With the battle to frame the meaning of the election ongoing, the media have started to weigh in with a vote for the center. Time, which referred to the ‘94 Republican takeover of Congress as a “GOP Stampede,” calls the center the “new place to be,” while Newsweek’s cover bizarrely claims the election validates the “centrist” politics of George H.W. Bush.
The Nov. 21, 1994, edition of Time magazine—published following that year’s congressional elections, in which Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate—featured the headline “GOP Stampede: A Special Report” on the cover, and featured a graphic of an elephant trampling a donkey.
The Nov. 20 edition of Time—published following the 2006 congressional elections, in which Democrats gained control of the House and the Senate—features the headline “Special Report: The Midterms,” and features as the cover story “Why the center is the new place to be,” by columnist Joe Klein, with a graphic of a Venn diagram.
Newsweek is the latest major media outlet to repeat the falsehood that the 2006 election was an endorsement of conservatism. The latest Newsweek cover story notes:
The American people, as politicians like to say, spoke last week—and spoke in no uncertain terms. The 2006 vote does not suggest an eagerness for a sharp left turn. It seems, rather, to be a plea for a shift from the hard right of the neoconservatives to the center represented by the old man in Houston [former President George H. W. Bush].
The “centrist” ideas “represented” by former President Bush are actually progressive ideas put forward over a year ago. Media reports indicate that the James Baker-led Iraq study group will call for (1) a phased drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq and (2) a diplomatic initiative to engage Iraq’s regional neighbors to help calm ethnic tensions. The Center for American Progress advanced these very steps over a year ago in its Strategic Redeployment plan.