I borrowed the subject Bernard Goldberg book from a buddy since I like the guys sense of humor, but after reading his last two books, I didn't need to own another one. The complete title is "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How one side lost it's mind and the other lost its nerve". The title is a bit on the long side, the book is an easy read.
The basic thesis is one that I agree with; the MSM and the left in this country has basically come unhinged with "Bush Derangement Syndrome" and a host of other overblown "horrors" from Global Warming to the country supposedly becoming a "theocracy". On the other side, the Republican Congress during the Bush years has certainly not lived up to why they were elected, Bush never was, and certainly hasn't governed as a "hard line conservative"-perscription drug benefit, signing McCain Feingold, immigration. The list could go on. In the supposed interest of "moderation", the Republicans have pandered to all sorts of supposedly "middle of the road" thinking that has cost them votes from the more doctrinaire conservatives, not impressed anybody that just wanted the country to have success, and if anything helped the left to hate them even more.
What IS clear is that unlike liberals who were very willing to vote for (and otherwise support) Clinton during his "triangulation" of tacking to the right in NAFTA, Welfare reform and working with the Republican Congress to slow the rate of growth in government spending, there is no such "allowance" from something like 20% of the Republican party, so Bush has lost close to half the Republican vote. Goldberg would say that is a "good thing" and the those principled people will bring us back to the right path. Maybe-I sure hope so, but I'm afraid that the cost of the "detour" is going to be extremely high.
I like Bernie's view of how odd a supposedly intelligent conservative like him seems to a liberal, since it doesn't fit their model;
"After all they figure, I'm not a racist. I can read and write. I'm not married to my sister and I don't drool on myself. So how in the world can I possibly be a conservative".He writes of the old Clinton Staffer, Lanny Davis discovering that people on the left can be mean-IN August of 2006, Lanny wrote;
"My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitrol of bloggers on the liberal side of aisle comes from that last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Liberman. This is scary hatred my dad used to tell me only comes from the right wing...".Wow, impressive Lanny-I guess it was a surprise to you that although you may still believe that all the Republicans were Nazis, that comparison doesn't automatically make folks on the left into angels.
Here were a couple of examples that Bernie quoted to show that it isn't THAT unusual to hear some nasty stuff from the left:
Nina Totenberg of NPR, on air: "If there is retributive justice, Jesse Helms will get AIDs from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it." Ah yes Nina, I'm glad we provide tax dollars for your insightful and non-partisan commentary, it is indeed "all about the children".
How about lefty talking head Julianne Malveaux saying she hoped that Clarence Thomas's wife "feeds him a lot of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease, because he is an absolutely reprehensible person". These people are just plain caring, there is no way around it! No doubt Julianne is the flower of humanity and her judgment of Thomas is completely warranted.
I think he is generally right on the following 4-rule statement of the situation:
Rule 1: You can never outspend Democrats.
Rule 2: You can never out-compassion Democrats. They own the issue.
Rule 3: No matter how much money Republicans throw at the voters in an attempt to make over their image, it will never be enough. They can never shed their mean-spirited, we-don't-give-a-damn-about-the-poor label. The liberal media simply won't let it happen.
Rule 4: Republicans who try to repeal these rules will only succeed in losing an important consituency-fiscal conservatives, and will instantly see the cynical game they are playing and despise them for it.
He then lists a whole bunch of money that the Republican Congress spent on the poor, education, etc, and the fact that it didn't dent the left view of their lack of concern at all, but it of course DID turn off fiscal conservatives. Whole books are written on the fact that by a wide margin people that tend to vote Republican give more and do more than people that vote Democrat (even when you factor out church giving/volunteering), but that doesn't change the view either. Being on the left means that you usually let your emotions rule and "truth" is relative. When that is the case, you view the world the way you like and the facts aren't going to change your mind. In the case of the left, since the MSM is going to tend to be an echo of your views, you get to feel even more smug.
He points out the Senator Teddy the secretary killer's quote;
"Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers opened under new management-US management."To which Bernie replies: "This is what is known as "moral equivalence", which pretty much comes down to this: They do horrible things. We do horrible things. On it's face, it is an intellectually lame argument, one that stems from nothing more than liberal hatred of George W. Bush. Does any serious person really believe that what went on in Abu Ghirab when Saddam Hussien was in power was the same as what goes on when the American military is in charge? Does any reasonable person really think that "Saddam's torture chambers opened under new management-US management"? Nothing speaks to the failures of modern-day liberalism-and it's moral bankruptcy more than this."
I think he over-estimates a lot of the American people on this. The NYT ran Abu Ghirab on their front page 32 days in a ROW. Most people have a hard time not being influenced by that. I think Bernie gets the points out in his book, but maybe not strongly enough that for even those with significant ability to resist propaganda, the fact that "using dogs on prisoners" runs on the front page for 32 days, while all manner of detail on the torture and KILLING of 100's of thousands of people under Saddam gets next to no mention at all. Virtually none of the kids and families helped, schools built, or thousands of other good things done by the US military get any coverage at all.
Meanwhile, what is it that Senator "Scotch and Water" (a LOT of water) would know about "shame"? Is that a concept that somehow reaches the recesses of that sodden mess in his head? I'm sure he knows a lot about drinking, picking up young women and how to bury the bodies, but I suspect his knowledge of "shame" is in the same league as Billy C, which is to mean that it is something that doesn't exist for them.
It seems that Bernie has a problem with Dan Rather, but I did think he pointed out something obvious that I had never considered. Rather used to sign off with "courage", which most thought was a bit strange. For this supposed "Liberal Texas Cowboy" to let those around him be forced out of CBS without his resigning as well is pretty much the nail in the coffin of any ACTUAL courage of character on the part of Dan.
This is a well-known, but never too often repeated statement on poverty:
"William Galston, a domestic advisor to President Clinton, made the same point. To avoid poverty he said, you have to do three things: finish high school, marry before having children, marry after the age of 20. Only 8% of people that do this end up poor, while 79% of those who do all three end up poor".I guess the only thing a rational person decides from that is that we need more government programs to prevent poverty? Sadly, even though the facts are well known, the MSM and the Democrats treat the simplicity of what it takes to have a decent life in America as a state secret.
I enjoyed the book, but I suspect that very few of the people that would really gain from reading it will actually do so.