I. Obama’s too moderate; Romney- too wishy-washy; CNN describes the Republican presidential nomination process as “slow burning.” More recently: moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine is not seeking re-election. She joins a list that includes Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and Evan Bayh. Moderatism is a problem, but so is partisanship. What’s really going on here?
There are two sides to the equation: 1.) Politicians are too moderate, and are unwilling to take a stand. 2.) American government is too partisan, both sides are driven by ideology, and this is the reason why nothing gets accomplished in Washington (note the assumption of the media: “nothing gets accomplished”). Obama was supposed to be the solution for problem #2, but he ended up being problem no.1.
II. Fox, HuffPo, NYT and CNN, which is which? Go:
1. “How partisan politics drove Olympia Snowe away”
2. “Snowe’s Exit Casts Spotlight on Divided Senate”
3. “Senator Olympia Snowe’s Latest Hard Choice – To Quit”
4. “[Name of analyst]: What Olympia Snowe and the Media Get Wrong About Polarization in American Politics”
The general narrative offered by mainstream media is: “Look, this moderate, level-headed politician is leaving because everyone else is too partisan.” (Perhaps an attempt to explain why Obama didn’t work out like we thought he would?) Then there are several variations on this narrative:
1. [no variation]
2. The institution of government isn’t working as it should
3. She is too moderate; there are too many moderates
4. She isn’t level-headed or moderate; the right is responsible for all partisanship
Politicians = too moderate. Politics = too partisan. Again, what’s going on here? What does the media want us to know? The above interpretations have an interesting implication: “Who do we blame for her departure?”
1. People within the government, and not the Senator
2. Institution of government is fine, but “politics” (partisanship) is the problem
3. The Senator, and not people within the government
4. The extreme right; the Senator was a conservative in moderate’s clothing (thus, she is implicated)
I have yet to resolve the question “what’s going on here?” So I’ll open it up to discussion. Go.