The 2014 '30 Under 30'

Congrats to this year's 30 -- check out the full list here!

Post-Lugar loss, how long can media continue its GOP “extremist” meme?

Almost immediately after his primary challenger, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated six-term Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary, Democrats denounced the election as yet another example of an “extremist-fringe” take-over of the GOP.

It’s a charge that’s now all too familiar.

Republicans have been branded extremists by a desperate opposition on just about every political issue since 2009.  The name calling reached its height right around the time all those “extremist” Tea-Partiers were handing the GOP a 63-seat gain in the U.S. House and a six-seat gain in the Senate.  The constituents of recent Tea Party- backed candidates like Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla), Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), Sen. Rand Paul (W.V.), and Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) must not have gotten the “fringe” candidate memo.

It seems relevant that the huge gains in 2010 came immediately after two years of entirely uninhibited Democratic dominance in Congress.  If electoral outcomes count for anything, it appears “right-wing extremism” is more popular than whatever the Democrats were doing at the time.
Just as they misjudged and mischaracterized their opposition in 2010, liberals are imagining things if they believe that Mourdock is out of step with the Indiana electorate.  He’s twice won in statewide elections against a Democratic opponent.   In 2010, he was re-elected State Treasurer with 62 percent of the vote.  In 2006, a terrible electoral year for Republicans, Mourdock won 52 percent.  Not too bad for an “out-of-touch fanatic.”

Moreover, Lugar’s loss was hardly the work of a well-organized fringe group.  Lugar was decisively defeated, losing by over 130,000 votes (about 20 percent of the total vote).  Despite Lugar’s stature, it’s not hard to understand how voters might be skeptical of re-electing a Senator who hasn’t actually maintained a residence within their state since Jimmy Carter was President.

At the national level, the extremism talking-point looks just as silly.  Neutral commentators acknowledge that the Obama campaign will have a tough time convincing Americans that Mitt Romney, a candidate conservatives and the Tea Party only recently begrudgingly endorsed, is too “extreme” to be elected.

Tellingly, most Democrats seem more than willing to ignore the exodus of moderate members within their own ranks.  The past two years have been brutal for Blue Dogs, as moderate-to-conservative House Democrats have been retiring or losing primaries in droves.  The Blue Dogs who lost re-election in 2010 don’t blame their constituents for their demise; they blame the unpopular policy decisions of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

At the end of the day, the American electorate, of which 40 percent self-identifies as “conservative,” gets to decide who is too “extreme” for their tastes, not liberal politicians and commentators.  If voters weren’t buying the extremism charge in 2010, it’s hard to imagine they will this November.

 

Comments

Polititainment

The royal photobomb and selfie

The selfie epidemic has officially gone royal.

Miller wants Obama to go on long vacay

President Barack Obama hopes to "be on a beach somewhere drinking out of a coconut" in 2017. Comedian Dennis Miller wants him there now.

Daily Show on ACA madness: blame Boehner

May Jon Stewart's viewership not be goldfish in remembering the full breadth of the Affordable Care Act saga. "A mediocre Scrabble hand" is but a flash point in a much larger and difficult game.

Stewart challenges McCain to 'wrong-off'
  Sen. John McCain and The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart have engaged themselves in a televised media war. McCain recently appeared on Media Buzz where he was asked if he believes Stewart is fair to Republicans. Stewart used this clip in his monologue Tuesday night and replied to the question with “does the Pope sh*t […]
Long-shot for House may be on reality TV

Nick Di Iorio may have to settle for the TV screen instead of the U.S. House floor.

White House

Polls: Obama White House incompetent at managing, worse than Darth Vader

The job of the administrative branch is to, well, administer the laws. According to a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, most Americans think that the Obama administration is failing dismally at the task.

Obama wants ‘idealism and optimism’ for millennials in face of Congressional ‘crisis,’ refuses to recognize he is part of the problem
Now that “hope and change” seems to be played out, President Barack Obama has come up with a new catchphrase for millennials – “idealism and optimism.” In a speech at a Democratic National Convention fundraiser in Seattle, Wash. Tuesday night, Obama asked young people not to give up their natural idealism and optimism because of […]
President Obama admits he does not watch the news

During a speech during a Democratic National Committee event in Seattle, Washington Tuesday night, President Obama confessed that he doesn't watch the news. Throughout the speech, Obama predictably complained about the incompetence of our "broken" Congress and urged his liberal audience to get enthusiastic about voting for Democrats in the midterm elections this fall.

Congress and the President actually take action, Obama says ‘it’s so much fun’
“Girls just want to have fun,” Cyndi Lauper belts in her famous song. Apparently President Barack Obama wants to join her. “Let’s do this more often. It’s so much fun,” Obama said at a bill signing on Tuesday. Obama gathered in White House with members of Congress to sign the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This […]
Josh Earnest criticizes negative story for quoting anonymous sources, forgets the White House is always quoted anonymously

When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took a potshot at anonymous sources during a Monday briefing, he probably should have picked a meeker reporter.

Congress

Paul Ryan unveils new anti-poverty agenda

In another example of the Republican Party expanding its policy tent, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a new poverty-fighting agenda Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.

Cruz to Reid: Leave Ritz-Carlton, go to Border
After President Obama turned him down, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) invited Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to join him at the border.  In response to Reid’s recent claim that the border is secure, Cruz said on Fox News Sunday that Reid’s perspective is skewed because he “lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C.” “I would invite […]
Graham: Immigration reform crucial for 2016
Immigration reform will be crucial to the 2016 presidential election, at least one Republican senator believes. Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press’” with David Gregory Sunday morning to discuss foreign policy and the border crisis. “Senator, the crisis on the border, immigration reform. This is an international problem. But it’s also a big […]
Cruz: Obama loves to blame problems on Bush
Why won’t President Barack Obama and Congress work to end Obama’s push for amnesty at the border? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) believes the reason stems back to the Bush era. Cruz’s argument is that Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is the reason for the surge of child immigrants from Central America seeking illegal entry into […]
Rand Paul wants to see minimum wage be 'temporary'
Sen. Ran Paul has a very different take on minimum wage from the Obamas, a point of detraction he made clear Saturday at the Reboot conference for libertarians and conservatives in the tech sector. Unlike President Barack Obama, who wants to see the minimum wage raised nationwide so people can live permanently on it, Paul argues […]