Who You Callin’ Extremist?

I’ll have lots and lots to say about my pal Norm Ornstein and his collaborator Thomas Mann and their new book and recent Washington Post article on why the supposed “extremism” of the Republican Party is the chief affliction of our nation today, culminating in an epic smackdown public debate with Norm on June 11 in Washington (get your tickets now before the scalpers scoop them all up).

But let’s just start with the lede of the now infamous WaPo feature from last Sunday, “Let’s Just Say It: Republicans Are the Problem.”

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

Oh why do they make this so easy?  Did the Democratic House leadership ever condemn the lunatic and anti-Semitic ravings of Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney?  Or how about the sentiment of the Democratic state legislator in Maine named Chuck Kruger—chair of a party caucus there apparently—who Twittered (see below) that “[Dick] Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams.”  Any criticism from party leaders there?  This makes Allen West’s comments seem rather tame by comparison.

Click to embiggen

Actually, I’m on to Norm’s devilishly clever strategy here, and I’m really sorry to have to blow his cover.  I’m amazed that he managed to swindle Thomas Mann into signing on to the most fiendish part of the article, whereby the last lingering shreds of the mainstream media’s credibility and audience with center-right readers will be toasted:

We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.

Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views.

Yeah, that’s the ticket, MSM:  Don’t even bother concealing your pro-Democratic bias.  Your reader will be delighted.

Update bonus edition: Spot the extremist in this photo!

Mirror, mirror: who's the extremiest of them all?