They just don't get it. Mainstream media have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Republican senatorial candidates Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware...and still, each is making a race of it in deep blue states. It's enough to make grown journalists cry.
And they do, loud and often. Mainstream
journalists are experiencing a dramatic
disconnect as voters shrug off their
screams of "loon" (Washington Post) and
"seedy" (New York Times), two of the
more polite descriptions applied by mainstream
media to these two Republican women. Why
isn't anyone listening? Watching this, American Thinker titled a blog item about the
psychological state of the media mockers: "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered."
Good idea. Call them McMahon Muddled and O'Donnell Dumb. One after another, elite
journalists have taken to singing the refrain from the Rogers and Hart showtune from which
the blog headline is derived. This new class of Republican women have turned New York
Times, network, and Washington Post commentators into "simpering, whimpering child[ren]"
who hope these candidacies are "simply a bad dream." They clearly yearn for the good old
days when men were men, politicians were corrupt, and women were content to be brainless
sexual objects and/or left-wing scolds.
McMahon and O'Donnell are different candidates with varying strengths who have come from behind to threaten insiders of both parties. McMahon has the best chance, with the current Real Clear Politics average moving her within 4% of her Democrat opponent. The latest Rasmussen polls show that McMahon "has almost closed the gap on a race that Democrats at one time thought they couldn't lose," while O'Donnell is increasingly taken seriously by Delaware voters.
All of a sudden, dogs are walking on two legs and women are thinking for themselves. The elite media world has been turned upside-down. In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell unashamedly offers the opinion that government is a large part of the problem underlying the social and sexual dysfunctions plaguing the nation. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, the senatorial candidate -- who has more executive experience than the president, his cabinet, and all the White House czars and czardines combined -- is proudly running on the notion that jobs originate in markets free from excessive government interference.
The media treatment of the two reflects mainstream anger. Newsweek notes that O'Donnell, "who doesn't have children," climbs the heights of hypocrisy by talking about the effects of Obama policies on "our grandchildren." Meanwhile, the New Yorker piles on. They say she may be the worst figure to hit the American political scene since "that president" of the eighties, Ronald Reagan, what with obviously "loony" views that include "saving sex for marriage." Saving sex for marriage? the iconic magazine asks. Right up there with bowling, Ohio, and trans fats for uncool. A short Manhattan cab ride away, the New York Times is moving from anger at Connecticut Republicans (who have had the effrontery to offer up a woman with significant executive accomplishment, no political experience, and proudly lower-middle class roots) to a sort of befuddled nostalgia. Witness the latest from a Times political correspondent who mourns the good ol' days when his "home state" was the kind of place "where the business of campaigns and governance used to be ... predictable." Like a four-year-old forced to take a time-out in the corner, the newspaper's chief political correspondent, Matt Bai, has been reduced to moaning to the newspaper's dwindling readership, "It's not fair!"
He just doesn't understand. The voters have been offered a conventional blue-chip Democratic candidate, lifelong politician and Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. This is Democratic leadership-in-a-box, with Harvard University and Yale Law School and a wealthy family just the beginning. He also has no experience in business and a history of lavish living on the public's dime. Think John Kerry without the personality and wealthy wife.
Add to all of this the ultimate resume enhancement for insider political life: he lies. When it became expedient to do so, for example, he lied about his support for global warming taxes (don't be fooled by my active pursuit of increased taxes on utilities -- "yes" really means "no"), lied about his record in Vietnam (what I meant by saying I served in Vietnam is that I once shook the hand of a waiter who had served in a Vietnamese restaurant), and lied about accepting money from lobbyists (what I said was I'd never accept money in a lobby...).
To the New York Times, the lies and the pedigree and party translate into a surefire win. After all, Blumenthal "has faithfully done the people's business all these years," explains Bai, himself an Ivy League veteran of the progressive persuasion. Blumenthal began his career as the choice of a classic "cigar classic cigar-chomping party boss" who wielded "nearly absolute power" in Democratic states like Connecticut, Bai writes wistfully. And the deep-blue state was all the better for it as "old-school ... politics" produced more than a half-century of Democratic politicians and the occasional Republican lookalike sharing a common interest in siphoning off the contents of taxpayer wallets.
Meanwhile, down in Delaware, it is all sex and the single O'Donnell. Never mind her obvious brains. There is something wrong with her because she is not for sexual promiscuity. Even veteran Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) noticed: "I think women have got to start getting mad about the way they're treating her. It's been pretty darn rude and vicious." The media, of course, ignore the substance of her position, that an out-of-control government is using the public treasury to fund activities that the majority of Americans oppose. God, or Darwin, forbid the mainstream media should think out of the box. Instead, they are drearily predictable (as Allahpundit called the Saturday Night Live parody of O'Donnell), deriding women who refuse to be stereotyped. O'Donnell believes in abstinence, individual responsibility, and the need for relational intimacy before sexual intimacy. Obviously "deeply confused," declare the digital arms of the Washington Post, as everyone knows that the "American people want more public spending" in all areas, including sexual education and abortion.
Two independent women of different backgrounds and views on social issues, each holding up a hand and demanding, "Stop the spending." They represent a new politics in which no stereotypes need apply. And they have reduced the Times reporters and other mainstream journalists to the level of stressed robots in a bad science fiction film wandering around an alien landscape and mumbling, "This does not compute, this does not compute, this does not..."
Stuart Schwartz, a former media and retail executive, is on the faculty of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.