Over the years, Democrats and the mainstream media have fashioned an array of myths about Republicans.
According to those stereotypes, Republicans and especially conservatives are racist, homophobic, uncaring about the poor, mean-spirited, greedy, selfish, and intolerant.
Thus, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary, has said that conservatives are selfish and “pander to the worst of us.”
Sen. Charles Schumer said on Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time,” “There are some, you know, there are some anti-Semites in this country, but most of them would vote Republican anyway.”
Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has said conservatives and Republicans are “evil,” “corrupt,” “brain-dead,” and “not very nice people” who have “never made an honest living in their lives.”
Katie Couric has said that during the Reagan era, “greed and materialism was the norm.”
The biggest myth is that Republicans are the party of no and have no real plan for cutting spending. To be sure, Republicans want to roll back measures they consider damaging to the country, such as President Obama’s healthcare bill. They do not consider more legislation and more government spending necessarily a good thing, as Democrats do.
But commentators repeatedly ignore the fact that Republicans over the past year have proposed a variety of incremental measures to improve healthcare coverage. They include allowing competition across state lines, limiting lawsuit awards, and expanding existing state pools for those who cannot obtain coverage otherwise.
For months, news outlets from the New York Times to CBS News have been saying Republicans have no real plan to cut spending. “Where’s the beef?” William M. Daley, Obama’s chief of staff, asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Jan. 30.
That ignores dozens of specific cuts proposed in recent months by the House’s Republican Study Committee, a caucus of conservative members.
The list runs from bringing spending unrelated to security back to fiscal year 2008 levels and repealing the $45 billion in remaining stimulus spending to eliminating more than 100 government programs listed on the RSC website.
Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced that Republicans are formally proposing to slice more than $58 billion requested by President Obama for agency budgets covering the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.
Immediately, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid dismissed the GOP plan as “unworkable” and said the government could be headed for a shutdown.
Indeed, the latest myth created by Democrats is that Republicans intend to shut down the government over efforts to cut spending. In fact, Republicans have no intention of doing so, as House Speaker John Boehner said on Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday” on Jan. 30.
“We are against a government shutdown,” Dr. Paul Teller, executive director of the RSC, tells me. As to spending cuts, “Conservatives in the House and Senate, by way of the Spending Reduction Act, have already detailed billions and billions of dollars of spending reductions over 10 years,” Teller says.
“And we’ll continue to detail more reductions in our amendment to the continuing resolution to fund agencies later this month. Anyone who claims that Republicans have not put forth any specifics simply isn’t paying good attention," Teller said.
In contrast to some of the other myths about Republicans, liberals are actually less compassionate and more selfish than conservatives, according to surveys of liberals and conservatives cited in Peter Schweizer’s “Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic and Envious, Whine Less . . . and Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals.”
The surveys include the General Social Survey, which regularly asks thousands of Americans their attitudes on a range of issues. Conducted by the University of Chicago and the National Opinion Research Center, the survey is considered among the most authoritative in the world.
Responding to this survey, some 71 percent of conservatives say they have an obligation to care for a seriously injured spouse or parent, compared with 46 percent for liberals. Asked if they would endure all things for the one they love, 55 percent of conservatives say yes, compared with 26 percent of liberals.
Schweizer writes that self-described liberals and Democrats, who profess to be tolerant, are much more likely to embrace stereotypes of Jews than conservatives or Republicans.
Some 45 percent of self-described “strong” Democrats or liberals agree with the statement that Jews are inordinately rich and money-driven, compared with 36 percent of strong Republicans and conservatives.
Schweizer cites similar research — all ignored by the mainstream media — to show that even when they are in the same income brackets, liberals are far more likely to complain about their jobs, families, neighbors, health, and their relative wealth than conservatives.
Liberals are also much more likely to say that money is important to them, according to the surveys Schweizer cites. They are two and a half times more likely to be resentful of others’ success and 50 percent more likely to be jealous of other people’s good luck. Given that Democrats such as President Obama have said they favor wealth redistribution, that should not be surprising.
Schweizer notes that when Reich ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, his tax returns revealed income of more than $1 million, but he contributed just $2,714 to charity, or less than 0.3 percent.
In contrast, George Bush gave 10 percent of his income to charity in 2005. In 2005, Barack Obama made $1.7 million, or 2.5 times what Bush made that year, but gave the same amount to charity as Bush did. That same year, Dick Cheney gave away 77 percent of his income to charity.
“The media have perpetuated these myths about conservatives over the years,” Schweizer tells me. “And the media were very comfortable passing these things along because they conformed to their world view.”
Of course, individual liberals may be just as generous as conservatives. And at both extremes of the political spectrum, you find some who express offensive views that contribute to stereotypes. A prime example is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Obama’s former minister, whose anti-white racist comments included the claim that America created the AIDS virus to kill off blacks.
But extremes from left and right aside, the surveys spotlight the difference between the truth and the reality when it comes to Republicans. In doing so, they underscore how successful Democrats and the media have been at creating myths about them.
Like prejudice against Jews, blacks, Muslims, and other minorities, those myths should be exposed and denounced.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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