Victor Davis Hanson dissects the 2012 election, offering as a conclusion a rather picturesque and unfortunate metaphor:
Mitt Romney was a glittering Sir Galahad who, given his impressive horse, armor, and lance, along with his decency and piety, assumed that he could win a joust in a fair charge against the other team’s knight. Instead he waded into a sudden fray where he was swarmed, mobbed, cut off, pulled off his magnificent steed, had his matchless armor yanked away by a mob of foot soldiers, and then, once stripped clean, was clubbed and maced beyond recognition.
Along the way Hanson mentions some inescapable truths:
The Mainstream Media Still Rules.
Without Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox News, the Drudge Report, the conservative blogs, and the conservative dailies and magazine, the conservative cause would be lost. But with that said, do not quite believe the mainstream media is dead because the New York Times or Washington Post is nearly insolvent or the print version of Newsweek will shortly be defunct. The fact is that the liberal press is insidious. The worst network news anchors still have larger ratings on most nights than does The O’Reilly Factor. NPR, with 900 stations, draws more listeners than most right-wing talk hosts. It does not matter much that no one watches MSNBC if they watch NBC. It matters nothing that Air America went broke without an audience. When you tally together the cultural influence of the NY Times, Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CBS, ABC, and NBC, and then consider the slant of a USA Today or People magazine, it all adds up. Worse perhaps are the biases of AP, Reuters, Bloomberg News, Google, Yahoo, and the other wire services that feed supposedly neutrally reported news to local affiliates that ensure their prejudices are aired as disinterested information. Don’t forget the influence of the hard-left British and European presses. Conservatives are gradually catching up, but for the foreseeable future they have a real problem: slanted liberal news is still passed off as Walter-Cronkite mainstream apolitical news, and conservative alternatives are dismissed as shrill partisanship — and lots of clueless Americans believe that. When an author appears on Fox, he is dismissed as rank book plugger; when he goes on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, he is a literary figure. That the mainstream media was shamelessly partisan meant a 3-4% edge for Obama that was hard to erase.
Racial Preemption Works.
For most of 2012 the media created a preemptive charge that Republicans were racists, as everything from mentioning golf or the word “Chicago” was declared prejudicial. Romney was supposedly the new Andrew Johnson who would wreck civil rights in the way the latter undermined Reconstruction. The point was not that Democrats believed any of this racialism, but that it prepped the campaign battlefield to prevent Romney, as it had prevented McCain, from running the sort of bare-knuckles campaigns that Ronald Reagan had run against Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush had run against Michael Dukakis, and George W. Bush had run against John Kerry. The fact that “Racist! Racist!” is now a broken record — Eric Holder gets into hot water over his knowledge of Fast and Furious and suddenly his auditors are racists; Susan Rice misleads the country and suddenly her critics are racists and sexists — does not mean that it does not work in deterring critics. A white liberal can all but destroy Condoleezza Rice or Alberto Gonzalez and feel very liberal, but a peep about Barack Obama or Susan Rice from a white male is akin to a KKK slur. The next Republican candidate must be ready to reply to all sorts of false charges and to make them rebound on the accusers. When the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who gave the 2008 inaugural benediction, right before the election announces in a public speech that white people belong in Hell — and no one dares challenge him (why not just a “Mr. President, do you object to Rev. Lowery’s racist remarks?”) — these preemptory charges of racism have proved effective. Tribal politics must be questioned not encouraged: the black vote, the Latino vote, the Asian vote — all this leads to the Balkans or Rwanda. Better to play the long-term strategy, deplore racial tribalization, and remind the country at large that we simply have too many disparate groups with too many conflicting agendas and too many claims against a shrinking majority to continue the present spoils system.
Click the link to read the tragic rest of it. As usual, Professor Hanson's analysis is well-reasoned.