In their remarkable spirit of tolerance, the folks at the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR)
. . . has asked Fox News not to identify its news analyst, Juan Williams, with NPR branding when he appears on Fox News because of outrage among its largely liberal listener-base.
That was just too rich. A radio network which leans left on the taxpayer dime upset that one of its commentators appears on a private TV network that supposedly leans right.
And Williams is himself no conservative. But, before these lefties begin their belly-aching, they should actually watch their NPR colleague on FoxNews. Personally, I find his presence there one of the best things about the network. Simply put, he’s a very smart liberal who engages his conservative counterparts.
Not just that, while he wants Obama to succeed, he’s honest about the president’s missteps and failings. He is, in short, a liberal with integrity. I like to listen to Williams because he offers the liberal point of view without bile. He doesn’t bash conservatives; he counters their arguments.
He makes a better cause for liberalism than do those who routinely attack FoxNews and does so on FoxNews. How many other liberals get the chance to make their case in a supposedly conservative forum and do so in a manner which doesn’t antagonize their ideological adversaries?
Well, yesterday, this good man showed that he respects political movements at odds with his own ideas–and the president he supports — when he warned Democrats that there is a danger in their attempts
. . . to dismiss the tea party movement as violent racists deserving of contempt. Demonizing these folks may energize the Democrats’ left-wing base. But it is a big turnoff to voters who have problems with the Democratic agenda that have nothing to do with racism. . . .
But Democrats cannot win elections without capturing the votes of independent-minded swing voters. And that is where writing off the tea party as a bunch of racist kooks becomes self-destructive. The tea party outrage over health-care reform, deficit spending and entitlements run amok is no fringe concern. And it is insulting to all voters to suggest that criticism of President Obama, even by people who want to throw him out of office, is motivated by racism.
. . . are surprisingly mainstream when it comes to their grievances about politics. They fit right in with most American voters who tell pollsters the country has been headed in the wrong direction under both Presidents Bush and Obama. A Pew poll in early March found 71% of Americans “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today.” Republicans and Democrats in Congress have low ratings —23% and 31% approval respectively, according to Pew.
Maybe if more liberals, particularly those in the Administration, were like Juan Williams, our politics would be les polarized. For by labeling Tea Parties as racist — and otherwise dismissing them, they delight in the politics of ideological destruction, further antagonizing their adversaries.
Not just that, if they took conservative ideas — and the Tea Parties — seriously, they might better be able to counter them.