MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 20th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Journalists often throw around political labels as shorthand to describe candidates and their positions. Commentator Cal Thomas says those labels should not go unchallenged.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: David Ignatius recently began his Washington Post column this way—quote—“For all the thunder on the Bernie Sanders left, the most interesting trend in the Democratic campaign this year may be the re-emergence of the moderate wing of the party, led by charismatic new voices: former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.” End quote.
Ignatius goes on to name other members of Congress he considers “moderate.”
The media often use labels to describe politicians and their views. Those labels have included “right-wing,” “extreme right-wing” “far-right,” and when reporting on religion, “fundamentalist.”
Occasionally a politician will be described as “liberal,” but usually in the context of a policy or personality a media person regards favorably.
The biggest problem with labels is that the terms go undefined.
For example: Why is someone considered “moderate” when they vote against protecting the unborn? Senator Amy Klobuchar has repeatedly helped Democrats block bills that would protect unborn babies after 20 weeks. Polls consistently show more than 60 percent of Americans back such legislation. Support for third-trimester abortion has hovered around 10 percent for decades.
That sounds like an extreme policy position to me, not a moderate one.
At an Iowa town hall meeting self-described pro-life Democrat Kristen Day raised the life issue with Pete Buttigieg. She asked if there was room in the party for people like her, and he basically said no.
The Washington Examiner reported Buttigieg’s response this way—quote— “I respect where you are coming from and I hope to earn your vote, but I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you. I am pro-choice, and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision.”
The crowd applauded, before Buttigieg continued—quote—“I know that the difference in opinion that you and I have is one that we have come by honestly, and the best that I can offer… is that if we can’t agree on where to draw the line, the next best thing we can do is agree on who should draw the line and, in my view, it’s the woman who’s faced with that decision in her own life.”
Moderator Chris Wallace then asked Day whether she was satisfied with Buttigieg’s answer. Day said no and pointed to the Democratic Party platform, which “says abortion should be legal up to nine months, that the government should pay for it, and there’s nothing that says people who have a diversity of views on this issue should be included in the party.”
Day’s position should be considered “moderate,” not Buttigieg and the rest of the Democratic presidential field.
Such scrutiny should be applied to many other issues. Is it moderate to favor same-sex marriage? Is a person moderate who wants to raise your taxes, impose new regulations on your business, undercut the Second Amendment, and control your health care?
I trust the American people to answer those questions—much more than I trust the media to do so.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.