Washington Post Gets It Wrong Even When It Gets It Right

Leave it to the WaPo to reguritate conventional wisdom about the Democrats and/or Kerry. The conventional Washington widom these days is that Democrats have no new ideas. Finally, Michael Grunwald points out that 1994 and the GOP Contract With America was:

the annunciation moment for the Church of New Ideas, alleged proof that a bold agenda can turn the partisan tide. In recent months, as Reid and Pelosi repeatedly delayed the rollout of their new strategy, pundits repeatedly contrasted their bumbling with the GOP’s mobilization behind the Contract With America. But Republican leaders did not formally unveil the contract until late September 1994, and even then it was only a House of Representatives strategy; the GOP took back the Senate without it.”

“New” is always overrated in politics. The New Deal had its roots in the Progressive Era; the New Frontier had its roots in the New Deal. The ideas in the Contract With America seemed new only after four decades of Democratic control of the House: term limits, balanced budgets, open government and “the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public’s money.”

Of course, Republican rule has not brought about term limits. The budget is less balanced than ever; the government is bigger and less open than ever; Congress is mired in a new cycle of scandal and disgrace.”

OK so at least the WaPo recongized this and that “much of the REAL SECURITY platform does echo the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who stood silently in the back of Wednesday’s event like one of those Easter Island statues”

Ah, but forget about giving Kerry or any other 2004 Democrat not from “red” America credit for these measures on national security.

“But the downfall of the Kerry campaign was its candidate, not its ideas; Democrats with similar ideas ran far ahead of Kerry down ballot in GOP-leaning states like Colorado and Kentucky. Bush’s approval ratings were below 50 percent in 2004, but he successfully created a “choice election” that was as much about his opponent’s flip-flops as his own record. As a presidential candidate, Kerry could not avoid the spotlight, and his tendency to straddle issues was on full display. The Republicans will surely try to make 2006 another “choice election….”

Let us count the errors of the WaPo’s ways:
1) According to the last poll taken by the WaPo before the election (10-17-20 of 2004) Bush had an approval rating of 50%, disapproval of 46%. CNN exit poll of voters put Bush’s approval at 54%. Forget about misquoting Kerry, the post can’t even quote its own polls correctly.

2) Isn’t the whole part of every election with at least two major parties to have a “choice” election?

3) In Colorado Democrats did manage to pick up a Senate seat- while Kerry managed to win 47% of the vote- a greater percent of the Colorado for any Democrat since Truman in 1948 (with the obvious exception of LBJ in the blowout election of 1964).
In Kentucky the Democrats tried to unseat a GOP candidate whose mental stability was questionable-and failed.

4) “Kerry could not avoid the spotlight.” Pardon me folks, but isn’t it kind of counterintuitive for the nominee of a major party candidate to avoid the media spotlight? If I was ever nominated for president I’d want to be in the spotlight so much that the public forgot the name of my opponent.

Finally, where was the WaPo, and a lot of MSM outlets, in 2004 when Kerry was making some of the exact same points Kerry is making today? Wait, now I remember: They were busy promoting the image of Bush as a resolute leader taking the fight to the terrorists before the terrorists took the fight to us. 9/11 Commission Report? What 9/11 Commission report?

“What does Senator Kerry mean when he says that the brave, consistent Bush people are not defending America.”

As for Kerry’s flip-flopping what can we say? Media myths sure die hard, and journalists keep falling for the “Democrats are flip-floppers” charge every time the GOP makes it-regardless of who the Democrat candidate is.

Well, at least the WaPo for once didn’t run with the “Democrats have no ideas” or “the people rejected the Democrat ideas.”

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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12 Responses to Washington Post Gets It Wrong Even When It Gets It Right

  1. I sent an email to Grunwald. He must have been reading the Dem Daily, because he sure as seems to have ripped off a line from my post on the Dem’s plan:

    Mr Grunwald,

    Have you been reading The Democratic Daily? I read your line on how the Democrats national security plan “does echo” John Kerry’s plan and realized it was nearly verbatim what I wrote the day the plan was released:

    Much of the plan echoes positions put forward previously by the Democrats and by their 2004 presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry. – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=2452

    And much of the REAL SECURITY platform does echo the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/01/AR2006040100002.html

  2. Nick says:

    Pamela

    To use a phrase from my much younger days-You go girl!

    Oh man. First the WaPo can’t quote it’s own polls correctly, now it’s ripping off blogs! Oh well, if your gonna rip off, rip off from the best blogs around.

