Streetcar Line

Out of the Mainstream

Media myths and misses.

By 5.2.07

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Memo to the self-proclaimed "mainstream media":

Point 1: You actually aren't in the American mainstream. The American mainstream is miles to the right of you politically, and in a different universe from you culturally.

Point 2: Religious faith is not a strange affliction; it's an essential component of (and an indicator of) a healthy outlook on life.

Point 3: The U.S. Constitution isn't an exposition of what ought to be law, but of what is law. It is not prescriptive, but descriptive. If you believe the Constitution ought to protect a "right," that doesn't mean that the Constitution does protect that "right." It just means that you have the opportunity in a free society to work through the political process to protect that right either by statute or, if and only if you formally amend the Constitution, via language in the Constitution itself.

Point 4: Ordinary Americans may not be sure whether or not the American effort in Iraq is already "lost," but they strongly want to believe that it is still winnable. Unlike you, they think that Americans really are the "good guys" over there, whether or not we "win." And unlike you, they do not think that we somehow earned or deserve the terrorists' ire.

Point 5: Most Americans think that if Western Europe dislikes us, that is a sign not that the United States or its current administration is wrongheaded, but that Western Europe is wrongheaded. In fact, even those ordinary Americans who think that the current administration is wrongheaded still believe that Western Europe is asinine for not liking us.

Point 6: President Bush did not "lie" to get us into war in Iraq. I challenge anybody to prove that he "lied." A lie is not merely a statement that turns out not to be accurate; it is a statement that the speaker himself knows is inaccurate. There is no evidence, none whatsoever, that President Bush believed anything other than exactly what he told the American people in the months leading up to the war. And if you say that Bush "lied" without being able to show evidence that he intentionally misled us all...well, then, you, yourself, are a liar.

Point 7: There was no unanimity or even broad agreement between the American left and right on how to conduct the Cold War. The left furiously opposed all the policies that ended up winning the Cold War. And, contrary to revisionist history, the left never believed that the Soviet Union would collapse of its own weight anyway. Instead, the left consistently said that the Soviets were too strong ever to be defeated or to fall apart, and that therefore the only way to deal with them was to reach an accommodation with them, by convincing them that we could no longer be a threat to them, so as to make them stop being nasty to us. Strength, not accommodation, won the Cold War. And those lessons are applicable in the war against Islamic terrorists.

Point 8: By every traditional measurement, the U.S. economy is not just strong, but stunningly strong. And it has been strong since well before the 2004 election.

Point 9: Tax cuts, by definition, do not "give" money to the rich. The government doesn't own the money to "give" it out. The people who earn the money own the money. Government merely decides how much of it to take, to confiscate, for other purposes. Any money that the government does not take in taxes is not money the government has given; it is money the government has not taken.

Point 10: The economy began strengthening immediately after the 2003 tax cuts. Government revenues began growing strongly right after those tax cuts, just as conservatives predicted, and have continued to grow at record levels since. And taxes paid (as opposed to tax rates) grew more progressive, not less, after those tax cuts, just as they have done after almost every tax cut for the past 50 years.

Point 11: Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass murder. The question is not whether or not he had them -- they were documented numerous times in the 1990s -- but what happened to them. Did they just get degraded? Were they destroyed? Were they lost? Were they moved to Syria? Those are the questions to which nobody knows the answers. But it is an absolute, incontrovertible, documented fact that he had them.

Point 12: The Supreme Court did not "award" the 2000 election to George W. Bush, and its main decision was not made by a 5-4 split. A consortium of every major news outlet in the country conducted its own recount of the Florida ballots and found that under every legal approach advocated by the Gore campaign, Bush won. Moreover, the decision itself on the overall legal issue in Bush v. Gore was handed down by a 7-2 majority; it was merely the remedy that was decided by a 5-4 split. Absent that remedy, a) the counting under the standards proposed by Gore would have given Bush the win; b) the alternative constitutional means of letting Congress decide would have given Bush the win; c) the other alternative constitutional means would have left it to the Florida governor to determine which Florida slate of electors was the official one, which would have given Bush the win.

Point 13: The majority of the charges leveled by the Swift Boat vets against John Kerry were not disproved. In fact, most of them were never answered. At least a couple of them are incontrovertibly true.

Point 14: The 1988 campaign of the elder Bush did not run a TV ad with the photo of Willie Horton. (An independent effort did.) And it was not Republicans who first raised the issue, nor was it used as a proxy for race. It was reporters (non-conservative ones) for the Lawrence Eagle Tribune who broke the story, and it was Al Gore who first used it against Michael Dukakis.

Point 15: Most Google searches trying to find examples of respected conservatives calling liberals or Democrats "unpatriotic" or "un-American" would be fruitless. But examples of leading Democrats calling Republicans or conservatives "un-American" are multitudinous.

Point 16: President Bush and his official spokesmen have used language far less nasty toward their Democratic opponents than President Clinton and his official spokesmen (especially Mike McCurry) used toward their Republican opponents. In fact, it is virtually impossible to find President Bush himself ever using harsh language about the left, even though Harry Reid and company have used the most scathing language toward him. He promised to change the tone in Washington, and he, himself, has lived up to that pledge. (More's the pity. The blame-America-first crowd that runs the Washington Democratic Party deserves to be called on the carpet.)

Okay, that's plenty for now. The mainstream media lives in too much of a leftist echo chamber to ever hear any of this, anyhow.

Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at qhillyer@gmail.com.

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.