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Growing Desperation on the Left

Exclusive commentary by Greg Lewis / WashingtonDispatch.com
June 24, 2003

Opinion polls consistently indicate that about two thirds of Americans think George W. Bush is doing a very good job as President of the United States. This not only drives Democrats and other Left/Liberals crazy, it leads them to behavior that is silly and exaggerated even by Democratic standards. Lately Democrats have been relentlessly asking, "Where the hell are the weapons of mass destruction?" when they should be asking, "What the hell can we do to turn things around?"

It's been obvious since the Clinton regime that those on the Left are out of touch with mainstream America and that they have no home-grown legislative agenda. They don't have a clue and they don't have a plan. There are, however, hints about what they "believe." Those hints can be gleaned by examining what liberals "oppose" and then extrapolating what their agenda would be if they had the courage of their convictions and could articulate those convictions in a positive way rather than obscuring them in critical jabs against Republicans.

Here, then, are two things I've been able — by following the process outlined above — to discover that the Left stands for. They're followed by suggestions of actions the Left might take to further its agenda and thus avoid being unceremoniously swept, as early as the elections of 2004, into the dustbin of historical insignificance.

Democratic Principle #1 — Although no Democrat is willing to say that he or she supports increasing taxes, virtually every Democrat has gone on record as saying that the Bush plan for reducing taxes is the surest way to guarantee that the country will not be able to recover from the current economic downturn.

Democratic Program #1 — First things first: A ruined U.S. economy is the only chance Democrats have of getting a significant number of their candidates elected in 2004. If Democrats were really convinced that President Bush's tax cuts were going to damage the economy, they would have voted en masse for the largest tax cuts Bush proposed. This would truly have been a demonstration that they have the courage of their convictions.

In 1963, then-Freshman Senator Ted Kennedy voted for his brother's massive tax cut. (This was in the days before Teddy's drinking and drugging had turned him into the Senatorial equivalent of rock music's David Crosby. Can you say "liver transplant?") Although Democrats seem to have forgotten this, that tax cut was arguably the single most important economic stimulus program in this nation's history.

Following Kennedy's 1963 tax-rate decrease, tax revenues increased by 62 percent over the next several years and the percentage of taxes paid by the wealthiest taxpayers increased from 11 to 15 percent. By the time President Reagan implemented his income tax cut, the wealthiest taxpayers were generating approximately 48% of all tax revenues. After Reagan's tax cut, the percentage rose to 57%.

The point is that Democrats know this. They do not want what is best for American taxpayers and the U.S. economy. They want what they think will get them elected. That's why they vote against the Bush tax cuts: They know that tax cuts will stimulate the economy, and that's the last thing they want to happen.

Democratic Principle #2 — The Right Wing Conspiracy, led by George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and Dennis Miller is the greatest threat we have ever faced to the principles that have made America a great and free nation.

Democratic Program #2 — Let's start by granting liberals their premise, articulated in an astoundingly disingenuous new book, "What Liberal Media?" by Eric Alterman: Television news broadcasts on ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN are not slanted to the left. The New York Times and the Washington Post and virtually all other newspapers in the top 100 markets are not liberal in their orientation. College campuses are not mini-Soviet Gulags where freedom of speech is freedom to speak what the Leftists who control campus communications deem acceptable. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the Wall Street Journal do have a conservative bias.

So what? So what if the million or so viewers who tune in to Brit Hume's nightly news broadcast on Fox aren't liberal? What is Brit Hume's audience when compared to the nearly 30 million viewers who tune in to the Big Three networks' nightly national newscasts? Why should the Left care that 1.1 million viewers choose to watch Brit rather than Dan or Tom or Peter?

OK, I'll give you talk radio. Libs haven't even been able to dent the market that Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura and Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage (to name several) now dominate. Of course, in the spirit of Federal grants for ideas that can't survive public scrutiny, the obvious thing for Liberals to do is to find a group of investors willing to pony up a hundred million dollars (for starters) to fund a liberal talk radio network. There's even talk that Al Gore is "interested" in participating in a liberal talk radio network in some way.

The first problem with that idea is that there is no commercial liberal talk radio now. If you want to promote liberal ideas, you've got to get a government grant. PBS does it. That network uses federal money to blatantly promote a leftist, anti-American agenda. If Americans wanted to hear what liberals have to say, then there would be commercial liberal talk radio now. That's why liberals are so frightened of the market: When the market is allowed to function freely, they lose. Wherever liberals do not receive handouts or have a captive audience, their message simply doesn't get out.

Every investor worth his salt knows this, and that's why the much ballyhooed idea to get money men to pony up for a liberal talk radio network will continue to wither on the vine. The reason is that people who have that kind of jack (actors and recording artists excepted) generally also have a good deal of horse sense. They know better than to throw money down a rathole. Just like Americans know better than to invest their time listening to ideologically corrupt leftist agitprop on the radio.

And so, if they really had the courage of the convictions they purport to have, the Left would support massive tax cuts and they would follow through on their stated intention to find investors to make liberal talk radio happen. The problem is that liberals don't have the courage of their convictions. They don't believe for a minute that tax cuts will not succeed in stimulating the economy. Even Democrats are not so selective in their political memories as to forget the enormous good JFK's tax cuts did for the American economy. And so they won't vote for tax cuts.

And they don't believe for a minute that the unsupported assertions they so aggressively put forth as a political agenda can survive the winnowing process of talk radio. It's axiomatic on the street that if you can't walk the walk, you shouldn't try to talk the talk. Those on the Left know that, and they know that it's pointless to put their money where their mouths should be simply to demonstrate that they're capable of supporting what they don't believe in.

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