Even discounting the transparent biases of the Times’ sources, all of the charges leveled against Angle – from her alleged shambles of a campaign to her tendency to make alienating comments – can be directed with equal or greater justice at Harry Reid. It was only last week, for instance, that Reid professed his astonishment that “anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican,” a more than slightly offensive statement that would have come as a surprise to Hispanic Republicans like Brian Sandoval, who just happens to lead Reid’s son Rory in Nevada’s gubernatorial race. Even that was mild in comparison with Reid’s dubious 2007 insight, later proven embarrassingly premature, that the Iraq war was “lost.”
Yet comparing campaign minutia misses the more significant context in which the Nevada race is taking place – and which the Times seems determined to ignore. Political innocence may explain some of the difficulties of the Angle campaign, but it is no excuse for the four-term incumbent Reid. The mere fact that a Democratic veteran like Reid is tied or even trailing a political newcomer like Angle is a devastating indictment of both Reid himself and the national Democratic leadership in Congress, which on everything from health care reform to the $862 billion economic stimulus package presided over one of the most unpopular legislative programs in recent history. By any reasonable standard, it is Reid, not Angle, that is facing the real political crisis.
What Reid has going for him, of course, is that he is a Democrat. And in a year in which Democratic incumbents are an endangered species, the Times is plainly its doing part to keep the current liberal majority in power. Compare the sorry treatment that the Times’ Magazine accorded Angle’s campaign with its preposterously puffed-up profile just a few days later of Democrat Joe Sestak, who not coincidentally is trailing another Tea Party-connected candidate, Pat Toomey, in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
A conventional left-liberal, Sestak curiously emerges from the Times profile as a study in political independence – an ideological non-conformist who finds himself at odds with the Democratic leadership. “Culturally, he remains an alien to the party,” reporter Michael Sokolove writes. In truth, Sestak has departed from the Democratic agenda in only one way: He thinks that the Democrats have not squandered enough taxpayer money in the last two years, and urges them to spend another $200 billion for a new round of economic “stimulus.” The idea that Sestak is in any way “alien” to his party is absurd. He wants the Democrats not only to press on with their radical legislative agenda, but to make it even more ambitious going forward.
With the Times busily gushing over Sestak’s manufactured maverick-streak, it has been left to conservative bloggers to uncover the kind of incriminating details that the paper works overtime to uncover about Tea Party candidates. That includes examining his connections to radical groups like Citizens for Global Solutions and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. As far as the Times is concerned, however, such news is not fit to print.
More than an abdication of responsible journalism, the Times’ slavishly pro-Democratic election coverage is also a disservice to its readers. Bolstered by a popular backlash against the Democrats’ legislative overreach, Republicans that once would have been mere sacrificial lambs are now formidable challengers to Democratic incumbents in heavily Democratic states. The political tectonic plates are shifting. But if change does come to Washington this November, the Times’ readers will never have seen it coming.
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