New York Times Continues to Insist Conservative Talk Radio Is Pushing GOP 'Off the Deep End'

New York Times contributor (and long-time Washington Post political reporter) Thomas Edsall unloaded the usual liberal take on the “Opinionator” blog. He asked “Has the G.O.P. Gone Off the Deep End?” (The usual media-elite answer: We sure hope so.)

His proof is a George Pataki aide getting ready to leave the GOP if it won’t pass an amnesty bill. Edsall, as a member of the dinosaur media, insisted “There is a striking correlation between the rise of conservative talk radio and the difficulties of the Republican Party in presidential elections.” Says who?

In an April Reuters essay, “Right Wing Talk Shows Turned White House Blue,” Mark Rozell, the acting dean of the George Mason Universitil y School of Public Policy, and Paul Goldman, a former chairman of Virginia’s Democratic Party, wrote:

Since Rush Limbaugh’s 1992 bestseller “The Way Things Ought to Be,” his conservative talk show politics have dominated G.O.P. presidential discourse — and the Republicans’ White House fortunes have plummeted. But when the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the 10 presidential elections.

The authors continue: “The rise of the conservative-dominated media defines the era when the fortunes of G.O.P. presidential hopefuls dropped to the worst levels since the party’s founding in 1856.”

But this kind of analysis utterly skips the opposite angle: how presidents like Eisenhower and Nixon and Ford stared across town at large Democrat majorities in Congress. How these Republican presidents built the Republican Party into a majority party is not examined – because they didn’t.

Edsall could only focus on conservative House members were ruining GOP presidential hopes by failing to compromise on immigration and other liberal plans. GOP pollster Bill McInturff said House members don’t obsess over electing presidents, so Edsall found an a-ha:

McInturff put his finger on the problem: House Republicans are invested in their own re-election and not in the long-term viability of their party. Those who put the lowest priority on presidential politics are those most worried about a primary challenge from the right, and it is this cohort that forms the backbone of the Tea Party faction in the House — the cohort most wedded to nativism, intolerance and hostility to the poor. These are the members nudging the Republican Party over the cliff.

But that’s not what McInturff said. He said the Republicans had “obstructed” their way into the majority: “Look at the quotes from 1993 and 1994 when Republicans were blocking Clinton’s health care bill, and again in 2009 with Obamacare. The exact same stuff, the same handwringing, the same, except one led to a 50-plus gain and the other a 60-plus seat gain in the House.”

Edsall skipped over the argument that perhaps the GOP has had trouble winning presidential elections because they’re nominating candidates more moderate than the House Republicans, from George H.W. Bush to McCain to Romney. He just insisted “Tea Party = over the cliff.”

Tim Graham's picture