Conservatives , more so than liberals, repeatedly advance their party's agenda regardless of ethics or reality
Have you heard of the Hack Gap? It’s a phenomenon in American politics where pundits, journalists, bloggers and talking heads toe their party line. Regardless of reality, talking points that could benefit your party must be advanced. Conservatives consistently beat Liberals in this area, hence the “Gap.”
Examples? Benghazi. The right wing noise machine marched out Benghazi talking points over and over and over and over again. It was never the scandal they tried to make it out to be. In fact, all Republicans managed to do was advance the cause of the terrorists by spreading fear and division. They did that for nigh on 20 months.
Liberal pundits have pretty much let that go. Nobody is seriously holding the GOP accountable for their deliberate dissemination of misinformation.
Not enough? How about the ACA? It’s working, and it’s helping Americans. Yet conservatives continue to smear Obamacare, with no alternative offered. State Republican administrations go out of their way to not comply with, and thereby sabotage, the ACA. All so they can say it doesn’t work. Of course it isn’t working, they’re preventing it from doing so.
Again, hardly anyone is pushing back from the Democrats. Rachel Maddow is, amongst a few other progressive pundits, but we aren’t seeing a strong resistance from elected Blue officials.
Look at the Rick Perry situation. Defiant and proud at his arraignment, conservative pundits were quick to line up behind Perry. They clamored about how his indictment was all a political stunt. Perry ludicrously blamed Obama, thumbing his nose at the judicial system by doing so.
So how about that liberal counterattack, huh? Got Rick Perry cold, right? Never mind the red herrings, the case is valid and Perry is cooked. After all the noise about lawsuits against Obama from the right wing, retribution is finally at hand!
Ah, not so much. Instead, liberal pundits are divided. Some support Perry’s indictment. Some speak out against it, and call it a political stunt. This delights conservative media, who immediately crow that Perry has liberal support in a fight against an unjustified lawsuit.
There we have the Hack Gap. Not all liberals are willing to immediately toe the party line if they feel their ethics are compromised. Progressives are uncomfortable parroting talking points on many occasions. As for conservatives, for your answer, refer to Fox News.
And you know what, conservatives do take it to their own once in a while. Megyn Kelly halted Dick and Liz Cheney’s anti-Obama propaganda pretty much all by herself. So, good for her. These rare glimpses of conscientiousness from the right wing are greatly appreciated. It’s too bad this kind of thing isn’t seen more often.
But when it comes to calling out their own, conservatives take a back seat to liberals. Forward Progressives is well known for regularly denouncing those purportedly on the same side of the political aisle. When another liberal site misquoted Ted Nugent and ran with it, Allen Clifton from FP stepped up to defend the Nuge, much to his own disdain.
Good old Ted ended up being disgusting directly thereafterwards, releasing FP from defending him, but their stand on integrity was now definitively stated. If others supposedly on the same team take the cheap route, Forward Progressives will call them on it. And they are paying for that, getting slammed by other liberal sites for basically standing on principle.
This very site also has a reputation for slamming liberals who participate in ethically questionable behavior. Jenny McCarthy is famously a progressive celebrity. However, her misinformed stance on vaccines is intolerable, and Quiet Mike blasted her for it. Even when she subsequently claimed she’d never held those views, QM didn’t let her off the hook. And neither did Forward Progressives.
Don’t take this as a congratulatory pat on the back for this site and our colleagues at FP. Instead, this merely points out how neither site is afraid to call out misinformation from either side of the American political divide. And these are only a few small examples.
The Hack Gap is quite wide. The right wing has proven repeatedly that they will advance their party’s agenda regardless of ethics. Were it a competition, conservatives would be leading, by a long shot. But is this necessarily a bad thing?
No. In the end, integrity does not mean weakness. The issue here is exploitation by conservative, well, hacks. Thanks to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Fox News, breitbart, The Blaze, countless right-wing websites, Facebook pages, twitter accounts, and what have you, the conservative noise machine is always going to be louder than left leaning outlets.
