It is interesting to watch and listen to all the pundits from the left and the right interpreting the results of the recent election. I often wonder how can these people be paid such big money for missing the point, not knowing history, or feeling they MUST give a specific political point of view. Whatever happened to objective and professional journalism?
When I listen to the BBC it is as though I am hearing the news from another planet. Thank goodness for the BBC! To be restricted to the unscholarly and slanted news in the U.S. is like living at the bottom of a barrel. Occasionally NPR offers some journalistic perspective, but they do not have either the staff nor the resources to cover the world the way the BBC does. I try to supplement my broadcast news with periodicals from England also. But it is still difficult to get the straight news from real journalists. The broadcast news networks think they are being principled when they put on a viewpoint from the right and one from the left. Hint: the news should not be presented as "from the left or the right." There is plenty of room for slanted, ignorant, ranting from both political perspectives. And ratings will not always be captured by loud, unprincipled shouting and distortion. Today's broadcast ratings are a little like early TV wrestling matches. Some people believed those wrestling matches were honest. Some people believe that broadcasts by Obermann, Rush, Glenn, etc. are real news, real journalism. It scares me that this is how politics is being played out in America.
While the pundits are concluding that the recent election was all and only about a swing to the right, slowly some real news is seeping out that indicates that is or was not the case. Democrats still outnumber Republicans in the American electorate. But people with the strongest need and investiture in their political position are right-wingers. And they go out to the polls in far greater percentages. In the 2008 election it was different because there was perceived cause for left-wingers to "bother" to vote. And so a young black man was elected President of the United States. The young, Latinos, women, etc. came out in greater percentages to vote than usual.
A case in point is what caused the recent shift in the election. Was it because the nation has shifted farther to the right? Absolutely not! It was a vote to "throw the bums out!"
The election in Alaska is a case in point. The Republicans in Alaska turned out to nominate Joe Miller. But it now appears that the people found out how far to the right Miller is, and may have decided to give the Senate officeholder, Lisa Murkowski, the miracle of winning a write-in vote. That almost never happens. Murkowski is a moderate Republican. She may be the first write-in candidate elected to the Senate since 1954! I love what Murkowski stated strongly and deliberately: "To hell with politics! Let's do what's right for Alaska." That doesn't sound very extreme to the right, and she stuffed the election in the Republican Party's face.
"She [Murkowski] will also embarrass Sarah Palin, whose endorsement of Miller pushed him to prominence. While Palin often wrapped herself in Alaska's rugged independence, Murkowski engages with the state's more practical concerns, and her apparent success proves how effective that can be." [William Yardley, New York Times]
Whether you are a right-winger, a left-winger, or simply an American there is something about what happened in Alaska that gives us hope. And we should learn that all the pundits can be wrong. And many of the extreme pundits are wrong quite often, especially about principles and professionalism.