I have to wonder how many conservative members of congress resent Fox News. Of course, I also have to wonder if they praise Fox News for doing the dirty work of shifting the Overton window further right for them since, perhaps, it’s what they genuinely want but are unwilling to put their careers on the line to do it. I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt and assume they want reasonable, center-right solutions to America’s problems. At the same time, I’ll give no quarter to some and say I’m sure those who are actively participating in the Fox News rhetoric on full blast such as Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sarah Palin are in love with Fox News and, especially, Glenn Beck.
Fox News has been behind much of the Tea Party rhetoric for the past year; Glenn Beck has become their poster boy. The misrepresentation of facts and outright lies that come out of Fox News are so extremely right-wing that the Overton window can’t help but shift sharply in their direction. As the most viewed cable news channel, they have a powerful soapbox to speak from and people will listen.
Fox News has made a habit of shouting down any dissent against their belief system or anyone who doesn’t tow the party line—anyone who disagrees simply gets their microphone turned off, gets shouted down, or gets their manhood cut off by people like Sean Hannity as his liberal counterpart and beard, Alan Colmnes, could testify. That is, of course, until they got rid of him.
The right has decided to cut off other dissenters as well. It seems that the Overton window has shifted, for the right at least—so far that it’s decided anyone who is an inch to the left of it, and especially anywhere near the center of political thought, is simply fired.
Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley (a forefather of the conservative movement), wrote a piece about the American Enterprise Institute’s firing of conservative and ex-Bush economic speechwriter David Frum. Frum was fired for writing a blog post on his website condemning the Republican Party for not working with the Democrats in the House and Senate on health care in the hope of crafting it more to their liking. Buckley writes:
Into the tempest-in-a-teapot caused by the firing of David Frum by the American Enterprise Institute, for the sin of bad-mouthing his fellow conservatives and Republicans over health care reform, let me tippy-toe to the teapot and drop in a few leaves.
Buckley likens David Frum to his father, in a way, saying that his father was open to different ideas and put forth intellectualism and genuine patriotism above partisanship.
The point — and yes, I suppose I ought to get to it — was that WFB was tolerant of different views. It wasn’t a case of Godfatherly “I keep my friends close, my enemies closer.” It was a case of intellectual security and self-confidence. He wasn’t worried that hanging out with the enemy was going to corrupt his principles.
Domestic adviser to Ronald Reagan, ex-Treasury secretary under President George H.W. Bush, historian and conservative, supply-side economics writer Bruce Bartlett was also fired for offering views different than the party line. He was fired by the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 and has found that “[t]he donor community is only interested in financing organizations that parrot the party line.”
I have always hoped that my experience was unique. But now I see that I was just the first to suffer from a closing of the conservative mind. Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn’t already.
The supposed big tent party that is the GOP has decided to close shop and go home with the few marbles it has left. It has either decided to join the Tea Party completely (it has been courting the Tea Party movement, trying to work together to beat the Democratic Party and its agenda) or is a victim of the Tea Party movement and its guiding light, Fox News. The GOP doesn’t welcome dissenting views any longer and some have gone as far as proposing purity and litmus tests before being accepted by the party for any nominations or election sponsorship. It isn’t simply the party of “No” in the House or Senate, it’s the party of “No” in every respect unless one adheres to a singular, puritanical point of view.
The Tea Party screeches that the Democratic Party is tearing down liberty, democracy and destroying the country yet its their party (Quinnipiac poll shows 74 percent of Tea Party members are are Republicans or independent voters leaning Republican) is shutting down intellectual discourse and espousing one party, totalitarian rule.
Fox News, the unofficial leader of the Tea Party, has been pushing the Overton window to the far right and the conservative party and think tanks have decided to follow in that wake. The problem is that while the Overton window has shifted for conservatives, the country as a whole is still sitting pretty at the central line, looking both amazed and disturbed at the antics the conservative party has decided to accept and praise. Polls are showing that the enthusiasm gap, which the Republican Party has dominated for the past year, is fading. Passage of health care reform is bringing normalcy to the electorate. The Tea Party is nowhere near the majority of the conservative movement but it’s become the overwhelming deciding factor of GOP policy.
Now that the GOP and conservative think tanks have bought into or fallen prey (take your pick) to the Tea Party and Fox News, what will it do? Will it continue siding with the angry and growingly violent right wing extremists? Will it continue to ignore calls for civility? Or will it finally see the light and learn to commit to bipartisanship and be a political party instead of a insurgent group?
The pathetic thing is that the conservative think tanks are being shoved through that Overton window and to their political deaths to the detriment of the entire country. In his blog post about Frum’s firing, Bartlett said:
[Frum] asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI “scholars” on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.