In response to the venerable Josh Marshall's post on the myth of Democrat support of Bush's '01 tax cut, Doctor Biobrain suggests:
We've got a problem. And that problem is that too many media types buy into the right-wing's rhetoric about Bush-hatred and anti-conservative bias. I'm not suggesting that they buy the whole thing, but they seem to believe that, at least on a certain level, it is true. So while they don't necessarily agree with every instance that the conservatives cite, they believe in it as a general truth.
And how does this apply in this case? Because media-types assume that there is an inherent anti-Bush bias on the part of Democrats, then it should be assumed that many Democrats will object to Bush's plan as a knee-jerk reaction, rather than as a well reasoned policy decision. And even that ties into the perception of liberals as "emotional" compared to the cold calculating conservatives. And for reasons beyond my comprehension, many liberals will happily adopt such meaningless stereotypes into their own mythology. E.g., the reason we want to help the poor is because we're softies, and the reason the conservatives want to screw the poor is because they're cold-blooded meanies. And they seem oblivious both to the logicalness of helping poor people and the emotional greed of screwing poor people.
And how does this apply in this case? Because media-types assume a certain emotional knee-jerk dislike of Bush's policy on the part of most Democrats, they essentially discount the opinion of those Democrats. If a Democrat opposes Bush's policy, it's not a policy dispute, it's a political attack. So basically, those Democrats don't count. And what that does is make it so any Democrat who does accept Bush's policy that much more important.
For example, as Josh pointed out of 211 Democrats in the House only 28 voted for Bush's 2001 tax cut, and of 50 Dems in the Senate only 12 voted for it. That's a combined total of 15.3% of Congressional Dems who voted for the tax cut. Yet, in Mr. Hiat's fevered imagination, 40 Democrats supporting a bill overrule the 221 who objected to it in terms of defining the party's attitude; so those 40 Dems apparently bound the entire party to those tax cuts and denies them the right to complain about it. Once upon a time, such a vote would only bound those who supported the cut, but now it bounds the entire party because that's the storyline the conservatives have fed to our pundit class. Hiat is also an idiot for suggesting at the end of his article that voters think they want privatization, but that's another issue. Maybe he's falling for the White House marketers theory that it's the label "privatization" that voters object to and not the idea of it.
And the problem is that Hiat and other media-types have bought into the conservative's storyline that some Dems are simply unreachable, so they don't count. So all the conservatives need to do is strip off a meager handful (such as 15.3%) of Dems to make things look bi-partisan. And even if you did confront guys like Hiat with the actual numbers, they might agree in the short-term, but still believe that on the whole their thesis is correct.
So what can we do? The best solution is to replace our current batch of media-types and bring in rational people who won't fall victim to the conservative's rhetoric. Short of that, we can just try to make sure that Congressional Dems always refuse to support any of Bush's policies. Not that this is a great solution as it the media-types will take it as more evidence of Democrat knee-jerk obstructionism, but there really isn't any other course of action. The conservative's storyline was very well constructed, with its inherent damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't quality. So I guess we're just back to getting a new media.
Moral: Demand a new batch of journalisms and pundits, preferably ones who aren't such schmucks.