Seriously, WTF, Tennessean?
Explaining its endorsement, the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board writes in a piece headlined “Too Many Mitts”:
Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”
The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.
Ouch. Ironically, that’s pretty much the gist of the Tennessean‘s piece, too. The editors write:
Romney has famously flip-flopped on abortion rights, the need for Planned Parenthood, access to contraceptives and health care reform in general, which disproportionately affects single mothers and lower-income women. During his bruising primary campaign he veered to the right; in the debates, he has swung back to his moderate stances as governor of Massachusetts.
The Romney who was governor reflected the attitudes shared by a majority of Americans; this is where he should stay, if elected, and resist pressure from the “tea-vangelicals” in his party who want to take this country back to the repressed 1950s.
Again, WTF? Both editorial boards see Romney as a shameless political opportunist, yet they come to different conclusions. Why is that? I think The Tennessean‘s final sentence speaks volumes:
Be the man who governed Massachusetts, and you’ll reunite America.
Oh. Right, the guy who governed a strongly Democratic state with a strongly Democratic legislature. You think he’s going to show up when it’s time to move in to the White House? With the Tea Party and John Birchers controlling the Republican Party and Fox News and Drudge controlling the news cycle and the Koch boys controlling the purse strings? You guys seriously think there’s going to be a return to reason in this country? That “moderate Massachusetts Mitt” is who you’re gonna get? Really? That is some magical thinking right there.
This is what’s wrong with newspapers like The Tennessean and the mainstream media in general. They’re so completely, hilariously out of touch. Sure, we’d all love to go back to the days when Tip O’Neill had drinks with Ronald Reagan and everyone was nice and civil to each other and people didn’t draw Hitler mustaches on the president’s picture. But news flash: those days are gone and they won’t be back. Also, there is no Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is a fraud.
So, to the folks who sit on The Tennessean editorial board, I have a news flash for you: There will be no reuniting of America, not under a Republican president or a Democratic one! Why? Because the failure is not in our leaders but our institutions. Until that is fixed, the foot-dragging and fillibustering and recalcitrance will continue.
Our government is corrupted by money — the “politico-industrial complex” I wrote about last week. These people need our country divided for their game to work. The money comes from flooding everyone’s inbox with hysterical e-mails about how that Scary Mooslim Kenyan Usurper Obama is going to ban Jesus and force abortions on teenage virgins while handing the White House over to the United Nations. That’s where the money is, and companies like Gannett are profiting from it because someone needs to broadcast the scary-voiced announcer dude spreading all of those lies about the candidates.
I mean, come on. These editorial boards are supposed to be filled with smart people. I can’t believe it takes a dang housewife in suburban Nashville to explain how the world works to these folks. Talk about your institutional failures!
And since I’m on the topic, let me point out that our weak-kneed, bottom-line-conscious media helped create this scenario in the first place. The Tennessean is the paper which opened its editorial pages to crackpots and crazies, because they wanted to present “both sides of the issue” (even though some issues really have only one side). They’re the ones who opened their editorial pages to professional astroturfers and corporate shills – repeatedly. It’s not like there’s much credibility left over there, anyway.
You guys mainstreamed the crazy. You gave it a microphone and normalized it. This partisan rancor is as much the media’s fault as anyone’s. Don’t whine about how the country needs to be “reunited” and we need a “return to civility.” For that to happen we need a grown-up to admit that one of our political parties is barking mad. The media had its chance to serve as truth arbiter but that ship sailed when they let “death panels” and “a bureaucrat coming between you and your doctor” substitute for factual policy discussions during the healthcare “debate.”
So don’t cry for me, Argentina. And by all means, don’t tell me Mitt Romney is the guy who’s gonna fix this mess. The very fact that The Tennessean would suggest Multiple Choice Mitt as the solution to this problem it created tells me everything I need to know about our dying newspaper industry.