  3. Marjorie G says:

    I remember seeing on Book TV once that Contract “on” America was recycled Southern Confederacy platform. Catering to their base and bigotry, everything old is new again.

  4. Nice post Nick.

    What a total mindless ass Grunwald is. Another typical MSM parrot. If they didn’t have RNC talking points, they’d be mutes. And yet they think they’re clever, informed and have the “inside scoop”.

    None of them are much better than the poster boy of mindless parroting, over inflated ego and lack of brain stem activity: Tweety Matthews.

  5. Nick

    Some blogs have been watching the MSM for this type of rip-off. Raw Story recently caught AP a couple of times and AP refused to credit them.

    I read that quote over a couple of times when checking your post and realized it was near to verbatim what I said.

  6. pen says:

    Get him Pamela. The prick gets paid all this money and instead of doing his own research he has to raid someone else’s work. I guess the GOP hasn’t been sending out their talking points to the media as much recently since wapo is raiding the blogsphere.

    If he was going to use your quote he should have acknowledge and paid you for it.

  7. Ron Chusid says:

    “Democrats with similar ideas ran far ahead of Kerry down ballot in GOP-leaning states like Colorado and Kentucky.”

    Some major problems with this logic. Many of the Democrats running in red states ran on more conservative platforms than the national party.

    Even if there is someone who one in a red state on Kerry’s ideas, it was still Kerry who was under constant attack from the right wing noise machine. Many people didn’t vote against Kerry because of what he actually said or believed, but what the Republican Noise Machine reported he said.

    And what’s this flip-flop nonsense. Bush flip flopped many times. It is a common Rove technique to attack the opponent’s strengths, plus a common GOP tactic to make such false claims of flip flops. Kerry has showed few changes in position over his career, and when he has it has been reasonable (such as taking a second look at the effects of NAFTA, or being more open to the death penalty for terrorists after 9/11).

  8. Nick says:

    Dave

    I know exactly what you mean. Reading Grunwald’s piece you almost get the feeling that after realizing that the GOP Contract ON America was recycled right-wing hooey, he figured he better please his masters…. or else! How does he do this? Cheap shots at Democrats from blue states should do the trick.

    As for Tweety, it still amazes me anybody takes this guy seriously. “the poster boy of mindless parroting, over inflated ego and lack of brain stem activity” sums him up beautifully. (Though I think Joe Klein is a somewhat close second in this category).

  9. Nick says:

    Marjorie

    IF I was gonna bumper sticker the Contract ON America, “recycled Southern Confederacy platform” would probably be it. Over the past four decades the GOP had been southernized. The GOP has won the South- and is losing everything else. The number of non-southern Democrat Congressmen and Senators went UP in 2004.
    Meanwhile, the South (11 Old Conferedacy plus Kentucky and Oklahoma) voted 168-0 for Bush in electoral votes- the rest of America voted for Kerry in EV 252-118! HTe nonsouth casts 70% of the votes in 2004. The total popular vote in the nonsouth: Kerry 51.1%, Bush 47.7%.
    The total popular vote in the South:
    Bush 57.3%, Kerry 42.0%.
    Something tells me this is all not just coincidence. What do you folks think?

  10. battlebob says:

    Nick,
    Interesting stats on the South vs. Non-South. I like your earlier summation; let the south leave the Union; and take Dumbo with them.

    I wonder how the immigration thing will play out?

  11. Nick says:

    Thanks battlebob

    I’m wondering about immigration too. Frankly, I don’t see how this in any way helps the GOP in winning more Hispanic votes-assuming the GOP goal is to increase their vote totals among Hispanics.
    Those exit polls were a bunch of bunk. Sure Dumbo got 45% of the Hispanic vote-and I own as much real estate in NYC as Donald Trump! It’s virtually impossible for Bush to have gotten any more than 40% of the Hispanic vote. I trust the non-partisan Wiliam C. Velasquez Institute (www.wcvi.org). They’ve been right in the past, and they say that where Gore beat Bush 62%-35% among Hispanics, Kerry beat Bush 64%-35% among Hispanics.
    I wonder if the GOP believes the WCVI numbers? If they do, maybe they’ve just given up on the Hispanic vote for now. It suere would explain the support Tom Tancredo is getting from a lot of conservatives in and out of Congress.

  12. battlebob says:

    Nick,
    Actually, most Repub strategy reports I get are emixed;
    Some seem to think Dumbo actually got 45% and are happy with their increasing support and decreasing Dem report.
    Some like Kyl think the Repub inroads are bunk and see a good reason Latinos as it seems to be pleasing the right wingnuts.