Sometimes when you see NPR's Juan Williams on Fox News, you are left scratching your head wondering what planet he lives on, and what the color of the sky is there.
Such questions must certainly have been raised in the minds of right-thinking "Fox News Sunday" viewers this morning when Williams suggested that the liberal blog Daily Kos "is now center."
I kid you not.
What precipitated this extraordinary lapse of reason on Williams' part was a rather accurate observation made by the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol concerning Democrat presidential candidates attending the upcoming YearlyKos convention (video available here):
Every Democratic presidential nominee is going to the Daily Kos convention. That's the left-wing blogger who was not respectable three or four years ago. The Howard Dean kind of sponsor. Now the whole party is going to pay court to him and to left wing blogs. Not a single one is going to the Democratic Leadership Council meeting in a couple of weeks. That's the organization that Bill Clinton was head of in the early '90s - that was supposed to be the new, more moderate Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has gone left and it will hurt them in 2008.
Makes sense, right? After all, the DLC was indeed crucial for Clinton's success in the '90s. Yet, the past two Democrat presidential candidates have shied away from this group, and its tenets, moving further to the left, and not winning their respective elections.
With this in mind, it seems quite reasonable to suggest that Democrat presidential candidates who follow Al Gore and John Kerry's leftist playbook rather than the successful, though disingenuous, moderate campaign of Bill Clinton will have a hard time winning in the general election.
Not so surprisingly, Williams saw things differently:
What you described as left is now center. The majority of the American people, 70 percent, want us out of Iraq. In fact, if you asked Iraqis, 60 some percent of Iraqis say we're doing more harm than good in Iraq. There's a center here and I think what you're saying is they're playing somehow to the left.
Even if the only issue on voters' minds was Iraq, Williams' point would be way off base.
Unfortunately, a recent CBS News/New York Times poll indicated that this is just one of the issues voters believe will be a priority in the upcoming elections (from Polling Report):
"In deciding who you would like to see elected president next year, which ONE of the following issues will be most important to you: [see below], or something else?" N=1,398 registered voters.
The war in Iraq 20
Terrorism and national security 17
The economy and jobs 17
Health care 16
The environment and global warming 7
Something else 5
Add it all up, and 80 percent of those polled said something other than the war in Iraq would be their top priority in November 2008. As such, suggesting that this is the only issue on the minds of Americans is rather absurd.
Moreover, though polls indicate that most people do want some form of troop withdrawal from Iraq, this same poll showed that only 34 percent of Americans want all troops removed immediately. By contrast, 59 percent either support just a decrease in troops, the status quo, or an increase.
In fact, CBSNews.com's article on this poll stated that "Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed think the war should be funded only if there's a timetable for withdrawal...while 8 percent think all funding for the war should be blocked, no matter what."
The Kossacks are part of that 8 percent who want funding blocked now no matter what.
Therefore, even on this one issue, it is specious of Williams to suggest that the folks at Daily Kos are either in the center or representative of the majority view.
Nice try, Juan.