Tag Archives: economy

My invitation to the right-wing media

If I was a Republican and sat and watched the absolute destruction of my fantastical dreams of defeating President Obama and overtaking the Senate, I’d be pretty angry at the media that sold me the faulty stories.

Last night when it was clear the president would win, I couldn’t help but turn the TV to Fox News. I needed to know how they’d take the news that everything they’ve been reporting was wrong. I watched as Karl Rove attempted to prove on a piece of paper that his Ohio math was more factual than the calculations of a roomful of number crunchers. This moment of disbelief in the real-world facts epitomized the last four years of the Republican Party and its Republican media machine–an entire industry based on gut and emotion instead of facts and data.

While us on the left visited RealClearPolitics.com daily and saw consistent Obama leads in all the swing states, including Florida at the end, those on the right obsessed over the gut feelings of Rove, who predicted, based on his experience with George W. Bush, that Mitt Romney would win. And the GOP media also focused on the predictions of pundit Michael Barone, who proudly wrote that Romney would win, 315-223–almost the exact opposite of math god Nate Silver at 538, who predicted a 313-223, Obama victory. (By the way Silver nailed each state in his final electoral map.)

If I was a Fox News watcher this morning, I wouldn’t trust a word coming out of any of the newscasters’ mouths from here on until they make a fundamental change in how they conduct business.

Some facts Fox News might need to fix immediately in order to save some credibility:

  • America likes Obama. His approval rating has been around 50 percent leading up to the end of his first term. Bill Clinton, before he was re-elected, had an approval rating hovering in the 40s with a low-point at 37 percent.
  • Obama’s healthcare plan is not a “government takeover.” It’s a practical plan based on the private markets. Simple. Basic. Capitalistic.
  • Most Americans believe in science. Man-caused climate change is real, not a theory.
  • Most Americans don’t blame Obama for the economy. Most of the blame still falls on President George W. Bush. Don’t get me wrong. The president still has the bulk of economic responsibility to get the country growing faster, but he was handed a really difficult task. Oh yeah, Congress is a bit responsible too since they pass the damn laws.
  • On the economy, it’s not as weak as Fox and right-wing pundits claim. Could it be growing faster? Yes. But is it growing? Yes, unlike the economies in Europe. The United States is no longer in a recession and not really a risk of falling into another one. If Obama and Congress do NOTHING the next four years, economists expect 12 million jobs to be added.

Most importantly though, last night proved one thing that I’ve been thinking for a while: Fox and right wingers continue to use “Americans” and “American people” to refer to the electorate. Romney would have won the election if Fox News’s America — white, middle-class men — would have been the only ones to vote. But that isn’t America anymore–Obama won with the lowest percentage of the white vote in the history of this country.

America is different now. America is darker. America also includes working women. It also includes a majority of people who support gay rights. America is like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago. It is not like Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Last night after the election was well over, I sent this tweet:

Republicans, the message is this: America has changed. We are minorities, women, gays, science believers. Adapt or be irrelevant.

The two-party system in this country is essential. Just like this country wouldn’t survive if we moved all the way to Ron Paul’s right, we wouldn’t survive if we moved all the way to MoveOn.org’s left. Ideological battles are necessary and helpful and keep the country on a healthy balance.

But the battles fought by the right-wing media the last four years was not a healthy one. It was a battle based on extreme ideology and an appeal to the basest of Republican thought. This must change.

Fox News employs the sensible Juan Williams. Maybe it’s time to give him a larger role. Maybe it’s time for them to say goodbye to their fear-mongers. Keep Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and we’ll keep Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are healthy for political dialogue. But do away with your demagogues: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove.

Join us, right wing. Join the fact-based world. Join the Americans who re-elected Obama. We need you. Your viewers and readers need you.

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Shucks, there goes the Republican economy argument

Just read this tonight in the NY Times:

The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.

The data comes from a Princeton University professor’s book called Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, which has just moved up to the top of my reading list.

Even more bothersome, the book reports, is that while the haves fared slightly better under Democrats, the have nots have fared much worse under Republicans (.43 percent of annual growth under the GOP v. 2.64 percent under Democrats).

It’s this type of information that really compels the Republican Party to abandon economic talk at its national convention and focus instead of issues of division (key words: elitist, small town, San Francisco). By focusing on these issues, and appointing a religious radical as his running mate, John McCain has evidently given up the campaign based on policy, and turned to the old Karl Rove strategy of confusing the voters so that they’ll vote against their own interests.

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