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

Jonathan Gruber raps to MIT students

If you’ve been dying to see Jonathan Gruber, who credited the “stupidity of the American voter” with passing Obamacare, strip down to his undershirt and rap about economics, today is your lucky day!

Stewart mocks the Iowa Freedom Summit

Jon Stewart’s coverage of the Iowa Freedom Summit is about what you would expect—starting with his description the event: “A lot of Republicans who will never be president met this weekend,” for the “Fox News correspondent auditions.”

McCain takes on 'Sniper' bashers

Sen. John McCain is the latest person in a position of prominence to defend "American Sniper" from bashers, singling out the "obsessive critics of U.S. foreign policy" in an official statement.

Michael Moore continues on about snipers

Filmmaker Michael Moore has already stirred the pot with his negative comments about military snipers. During the weekend, somebody must've given the man an even bigger ladle.

Dropkick Murphys 'literally hate' Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's abiding love for the Dropkick Murphys is not exactly mutual:

White House

VP Biden appears on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ to get ask young people to sign up for Obamacare
With three weeks to go until the Obamacare deadline to purchase insurance, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to encourage young people to sign up.  The renewed push included a stop by Vice President Joe Biden on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday so he could appeal to moms who are good at […]
Small drone crashes at White House complex, origin unclear
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small drone flying at low altitude crashed into the White House complex before dawn Monday, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama was not at home and the White House said it did not pose a security threat. The crash prompted an immediate lockdown of the White House grounds until officials […]
WH chief of staff blurts out previously-concealed name of American hostage on live TV

All in a day's work at the White House: sometimes you keep ISIS hostage names a secret, sometimes you let them slip in an in interview on national TV.

7 Times Obama was ‘Partisan,’ Not ‘Practical’ during his State of the Union address
Near the beginning of his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama promised to be “practical, not partisan” in his proposals to Congress. However, his speech ended up being anything but. From cracking jokes to outright veto threats, it was clear that the president had no interest in bipartisanship. So we decided to […]
Obama has been reminding Republicans ‘I won’ for 2,189 days

President Obama trotted out one of his favorite talking points against Republicans yet again Tuesday night, reminding the opposition party that "I won."

Congress

Boehner and McConnell critique SOTU

“Dead. Real dead.” That was House Speaker John Boehner’s verdict on President Obama’s tax proposals--and nearly every proposal from his State of the Union address, with the exception of cybersecurity, fighting ISIS, trade, and possibly the childcare tax credit.

Senate surpasses its 2014 vote total in a week
Is this what the Senate looks like without Harry Reid in charge? The new Republican-led Senate has already voted on more amendments in just one week than the Democratic-controlled Senate voted on in all of 2014. “We’ve actually reached a milestone here that I think is noteworthy for the Senate. We just cast our 15th roll-call vote […]
Whistleblowers denounce DOJ juvenile program

According to whistleblower reports, a Justice Department (DOJ) juvenile delinquency program provided grants to states jailing foster children and runaways over minor offenses like skipping school.

Gohmert: Obama 'divisive on the issue of race'

There’s a reason reporters clamored around former-House-Speaker-candidate Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) at the State of the Union like this:

Rand Paul slams SOTU’s ‘lack of sincerity’ on NSA

Senator Rand Paul spent Wednesday morning blasting Obama’s State of the Union address, telling a roomful of conservatives at the Capitol Hill Club that “Some of the stuff, frankly, was difficult to even listen to and keep a straight face.”