Both sides slip sliding away from the political middle

It all depends on your perspective. Once again Mitchell’s general theory of political relativity is proved. What you observe depends on where you are standing.

An IBD editorial today recounts the left accusing the those on the right of shifting further right. Depends on how far left they are, right?

The editorial includes a quote from Brookings Institute’s Thomas Mann saying:

“Republicans have become a radical insurgency — ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of their political opposition.”

Your government also thinks that conservatives are prone to violence and is willing to spend a half a million of your money to study Internet activity of right-wingers and Islamic extremists, but mostly right-wingers.

The Justice Department awarded Michigan State University $585,719 to study “messages that promote extremist agendas and radicalize individuals to violence.”

Occupy Wall Street, riots in Missouri and Maryland? No need to study those.

According to a Washington Post blog, the right is moving faster to the right than the left is moving to the left.

Supposedly this is backed up by data developed by Kenneth Poole and Howard Rosenthal, showing Republicans in Congress have drifted from the center more so than Democrats. Here is the chart:


Looks like both are drifting and it depends on where you draw the center.

Remember that 2009 Homeland Security report that said conservatives and the unemployed represent a danger, especially returning veterans?

“Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

“Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and apppeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning. …

“The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

It also noted that some these dangerous extremists “are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority …”

That used to be called Federalism. I always thought those Radical Founders needed to be watched.


22 comments on “Both sides slip sliding away from the political middle

  1. nyp says:

    Actually, Mr. Mitchell, although I remember the 2009 Department of Homeland Security Report, I do not in fact remember that it said that “conservatives and the unemployed represent a clear and present danger.”

    That is because no such statement appears in the report.
    It simply isn’t there.

    As is so often the case on this website, the dramatic quotation you present is a complete fabrication.

    What is it with you wingers and bogus quotes?

  2. Clear and present danger description came from Morgan Brittany a year ago. IBD mistakenly attributed to the report:

    “Who is a threat? Is it a member of the tea party? Someone who speaks out against Obamacare or takes issue with the administration’s policies? Someone the NSA has listened to and feels is a problem? We saw what happened with the IRS targeting – can military arrests be far behind? This idea would be considered folly except for the fact that in 2009 there was a DHS report entitled ‘Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalism and Recruitment.’ It specifically stated that conservatives and the unemployed represent a clear and present danger.”

  3. Rez says:

    What is it with some people taking stuff out of context? The phrase nyp objects to was a summary of the paper, *followed* by a quote from the paper.

    And I get pretty much the same thing from reading said paper:

    Anyone who doesn’t like the government is hereby classed as a potentially dangerous extremist.

    For those weak on the concept, that’s a summary, not a quote.

  4. Patrick says:

    “Remember that 2009 Homeland Security report that said conservatives and the unemployed represent a danger, especially returning veterans?”

    This was Thomas’ statement, which does not state that it is a “summary”. It appears to be a quote, even while not in quotation marks.

    Which, to me, is a misrepresentation of what the “report” actually said.

  5. nyp says:

    Nothing was taken out of context. A professional journalist presented a purported quotation from a government intelligence report. The quote turned out to be a fabrication. It doesn’t appear in the government report at all. Instead it comes from some crazy internet person named “Morgan Brittany.”

    The fact that the quote might be an accurate summary of the message of the government report is irrelevant. If I were a cub reporter and an error like that made its way into my newspaper my editor would be furious at me. And he or she would forthrightly correct the error.

    But that’s the problem with the decline of newspapers in the internet era: no editors.

  6. This was the earliest story I could locate…where the contested words were in fact a summary and NOT a quote. Subsequent editorials and stories used quotation marks…because they were quoting the summary from this story…which is very relevant.

  7. nyp says:

    Yup. That’s how the right-wing echo chamber works. A single falsehood gets repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated all over the internet until it has acquired the force of authority. And no one bothers to conduct elementary fact-checking. Not even former newspaper people.

  8. Yep…and that’s how the left wing echo chamber works…making a mountain out of a mole hill and ignoring the relevant points at hand made by that earliest post.

  9. I agree. Not enough editors. A mistake was made and corrected. Thanks for the catch.

  10. Steve says:

    Nyp shows his prejudice again!

    “Morgan Brittany has been a film, television and stage actress for over 50 years. She began her career as a child appearing in the films “The Birds”, “Gypsy” and “Yours, Mine and Ours”. She appeared in over 150 television shows and became a member of the cast of the enormously successful show “Dallas”. Morgan spent 10 years raising money for the March of Dimes as a celebrity ambassador and national spokesperson. She has been married for 31 years and has 2 children. In 2001, she became one of the first openly outspoken conservatives in Hollywood. She has appeared many times on Sean Hannity’s Great American Panel for Fox News, Dennis Miller’s television show, and many conservative radio programs across the country. Morgan now spends much of her time devoted to military organizations and other conservative causes. Her greatest passion is speaking on behalf of the greatness of America.”

    “Morgan Brittany is the anchorwoman for the webcast talk show PolitiChicks, a longtime actress and conservative activist. She is the coauthor of “What Women Really Want,” which will be released in September 2014. Her website is”

    Now, I realize it is perfectly fine for Hollywood types to support liberal causes,,,but if ANY of the Hollywood elite try to express ANY conservative views it becomes time to call them “some crazy internet person ” or worse.

  11. nyp says:

    As I said, a crazy internet person.

  12. Steve says:

    But Rosie O’Donnell is perfectly sane!

  13. nyp says:

    I would never ever say that. She believes that the US government was involved in the attack on the World Trade Centrer.

  14. Steve says:

    Oh, maybe THAT is what got her expelled off “The View”

  15. Steve says:

    Russell Brand must be more your style.

  16. One takes the high road…one continues to wallow in the mud.

  17. Rincon says:

    Thank You Thomas. Somehow, This pretty much confirms what is normal human behavior. If someone declares himself to be my enemy, I’m probably going to want to keep an eye on him. Since Liberals rarely talk of destroying or dismantling government, then why would government put them under surveillance? Unless we can show the government interfering with the lives of innocent people or breaking laws, I don’t see much that can be done.

  18. nyp says:

    Today’s fun fact: in President Obama’s seventh year in office both federal taxes and federal outlays are projected to be a smaller percentage of GDP than they were at the end of Ronald Reagan’s seventh year in office.

  19. Steve says:

    Thanks to the ’10 election cycle, Nyp.

  20. Rincon says:

    Reagan spent money like water.

  21. Rincon says:

    BTW, Newsweek just featured an article claiming that many of Timothy McVeigh’s extreme (at the time) views are now embraced by large numbers of Conservatives. Being nuts doesn’t automatically make him wrong, of course. Maybe just ahead of his time.

  22. Steve says:

    Lets not forget Rosie O’Donnell, Rincon. Nyp made certain to point out she is now considered extreme.

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