New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse continued to protect Democrats against Republicans in Saturday’s edition in “Republicans Amplify Culture-War Issues In Bid to Regain Power.” (Um, isn’t the point of electoral politics to gain power?)
The Times has been on a kick of late painting the Republican Party as desperately lurching to weaponize “culture war issues” against the Democrats, with “culture war issues” conveniently redefined on the spot. Hulse even considered the momentous prospect of Democratic Supreme Court packing a mere “culture war issue,” apparently, and a fringe issue not worth worrying about.
A photo caption normalized the controversy over the idea of “systemic racism”: “Senator Mitch McConnell protested a Biden administration proposal promoting education programs that address systemic racism.”
No quotes surrounded the phrase “systemic racism,” the controversial and highly debatable idea that condemns the entire economic and social system in the United States as inherently, irrevocably racist and, at the extreme, sees racism as the single cause for every kind of racial disparity anywhere on earth (click “expand”):
Minutes after a group of congressional Democrats unveiled a bill recently to add seats to the Supreme Court, the Iowa Republican Party slammed Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat and potential Senate candidate, over the issue.
“Will Axne Pack the Court?” was the headline on a statement the party rushed out, saying the move to expand the court “puts our democracy at risk.”
The attack vividly illustrated the emerging Republican strategy for an intensive drive to try to take back the House and the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans are mostly steering clear of Democrats’ economic initiatives that have proved popular, such as an infrastructure package and a stimulus law that coupled pandemic relief with major expansions of safety-net programs, and are focusing instead on polarizing issues that stoke conservative outrage.
Like a loyal liberal, Hulse tried to moderate the “defund the police” calls from the left:
In doing so, they are seizing on measures like the court-expansion bill and calls to defund the police — which many Democrats oppose — as well as efforts to provide legal status to undocumented immigrants and grant statehood to the District of Columbia to caricature the party as extreme and out of touch with mainstream America.
Hulse again accepted the left-wing view of “systemic racism” as objectively factual, lamenting that the GOP has been “hammering at issues of race and sexual orientation, seeking to use Democrats’ push to confront systemic racism and safeguard transgender rights as attack lines.”
Notice that Hulse was fine with Democrats calling Republicans “extreme,” but used quotation marks around Republicans calling Democrats “radical”:
The contrast is likely to define the 2022 races. Democrats will sell the ambitious agenda they are pursuing with Mr. Biden, take credit for what they hope will continue to be a surging economy and portray Republicans as an increasingly extreme party pushing Donald J. Trump’s lies about a stolen election. Republicans, who have embraced the false claims of election fraud and plan to use them to energize their conservative base, will complain of “radical” Democratic overreach and try to amplify culture-war issues they think will propel more voters into their party’s arms.
Similarly, Hulse found harsh terminology with which to characterize Republicans, while offering a shoulder for Democrats to cry on.
Democrats who have fallen victim to the Republican cultural assault concede that it can take a toll and that their party needs to be ready.
Hulse even hinted Democrats were justified in raising the idea of Supreme Court “expansion” (a euphemism) because Republicans were so mean during the Trump era:
On the Supreme Court issue, progressive groups began pushing the idea of an expansion after Mr. Trump was able to appoint three justices, including one to a vacancy that Republicans blocked Barack Obama from filling in the last year of his presidency and another who was fast-tracked right before last year’s election.