The notoriously unbiased Christiane Amanpour of ABC lamented the demise of “a long and venerable tradition of conservatism in this country.” You know, back in the good old days when liberals respected and appreciated the “sort of intellectual conservatism” typified by Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley. (Hat Tip: Brent Baker with NewsBusters).
Buckley aside, I certainly remember that the left had visceral, palpable contempt for Reagan and certainly considered him anything but intellectual. “Amiable dunce” more accurately describes their opinion and description. My Nexis search of “Ronald Reagan and amiable dunce” produced 674 results. How many stories were written about Reagan’s inability to be engaged or even to stay awake during cabinet meetings?
Thus sanitizing the historical record, Amanpour was free to paint Tea Partiers as extreme. She said, “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it but it’s extreme.”
George Will quickly pointed out that liberals painted Buckley and his candidate Barry Goldwater as extreme and “representing the paranoid style in American politics.” They thought Reagan was quite extreme, and, I dare say more dangerous than mere Tea Party protestors. After all, they were apoplectic when Reagan dubbed the Soviet Union “the Evil Empire,” and feared he was about to provoke that passive, nonaggressive regime into a nuclear war.
The only thing extreme about Tea Partiers is that liberals are going to extremes in their conspiratorial efforts to depict them as extreme. Unhappily for these libs, their efforts will just further marginalize them, the true extremists, because Tea Partiers just happen to be mainstream conservative Americans and mainstream conservative Americans just happen to possess political views far more widely shared than the myopic mainstream media.
I agree with the thrust of this article, but I think the point could and should have been strengthened by including the harsh political cartoons of the day and pictures of demonstrators that demeaned Reagan in his time.