Tacking Hard Left; Filling The Power Vacuum
By Ed Driscoll · October 17, 2005 02:34 PM · Democracy In America · Oh, That Liberal Media! · Radical Chic
Orrin Judd links to a New York Times magazine feature with this lead:
Ever since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, the strength of American conservatism has largely confounded historians and intellectuals. Before then, a generation of influential scholars claimed that liberalism was the core of all American political thinking and suggested that it always would be. Well into the 1970's, many observers wondered whether a Republican Party that allied itself with the conservative movement could long survive.Parsing those two sentences reveals quite a gap that missing--two seminal events that both occurred in the early to mid-1970s. The first was the beginning of liberalism's increasing shift to the hard left. As Jonah Goldberg wrote shortly after the presidential election last year:
The conventional wisdom is right: Democrats have a values problem. At the national level, they can't talk about them convincingly. Even Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton staffer and now a Democratic congressman, explained to the New York Times, "people aren't going to hear what we say until they know that we don't approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment."As to the second statement in that Times lead, which says:
Well into the 1970's, many observers wondered whether a Republican Party that allied itself with the conservative movement could long survive.The shifting of the Democrats' power base to the hard left created a vacuum in the middle. And it's worth reading Crag Shirley's terrific Reagan's Revolution to understand just how down-and-out Republicans were in 1976, the year that they made a historic choice: to align themselves with Rockefeller me-to liberalism, or Reagan/Goldwater-style conservatism. They made the wrong choice in '76, but Ford's failure set-up the Gipper's run in 1980.
Last July, I wrote:
Because liberalism dominated culture--especially pop culture--for the majority of the 20th century, it's interesting to note how key events have been forgotten by reporters, journalists and historians.As those two example linked to above illustrate, David Frum was right: more so than the sixties, the seventies is the decade which has shaped modern life. But it's very easy to forget so many of the events of that era--even if you're the New York Times. (Or perhaps, especially if you're the New York Times.)
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