American Elephants

Who Are The Extremists, Indeed? by The Elephant's Child


Andrew Kohut is founding director and former president of the Pew Research Center. He served as president of the Gallup Organization from 1979 to 1989. Pew is a very liberal organization.

He says: “The recent polarization of American politics has been far more obvious on the right than the left. The emergence of the tea party movement and its influence in Congress has brought to the fore political values that are more conservative than the average voter.”

Democrats have been unusually frightened by the Tea Party. They are unaccustomed to Republicans carrying signs and flags and demonstrating. Demanding that the Constitution be followed and honored. Republicans don’t normally do that sort of thing, so they must be radical rightists. “Radical Right”is a term that immediately calls up the epithet “racist” from Democrats because the Republicans are obviously the party of, um, abolition, freeing the slaves, making sure that blacks are treated as citizens and given the right to vote, desegregating the schools, and passing the civil rights bill. Democrats are the party of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, Segregation, the “Solid South,” the Dixiecrats, Bull Connor, poll taxes, lynching, and burning crosses, so naturally they call everyone else “racist.” They’ve even gone so far as to try to convince blacks that Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat.

The Tea Party is remarkably scary. They gather together with flags with snakes on them, and sing and have a good time and clean up every scrap of litter after themselves. Scary!


Mr. Kohut continues: “Polarization is not a one-way street. While Republicans have become more conservative, Democrats have grown more liberal. The Pew Research Center’s values surveys, spanning 1987 to 2012, show that Democrats as a whole have moved to the left in recent years. They are much more socially liberal than they were even a decade ago, more supportive of an activist government, more in favor of increased regulation of business. Under the more centrist Obama administration, the leftward movement of Democratic voters has been of limited political consequence.” (Isn’t it wonderful how completely oblivious Liberals can be?) How could anyone suggest that the Obama administration is “centrist?”

Only 34 percent of Democrats called themselves liberal, compared with  63 percent identifying as moderate or conservative. In contrast, conservatives are a clear majority (67 percent) in the GOP while self-described moderate and liberal Republicans make up just 32 percent of the party. This might ensure that Democrats will not be come identified as an extremist party like the GOP.

First, in-depth Pew Research surveys find that many liberals are cynical about achievement. Most don’t agree with the statement that “people can get ahead if they work hard,” and relatively few fully agree that they admire people who have become rich through hard work.

Second, liberals give low priority to dealing with the budget deficit, a major concern for much of the electorate, and they are the only political segment that expresses majority support for paying higher prices for the sake of the environment.

Third, liberals are also significantly to the left of the rest of the Democratic Party on social issues. Unlike other Democrats, few liberals say prayer is an important part of their lives, most strongly favor same-sex marriage, nearly all support abortion rights, and a majority support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

And fourth, on foreign policy, most liberals reject the idea that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength; unlike other Democrats, a majority would find it acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful as the United States.

Well, there you go, that’s what Liberals believe. If you want to make a liberal really indignant,just remind them that the Nazi’s were socialists.



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