Don’t Blame Media For Obama

Posted: November 20, 2012

When I read in the post-election editorial that I, an old liberal, contributed in a tiny way to help the all-powerful liberal media’s relentless conspiracy to “delegitimize”  conservatism I initially thought, “cool” (“They Never Let Up,” Nov. 7)

My pride was quickly deflated when I read your example evidence for the claim, a lame joke by David Letterman and a passage plucked from a John Heilemann political blog arguing not against conservatism, but arguing, pre-election, that Republicans were in denial about what the numbers said. Perhaps the Daily News-Record would do better not to draw information from an organization, Newsbusters, that cherry picks information for its stories.

In subsequent days, the DN-R has continued to play this “[i]t’s the liberal media” string.  I offer an alternative explanation as to why, despite high unemployment and a sluggish recovery, despite the hundreds of millions spent by super PACs, despite many attempts by Republicans to suppress the Democratic vote, and despite Mr. Romney’s chameleon ideology, President Obama was reelected.

Mr. Obama was reelected because the conservative vision expressed by the GOP and its candidates asked Americans to believe in an America that rings false for many of them.

This vision asked America’s young voters to believe that some of their Hispanic peers, friends they grew up playing and going to school with (until college), are somehow wrong or dangerous, because they didn’t manage to stop their parents from bringing them into the U.S. when they were infants.

It also asked America’s young voters to believe that their public school teachers, who so generously taught them for such lousy pay, are actually greedy, America-destroying, union dupes. And that some of the subjects those teachers presented, evolution and climate change, were not really science but a conspiracy engaged in by thousands of scientists across the globe, a conspiracy which they have somehow kept secret and which they have designed to …  well, no one quite knows.

This vision asked Americans of all ages to believe that their gay and lesbian children, friends, relatives, brothers, and sisters, folks they care about and love, are somehow wrong and dangerous simply because they want to marry the persons they love, simply because they want equal rights.

It asked Americans to believe that giving tax breaks to the very rich will create jobs, despite the Congressional Budget Office’s rejection of that claim. It asked them to believe that the very transnational corporations responsible for nearly killing the world’s economy via their unregulated orgy of risky investments are in need of even less regulation, and it asked them to believe that hard-working Americans who don’t make enough to pay income tax are lazy “takers,” while CEO’s making 100 times the “takers’” wages, yet paying Romney-small percentages in taxes, require more tax breaks.

This vision asked America’s women to accept that reproductive decisions be made for them by their employers and by legislatures, which are dominated by men and often contain members who have a limited understanding of biology. And they asked us all to believe that conservatives are pro-life when in actuality they are merely pro-birth. Otherwise, conservatives would support early-childhood education and economic justice in regards to school funding for every school district in the country.

In this election Americans from all but a few demographics rejected the conservative vision because it doesn’t fit with the ever more diverse America they inhabit. Yet, almost at once, conservative pundits and newspapers, the DN-R included, were blaming the liberal media, were claiming that Obama somehow suppressed the conservative vote, or were insisting they hadn’t been conservative enough, just about everything but admitting America has changed.

Perhaps, then, the following bit of information will get conservatives’ attention: A majority of voters under 40, including a large majority of under-30 voters, went for Mr. Obama, whereas a majority of voters over 40  went for Mr. Romney. Neither group is getting any younger, but the over-40s have a head start to the stepping off place.

Mr. Wright lives in Harrisonburg.

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