Magazine article Insight on the News

Media Overlooked Democrats' Hard-Left Convention

Magazine article Insight on the News

Media Overlooked Democrats' Hard-Left Convention

Article excerpt

In 1992, the national media turned the Republican convention in Houston into a "Feast of Hate and Fear" a weeklong nightmare featuring "scowling conservatives" such as Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and Marilyn Quayle. The Republicans reacted by putting on two subsequent conventions that labored to minimize purveyors of troublesome "red meat" for right-wingers.

But the ideological tilt of the Democrats convening with Al Gore in Los Angeles makes the Houston Republicans look like a meeting of the Peace Corps. Perhaps out of panic over potential defections to radical leftist Ralph Nader, the podium in Los Angeles tilted so hard to the left it's lucky the Staples Center didn't collapse.

On Monday night, here were the following elected officials who spoke from the podium, along with their 1999 American Conservative Union, or ACU, rankings: Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California(4 percent), Rep. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan (4), Sen. Barbara Boxer of California (4), Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California (4), Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana (4), Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland (4), Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state (4) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas (a 12, making her, I presume, the "conservative Democrat"). And topping it all: ultraliberal star Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It gets more ridiculous when you consider that the one vote that gave Sens. Boxer, Feinstein, Murray and Mikulski a "4" instead of a zero was their vote to kill a Senate resolution giving President Clinton the authorization to "use all necessary force" in Kosovo. Pacifism made them a little bit conservative. I am confused.

Then, they called Tuesday "Liberal Night" -- the understatement of the year. The podium featured radical pro-abortion leader Kate Michelman, radical gay-left leader Elizabeth Birch, the Rev Jesse Jackson, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (lifetime ACU rating: 2), former senator Bill Bradley (11) and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee (9).

But every night was Liberal Night! On Wednesday, the speakers included union leaders Bob Chase and John Sweeney and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri (lifetime ACU rating: 11). Thursday featured former representative Kweisi Mfume (lifetime ACU rating: 4) and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa (9).

The media didn't seem to notice this dramatic tilt. They were too busy reporting such "facts" as: "[This] is the least liberal collection of delegatesthat's been assembled in almost a quarter of a century" (Bob Schieffer on CBS) and "This is the most conservative Democratic ticket in at least 50 years" (CNN's Bill Schneider). Earth to Schieffer and Schneider: Would you please direct your attention to the podium and listen to the speeches? …

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