The party of government

Posted: Dec 12, 2004 12:00 AM

They dominate the news media, Hollywood and academia. They teach us, tell us the news, show us their documentaries, television programs and movies. And yet, they can't get us to vote for their guy, the Democrat.

Why not?

First, for any doubting Thomases, let's demonstrate that liberals, progressives, Democrats, whatever-you-call 'em, control these institutions of mass instruction. Survey after survey of the media shows its leaders and workers are overwhelmingly liberal and vote for Democrats, often diametrically opposite the public's majority viewpoint:

  • A Pew Research Center survey of journalists and media executives conducted earlier this year found journalists identify themselves as liberals as opposed to conservatives by a five-to-one margin.
  • In a 1997 poll for the Center for Media & Public Affairs, 66 percent of respondents agreed that news media "favor a liberal point of view."
  • A Freedom Forum survey found that 89 percent of the Washington press corps voted for Bill Clinton over George Herbert Walker Bush and Ross Perot in 1992, while Clinton garnered only 43 percent of the popular vote.

And none of this is new.

In 1984, when Ronald Reagan was rolling up the biggest landslide in modern history, an extensive poll of journalists found they voted for Walter Mondale and his tax-increase promise by a two-to-one margin. In 1972, when Richard Nixon was walloping George McGovern in every state except Massachusetts (including McGovern's home state of South Dakota), 81 percent of the nation's media elite voted for McGovern.

As for a liberal slant in Hollywood, well, Hollywood has "progressed" even beyond most progressives. And those who doubt the slant need only turn on their TV set or go to a movie.

Consider the spate of movies in recent years ? as well as TV's The West Wing ? showcasing a liberal president as the hero and conservatives as the "bad guys." When the very first drama comes out presenting a conservative as the hero and a liberal as the bad guy, get back to me and I'll reconsider my comments.

I won't hold my breath.

As for our nation's education establishment, the teachers' unions have become the most powerful element in the Democratic base and "education" drives the insatiable appetite of government for more of our money. Nonetheless, it never seems reflected in student performance.

Furthermore, in higher education, the liberal bias is even greater. In a recent column, entitled "The Left's last paradise," George Will writes, "One study of 1,000 professors finds that Democrats outnumber Republicans at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. That imbalance, more than double what it was three decades ago, is intensifying because younger professors are more uniformly liberal than the older cohort that is retiring."

Now, if space aliens approaching our planet were informed that liberals ? supportive of Democrats and hostile to Republicans ? control the media, academia and the entertainment industry, the aliens might reasonably expect Democrats to be popular and in power.

They would be badly mistaken, of course. But why? What has allowed conservative Republicans to overcome so much public chattering against them? Republicans are on the ascendancy and now control all three branches of the federal government.

Yet, the Democrats have somehow retained the mantle of the party of government ? a VERY BIG government, largely unpopular with the American people. (And, shhhhhhh, run by Republicans.)

During the recent campaign, liberal Democrat John Kerry did level some intelligent strikes at the Bush administration. Indeed, united Republican government has promoted reckless spending and increased deficits. In short, bigger government. But then, in every speech, Kerry went on to advocate additional program after program. No problem, no matter how small, lacked a federal government solution. The National Taxpayers Union calculated that Kerry's new spending would have totaled over $226 billion in his first year.

Most Americans, as Democrats regularly remind us, desire good schools, good roads, and other public bennies. But unlike liberals, voters are also concerned about costs. Most Americans long ago learned an important lesson about government: Progress does not consist in piling up federal programs.

Most Americans realize that public resources are limited, and that if we demand one thing from the government, we probably have to give up something else. This common-sense approach is not just a right-wing understanding, it is the view of people of good sense of all parties ? precisely the people to whom I address my free Common Sense e-letter.

Liberals, on the other hand, pretend that nothing has to be given up. Not in government. We can have it all.

There was a reason our pandering former president, Bill Clinton, said, "The era of big government is over." Though uttered as a diversion, the nation's Democrat-in-chief knew the statement summed up where the American people were. And are today. And wish that Washington would visit.

Republicans will continue to win as long as Democrats remain the first party of big government. That wouldn't be so bad, if only Republicans would stop being the second party of big government.