Instead of giving in, which has happened too much in the past, or shrinking down to that level of slander, progressives simply need to turn the tables on conservative media. Instead of trying to shout down the right wing, which can never be done, use their own momentum against them.
As a boy, I was very small. I enrolled in a Judo class to learn self defense. My Sensei paired me with a much larger, much heavier boy, who dominated practice for months. At the time, I didn’t understand why. But what this taught me was to not judge your opponent by how overbearing he is, but by how he comported himself.
It didn’t matter how big or strong or heavy he was if he made a mis-step. Then, his size or weight didn’t matter, only leverage did. I learned to work around my bigger opponent and use his own momentum against him.
But do you know what else it did? It made him a better fighter as well. Instead of relying on his volume, he had to rely on his brain. It taught us both to never underestimate your adversary, whether he is bigger or smaller than you. Any gap can be bridged, you only need to put your mind to it.
Conservative media has given progressives plenty to work with. Benghazi. Obamacare. Rick Perry’s indictment. The “War on Whites.” Any number of political blunders from Steve King, Louie Gohmert, Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and just about everyone from right wing media.
But here’s the thing, mudslinging is unnecessary. The Hack Gap can be irrelevant. Conservatives have thrown enough of their own feces to be rubbed back into their own faces. Scrape it off and hand it back. Do it nicely, but firmly, like a bouncer talking to a loud mouthed drunk about to be ejected.
Republicans are famous for dishing it out but being unable to take it. Quiet Mike has pointed this out before, and Rick Perry is but the latest example. One does not need to be dirty to be strong. Just because your opponent’s opinion is loud does not mean it is popular. Stand fast in the force of their bluster. It’s just attempted intimidation. That’s what bullies do.
If you need voters to get angry in order to attend the polls, you need only remind them who they need to be angry with. You don’t need to make anything up. Conservatives have consistently voted against paying Americans more. They have disregarded our military veterans needs while continually pushing for more wars in order to create, wait for it, more military veterans.
Republicans are outraged about Rick Perry’s indictment, but it is still warranted. Never mind how many times Texas has filed suit against Obama, and this isn’t to mention the ridiculous case the GOP is trying to push onto the POTUS. They even illustrated their own hypocrisy themselves, by calling for Executive Action regarding the refugee border crisis after House Republicans failed to deliver anything themselves. Oh, and this after filing a suit against their President for excessive Executive Actions!
That’s better ammunition than anything Democrats could fabricate. Simply use it. Oh, is that not enough?
Republicans couldn’t get emergency funds for fire fighting efforts before taking their summer vacation. They couldn’t let go of their Benghazi smear campaign, aiding the terrorists committing that terrible act to beyond their wildest dreams. Their rhetoric about Obamacare has proven untrue. They have even tried to blame to mess in Iraq as well as their disastrous economic policies onto the current administration.
Rand Paul flees when faced with immigrants. Rick Perry says “Oops” when pressed on his own points. John Boehner says the President needs to do the very thing he’s trying to sue for to fix issues. No wonder they need hacks.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has held his head high and continued on through everything conservatives have thrown at him. Rick Perry is now trying to emulate exactly that kind of attitude. So should all liberals.
In the end, there is no reason to actually be concerned with a conservative lead on the Hack Gap. Indeed, with the proper leverage, it is an advantage to have the other side exposed as rife with “hacks.” Instead of trying to close that gap, showcase it.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of cheap click-bait. Even the Discovery Channel has fallen victim to that. But this tactic is only good for the short term, and is bound to bite you in the ass in the long run. It’s more effective for your message to take the high road. Integrity may not be as simple as faux outrage, but it is much stronger. It is not the easiest of ways to go, but that certainly doesn’t make it the wrong way to go.
If the catch phrase that works is “People Are Saying,” then get people saying that progressives tell the truth, even if it means calling each other out. Better to stand on the integrity of your principles than marching mindlessly lockstep with what you are being spoon-fed by your party’s superiors.
Let the Hack Gap stand as it is. The more this story gets play, the better it will be for all Americans, liberal and conservative alike.
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell