Saturday, November 15, 2008

Right-Wing Talking Point Following Obama Victory: America A "Center-Right Country"

In a panic following Barack Obama's victory, media conservatives such as Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are suddenly proclaiming that America is a "center-right country."

America has just elected a candidate who has been against the war in Iraq from the start, wants to extend health care for all, is determined to restore progressive taxation, upholds a woman's right to choose, supports stem cell research, wants Colombia to improve its human rights record prior to a trade agreement, is committed to alternative energy and advocates a greater role for diplomacy. 

It's fairly strange for O'Reilly and Limbaugh to immediately follow the victory of such a candidate with the conclusion that America is predominantly center-right, a view echoed by conservative commentators Bill Kristol and Karl Rove. Let's also not forget the drubbing the Republicans received in the House and Senate in both the 2006 and 2008 elections. What about Democratic gains among Hispanics, young people and independents? Then there's the growing political marginalization of the South. Shouldn't the discussion be whether there's a growing progressive trend in the country?

O'Reilly gave the latest right wing talking point on The Daily Show: "We're a center-right nation because we respect traditions in America." 

I believe that host John Stewart answered correctly: "The tradition in America is a progression of individual freedoms. You know what the tradition of America would say? Gay marriage is the next step in the progression. That's the tradition of America. You're misrepresenting the tradition. Your idea of the tradition is a mythological Ozzie-and-Harriet thing." Here's the dialogue on video:

Now listen to Rush Limbaugh state, "Obama, in the last three weeks of this campaign, was running as a conservative. Tell me the last liberal you ever heard promising a tax cut for 95 percent of the American people":

Limbaugh disingenuously skips one key point: Obama has also pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy, anathema to conservatives who seek to give the most economic benefits to those who need them the least.

The righties represented here loathe Obama's stances outlined above. So they seek to warn him not to do anything different from the Bush administration's failed policies. But it's not going to work. Obama clearly stated his positions and the American people voted him into office by a healthy margin. The American electorate is intelligent enough to realize that they weren't supporting a "center-right" platform.

No comments: