“Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
… It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Mann & Ornstein are bigtime DC establishment centrists. Could this be a Cronkite Moment?
(Or, if there never was an actual ‘Cronkite Moment’, will this be a “Mann & Ornstein Moment” instead?)
Probably not, but one can wish.
Um, how do you get the “centrist press” in the title? The authors of the opinion piece are two political scientists, not journalists. The WaPo isn’t endorsing their views by printing them. And for that matter, it is news to me that the WaPo is “centrist”.
Fair question (I agree about the Post). I was thinking that the centrist press would read this an be influenced by it. But I should have explained that.
There is a centrist press? I thought there were only highly concentrated media entities whose profitability and credibility depend on paraphrasing and reprinting government and corporate press releases and moderating between foaming right extremists and corporate right libertarian extremists.
Maybe you’re right, but you’d have to be pretty wonkish to put Mann and Ornstein on a par with Cronkite, when 99% of the US public would have no idea who they are.
With regard to the WaPo, its editorial stance really is quite centrist these days. As a daily Post reader for four decades, I’ve watched it move surprisingly rightward since the days of Ben Bradlee and Meg Greenfield.
When I said I didn’t think the WaPo was “centrist” I didn’t mean what you thought; I think of it as a neocon paper these days. That’s even what Chris Matthews called it. I’m not even sure what might qualify as “centrist” press these days; much of the traditional media all seem to have gone Republican. Any journalist who isn’t writing what Mann and Ornstein had the guts to say has drunk the Republican kool-aid, IMO. To get decent coverage of the US, one has to often these days read the foreign press or blogs.
@ Earl Killian: Okay, then I think we more or less agree. I’d call the Post center-right at this point, even though it’s former liberal image persists in some circles because what used to be centrist is now considered left-wing. Amazing isn’t it, how the right has managed to shift the whole spectrum of political discourse?
People use the term centrist differently… some try to make it out to be centrist in comparison to… like saying Dennis Miller is a centrist because he’s not as extreme as Rush, but really he’s just a conservative who isn’t extreme, in comparison to the American people at large.
Both parties have become more extreme, especially over the last generation, and while there was a time when it was the opposite, the republicans have gone farther off the deep end than the dems have over the last decade. They’re able to survive because there are still enough people who fall prey to voting for lesser evils, and they’re still better, on the whole, at rallying the troops.
If you want a decent barometer of the center, watch people like John Avlon, folks like David Frum on the moderate right, Brookings and New America on the moderate left… and (plug – this is the site I run) the blog Rise of the Center, which has a good spread of moderate left to moderate right bloggers.
I sure don’t see both parties getting more extreme. The Republican party has become the radical party of the US, pushing an agenda into uncharted waters (and where science suggests things about their agenda, it is uniformly bad). The Democrats have become the conservative (dictionary-definition, not conventional political usage) party of the US, basically trying to hold onto the agenda from the FDR to LBJ years. To give you an idea, Nixon proposed better health care than Obama enacted, but Democrats of the time rejected it as not going far enough. Move forward, and all you find is the Democrats enacting Massachusetts RomneyCare. That’s not getting more extreme; that’s throwing in the towel. The US no longer has a progressive party, though there is a respectable progressive caucus within the Democratic party. (They proposed a pretty serious budget that would have solved quite a few problems, but did the traditional press cover it? No.)