The Wall Street Journal is commonly, and mistakenly in my view, thought of as a newspaper with a “conservative” point of view, stemming, I think, first from a failure to separate and distinguish a paper’s editorial point of view from that of the “straight news” writers, and second, from unfamiliarity with the product.
The WSJ editorials are indeed conservative in point of view, but I have long been of the opinion that many if not most of the WSJ writers covering the political and economic beats are for the most part liberals. Many perhaps only mildly so, but it’s hard to tell how left they really are for their liberal slant oozes out in bits and dollops, here and there, usually restrained, in otherwise “straight” news stories. It’s in the subtleties, the different shadings sketched for liberals versus conservatives, and one has to be a regular reader to pick up on this stuff.
But here’s one sans subtlety, from the WSJ of October 26 (link). WSJ writer and columnist Gerald F. Seib has a paean to so-called “moderate,” so called “Blue Dog” Democrats and a lamentation of the bleak reelection prospects many of them are facing. This electioneering puff piece is given front page placement by WSJ editors.
The “Blue Dog” Democrats are, as is well known, Congressmen who talk like conservatives back home but vote like liberals in Washington. When their votes are not needed for passage of a liberal bill they get a pass for a “no” vote they can wave around back home to fool enough foolable voters. But their support for the ultraliberal radicalism of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi has unmasked them and destroyed the myth before suddenly attentive voters, and, as Obama’s mentor and spiritual advisor Rev. Wright famously once said, the chickens are coming home to roost.
But to Seib, on the front page of the WSJ no less, the loss of any of these so-called “moderate” Democrats is a “stark indicator” of how this election could result in a “more polarized” Congress. Apparently to him, the more Congressmen there are who oppose the ultraliberal agenda, the more polarized the Congress is. The Blue Dogs are a “human bridge” connecting Democrats and Republicans, and their loss would be a tragedy. On the Senate side, the late Ted Kennedy is held out by Seib for his ability to “cross the aisle” to “work with” Republicans, but to get them to do what I ask—of course to support the liberal agenda, and John McCain, at least until lately, is held up admiringly as one of those so snookered.
Much of the blame for the dire straits of the Blue Dogs, says Seib, goes to the “tea party movement,” which has produced a “crop” of candidates who, according to an unnamed “senior GOP House aide,” “aren’t interested in coming here to compromise.” How convenient for Seib, finding a “senior” Republican aide, rather than a Democrat one, to slam the tea party movement as loaded with rigid, uncompromising ideologues (how believable is this old bit -- using an anonymous “quote” by a Republican senior insider to slam Republicans?). Don’t you see, says Seib, even responsible Republicans think those damn tea partiers are extremists for not wanting to compromise with Democrats to support the ultraliberal agenda.
Liberals and most conservatives think the WSJ is as reliably conservative as the New York Times is reliably liberal. Would that only be so.
John M Greco