I believe in the Taranto Principle. This theory, named for its creator James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, holds that the prevailing pro-left wing media bias ultimately does more harm than help to politicians of the left. Taranto argues that the bias effectively shields those pols from the sort of serious and difficult criticism that hones ones positions and attempts at persuasion. In essence, left wing pols are never quite ready to play at the varsity level because the helpful media only holds them to J.V. standards.
Here is a little exercise. List the top five elected officials from each party. By “top,” I mean highest ranking or most influential. It is possible to quibble over a name or two, but I am confident my list is quite credible.
The Democrat list is clear, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz head of the Democrat National Committee.
For the Republicans the list includes Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker John Boehner. The final two spots are more difficult as the head of the RNC is not an elected official, but I include Congressman Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio. Both are potential Vice Presidential candidates, and each is recognized as a leader of the party by their peers and the public.
Now, leave Obama and Romney out of the comparison. There will be a public referendum on those two men soon enough. Notice anything about the two teams of four? The four Republicans are for the most part serious men. The four Democrats are fundamentally unserious, if not altogether irresponsible.
Quotes from Wasserman-Schultz are full of bombast, accusations, and clichéd sound-bites. She is shrill in presentation, and dismissive of counter-arguments. She has claimed that her political opponents want to “literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws,” that senior citizens “will die” if Republicans regain power, and that the Tea Party is a bunch of swastika-clad racists.
Former Speaker Pelosi, who not too long ago was second in line for the Presidency, is seemingly descending into madness. She says the ghost of Susan B. Anthony has spoken to her, unemployment benefits create jobs, it is “un-American” to enforce immigration laws, and famously about Obamacare, that we “have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
So detestable is Harry Reid that sympathetic voices are having trouble defending his baseless accusations about tax returns against Romney. But school-yard rumor-mongering is only part of the picture for this powerful man who can celebrate a day when “only 36,000” Americans lose their jobs and get away with calling the President a ”light skinned” African-American ”with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Reid has claimed that the Iraq “war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything,” and laughably that “social security is fine.”
Where to begin with Joe Biden? This could take a while, but his quotes speak for themselves.
- The “economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”
- “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed.” He failed to realize FDR was not in office when the market crashed, and people didn’t have televisions in 1929.
- “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” referring to Obama.
- “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…. I’m not joking.”
- “I promise you, the president has a big stick.”
- “This is a big fucking deal!”
- “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.”
Sure, the affable Biden is mostly harmless, but he is also only a heartbeat away from becoming leader of the free world.
It is important to note that I am not talking about specific policies or philosophies of government. Fair-minded and intelligent people can disagree on those things. I am asserting that these Democrat leaders do little to inspire confidence or brush away the “moonbat” epithet reserved for the Left.
Conversely, the boring white men of the Republican hierarchy are thoughtful and serious. McConnell, a recognized conservative, has bucked his party on several prominent issues like flag-burning and gun control. He governs with a philosophy but not an ideology. His comments to the press and on the stump are typically measured and deliberate.
Boehner, when mocked, is usually targeted for his propensity for tears and his persistent tan. Plenty of people disagree with him on a range of issues, but the attacks always center on the superficial, not a lack of thoughtfulness.
Paul Ryan may be the most serious man in Washington having crafted and defended a budget proposal to protect obligatory entitlement programs and staving off a debt crisis. Demagogues lambasted his plan, but no one questioned his sincerity or sober calculations.
Marco Rubio is widely regarded as the future of his party. He is an in-demand speaker at think tanks across the nation, and a frequent guest on national news programs. According to left wing blog “crooks and liars” the stupidest thing Senator Rubio ever said was “[Obama] tells all of us that the only way to climb up the economic ladder is for others to be pulled down.” The blog supports Obama’s plans for a more progressive tax code, something Rubio clearly opposes, but this is a policy difference, not a stupid remark – like claiming there are 57 states in America.
Judging by leadership, only one political party can claim to be a group of adults trying honestly to deal with real problems. Personally, I may not agree with everything these Republicans espouse but I can say that I am not ashamed of their conduct and manner. “Leadership is,” as Colin Powell said, “solving problems.” As America faces a plethora of difficulties and challenges the fundamentally lack of seriousness among leaders of the Democrat party is cause for concern to all who love this country be they on the right or the left.