On election night, Tom Brokaw, the former NBC News anchorman, was part of a panel on the Charlie Rose show on PBS that was analyzing the tsunami that hit the Democratic Party and President Obama.
Brokaw commented that one of the reasons Barack Obama was damaged goods was … wait for it … Fox News, which along with talk radio Brokaw said, “hammered” him “24/7.”
On the O’Reilly Factor I noted that it was interesting that Brokaw was so concerned about conservative media hammering the president in 2014, but I couldn’t recall the same concern on his part during the 2006 midterms when President Bush was being hammered 24/7 by liberals in the media.
But more importantly, I said Brokaw’s arguments about Fox being a bogeyman was yawn-inducing, and struck me as old and stale and behind the curve. Just as voters in 2014, I said, rejected the phony GOP war on women, and just as they rejected the even more disgraceful phony Republican war on African Americans, they were also rejecting the liberal war on Fox News because by 2014 that also felt old and tired and stale and behind the curve.
If Fox News was such a destructive force in the culture, I said, why did so many Americans tune in to Fox to watch the results coming in on election night? Why did Fox beat everybody in election night ratings if the channel is such a bad influence in America? Maybe the hard left wasn’t watching Fox, but it wasn’t only the hard right that sent FNC’s ratings through the roof.
But there’s a bigger point here that goes beyond phony GOP wars and liberals’ obsession with Fox News. It’s a point about the Democratic Party and liberalism itself.
In a post-election piece for Commentary Magazine, Peter Wehner writes this: “There are plenty of reasons for Republicans to be buoyed. They have very impressive people, including people in their ’30s and ’40s, at every level. Of the two parties, the GOP seems to be the one of greater energy and ideas. The Democratic Party, and liberalism more broadly, seems stale, aging, and exhausted.”
That’s the big news from this election. Not just that Republicans won and Democrats lost. But that the party that has long been seen as old and tired – the Republican Party – is now the party with “greater energy and ideas.” And the party led by not only the most liberal president we’ve ever elected, but also the coolest one, is now the party that “seems stale, aging and exhausted.”
Could it be morning in America — again?
Then there’s the NAACP, once a great civil rights institution in America. After Tim Scott, the African American Republican, won the United States Senate seat in South Carolina, making him the first black senator from the south since Reconstruction, the NAACP said nothing. No congratulations. No “Nice going — even though we don’t agree with you.” Nothing.
And when Mia Love, in Utah, became the first African American Republican woman to be elected to Congress, again, not a peep of good will from the NAACP.
These were historic elections, especially for black Americans. Yet the NAACP was stuck in the past, someplace between Selma and Montgomery, its president issuing a statement saying, “This election was not about who won but rather the citizens who lost the right to participate.”
No wonder critics call it the National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Democratic Colored People. The NAACP, once the forceful, energetic engine of change for the good in America, like a lot of other liberal institutions, feels tired and stale.
It’s not a good idea to make bold predictions based on one election. Trends are best determined by looking through the rear view mirror. But when the GOP is the party with “greater energy and ideas” and the Democrats are the ones who seem “stale, aging and exhausted” something potentially big is going on. You might want to take note, President Cool – or else you may go down in history as the best thing that has happened to the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan.