Gene Lyons is willing to say straightforwardly what even many liberals commentators are still unwilling to say: Facing down the Republican attack machine Daily Dunklin Democrat 03/16/05:
Many Democrats still don't grasp what they're up against in today's Republican Party.
Naive souls, they prefer to see national politics as a giant PTA meeting, and to comfort themselves with civics-text bromides about the virtues of compromise and bipartisanship.
What many Democrats missed in the 1990s, and I include myself in this, is how badly the standards of journalism had declined. It wasn't just the sensationalism, which was painfully obvious. But even major papers like the New York Times allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by Republican scamsters that even a small-town reporter should have been able to see through.
More from Lyons:
In effect, organizations like FOX News, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio are simply adjuncts of the Republican Party. To this add scores of Washington pundits often employed by tycoon-financed "think tanks" such as the American Heritage Institute, Cato Foundation, etc. For all the braying about "liberal media bias," which may be the most successful GOP "spin point," Democrats simply have no equivalent propaganda machine.
Unlike Democrats, typically all over the place, Republican-oriented pundits agree almost all the time--and not just substantively, but tactically, too. Faxes and e-mails go out from the Republican National Committee, and GOP sophists jump into line like the Rockettes.
Authoritarianism in a political party does have its advantages, and one of them is the kind of remarkable message discipline the Republicans have attained.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have highly visible party leaders like Joe Lieberman running around the talk-show circuit going out of his way to bash Democrats. The saying, supposedly from Robert Frost, that liberals are so open-minded they won't even take their own side in an argument, is still too much true.