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How journalists have dumbed down the definition of analysis

Contra Ron Fournier, 'We Don't Suck As Much!' isn't what's happening

Ron has simple goals, really

National Journal Editor-In-Chief, Ron Fournier - AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

As a journalist, Ron Fournier has worked out a great formula that he goes to time and again.

In today’s column (‘We Don’t Suck As Much!’ A Motto Your Party Can Honestly Embrace) he reaches for it again and, to a point, it works.

But he only captures surface truth:

President Obama has won the debate over how to deal with the immigration crisis on the southern border. That is, if you accept the White House’s dumbed-down definition of winning: Be a little less bad than the Republicans.

You’ve heard the least-lousy spin before. Obama’s job approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency, but House Speaker John Boehner’s numbers are much lower.

The Democratic Party is bleeding voters to the independent column, but more voters are bolting the GOP.

The public’s faith in the presidency it at a near-record low, but lice and cockroaches are statistically more popular than Congress.

It’s indisputably true that Obama’s first term fell far short of his promise—Americans lost their audacity to hope for change—but he won a second term! After a brutally negative reelection campaign, Republican Mitt Romney was found to be a few percentage points less acceptable than the incumbent. That was no accident. In The Message, a book by liberal author Richard Wolffe, Obama strategist David Axelrod recalls the joke about two men who chance upon a bear in the woods. One freezes. The other starts running, knowing he doesn’t have to outrun the bear; he just has to outrun his pal. “So the electorate was the bear,” Axelrod says, “but all we had to do was outrun Romney.”

The Democratic Party motto ought to be, “We don’t suck as much!”

That’s the best news out of a Washington Post/ABC News poll on the influx of unaccompanied foreign children along the Texas border. Nearly six out of 10 Americans (58 percent) disapprove of Obama’s management of the crisis, including 54 percent of Hispanics.

But, wait, the GOP numbers are worse! 

All of which, sadly, is true.

But what good is it?

The real truth

The helpful truth that Ron and his fellow journalists either won’t accept or simply can’t see is that both parties are pursuing genuine policies that speak to their purpose in the American system.

The progressives of today’s Democratic Party want thoroughly socialized medicine. This isn’t something some right winger somewhere made up to scare the base.

And it isn’t a secret.

People Ron Fournier tweets with every day talk about it all the time.

They want open borders (some of their base want no borders).

They want the federal government, whether directly or indirectly, in charge of all schooling.

They want to control the environment, which must always be in some crisis or another and need government intervention.

And they believe in a command and control economy.

Republicans, on the other hand—especially the Genuine Conservative wing of the Republican Party—want none of those things.

They want to restore free enterprise and the capitalist system.

They want to restore individual freedoms.

They want to shrink government to its constitutionally-defined core functions and get it out of your school board, your doctor’s office, your professional choices, your insurance, your employer’s benefit plan—and your bedroom.

You know, save American civilization from committing suicide.

What does Ron Fournier want?

I suspect, but I don’t know.

What he obviously doesn’t care about is educating the public to understand how government works, how the two-party system works, why we have ideologies (and how they work), how polling works (and its limits).

I guess that’s not his niche.

People see lawlessness at the border and they want government to solve it.

Dollars to doughnuts, if Ron Fournier went across the country and personally interviewed folks who wanted “government” to fix the border crisis, he wouldn’t find 10 percent of interviewees who had any idea at all what they actually want “government” to do (“That’s their job. We send ‘em up there to solve things!”).

They would have no idea how we got to where we are now.

Would he be able to guide them?

Would he be willing?

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Journalists, even journalists of integrity like Ron, are doing nothing to help the public understand what they, the public, can do about intractable problems.

Why not?

It’s time for journalists to move out of their glass houses.

Oh—and take the mirror with them.

 

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