The Season of Political Mea Culpas Begins

Apologies do not really restore political credibility
July 31, 2022 Updated: August 2, 2022


There are just over 100 days until the U.S. mid-term elections, and consternation is acute in certain quarters. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports indicates that the Republican lead in the generic congressional vote has now increased to 10 points, which is up 2 points just in the past week.

A generic congressional ballot is a polling mechanism that asks responders what their political party preferences are “today,” as opposed to their opinions on specific named candidates. The Rasmussen poll explains why this number is critical: “In July 2018, before voters handed Democrats their first House majority in eight years, Democrats held a seven-point advantage (47% to 40%) in the generic ballot question.”

This spells disaster for the Democrats, who currently run both the Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result, various people are coming forward trying to convince voters that the Democrat Party is really not as radical as the White House staff, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and other leftwing activists associated with the Party and media sycophants have conveyed during the Biden administration.

Before we get to the handwringing, judge for yourself whether the policies of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the Biden administration, and the Democrat Party in general are properly labeled as “radical.” Here are a few key items from the CPC’s recommendations for executive action from March  [comments in brackets below]. Note that the progressives demand “executive action,” which amounts to the actions of a dictator, as opposed to legislative action, because they know that these extreme policies will never be passed by Congress:

  • Redouble multilateral efforts to secure a global emergency waiver for monopoly rights on COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics [just what we don’t need; mandates on a global scale, and nothing about reinforcing personal choice in the decision-making process]
  • Cancel federal student load debt [pure political pandering; the progressives wave away personal accountability and responsibility while blithely adding to the federal debt]
  • Advance immigrants’ rights [a plethora of giveaways that facilitate the ongoing invasion of illegal aliens across the US–Mexico border]
  • A task force on prosecutorial discretion to collect and implement best practices and innovations at the state and local levels to reduce over-criminalization [a continued push to let criminals walk away free, as a number of leftwing prosecutors around the country have been doing, e.g., in Democrat-run New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and San Francisco]
  • Reduce the use of deadly force by police officers, demilitarize law enforcement, and advance non-carceral responses to safety [translation: defund the police, which has been the Democrat Party’s rallying cry for the last several years – with crime stats in Democrat-run cities going through the roof]
  • Reduce fossil fuel dependence and invest in clean, affordable, homegrown energy [ask the Sri Lankans, Ghanaians, Germans, French, and others how their transition to “green energy” has been working out. And how is $5 a gallon gasoline working out here at home?]
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Gasoline prices at an Exxon gas station, in Edgewater, N.J., on June 14, 2022. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
  • Advance corporate transparency through a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose information about their exposure to climate-related risks [the SEC’s environmental, social, and governmental (ESG) reporting requirements are the Democrat Party’s unconstitutional weaponization of the federal government to coerce businesses to “go green” by bypassing Congress in the rule-making]

And then there are the host of social, cultural, foreign policy, and national security issues that Democrats have been pushing: full-throated support for LGBTQI activism and grooming in public schools (also flying LGBTQI “pride” flags at U.S. embassies abroad); pushing a “transgender bill of rights”; Marxist critical race theory (also known as diversity, equity, and inclusion) education in public schools and the military; shutting down domestic production of oil and gas; massive government spending contributing to 9.1 percent inflation in June; weaponization of the Department of Justice and FBI against the political opponents of Democrats; a wide-open United States–Mexico border and the resultant spike in drug and human trafficking; a two-tiered justice system (e.g. January 6 protestors prosecuted to the hilt while violent BLM/Antifa thugs are let off easy); forcing unvaccinated military members out of the service; purging the military of extremists (as defined by Democrats); the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle; declaring economic war against Russia by circumventing the War Powers Act; pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran that would result in an Iranian bomb; kowtowing to communist China on a number of issues, including sending oil from the U.S. strategic reserve to China; massive supply chain problems exacerbated by Democrat policies (as noted here); and the Department of Homeland Security’s disinformation office start-up.

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Leyna Bloom, the first trans woman of color to appear in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, participates in the New York City Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue, New York City, on June 26, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

None of these issues are popular among a broad swath of Americans; each one panders to a narrow slice of the Democrat base and donor class. For example, Biden is being pushed by Green New Deal (GND) advocates in Congress to “declare a climate emergency” and enact policies aimed at implementing portions of the GND without congressional participation and consent. Yet, on July 20, a Fox News “America’s Newsroom” segment “highlighted a new poll showing just 1% of voters believe climate change is the top issue for the country to address.”

This is the kind of tin-eared fundamental disconnect that found the Democrats trailing Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by ten points. That poll is the direct result of Democrats pursuing their own political agendas (instead of focusing on the real concerns of the majority of Americans), and believing their own public relations and cheerleaders in the legacy media.

Never mind that Democrat policies have failed. They are delivering record gasoline prices and inflation, with no end in sight, nor any Democrat discussion of ending those policies and actually fixing the problems.

Some Democrats and media figures recognize the political shoal waters ahead. The New York Times published eight mea culpas from their opinion writers, including Paul Krugman, Bret Stephens, Gail Collins, David Brooks, Michelle Goldberg, Thomas Friedman, Zeynep Tufekei, and Farhad Manhoo. All of these left-leaning columnists regretted “mistakes made” in essentially furthering leftwing narratives about Trump supporters, the “power of protest,” capitalism, Mitt Romney, Facebook, the #MeToo movement, Chinese censorship, and the causes of inflation, as reported here and here.

Some might call this a desperate move to regain some semblance of credibility at the Times. Recent polls have shown that trust in the legacy media has dropped to record lows, as reported here on July 21: “Just 16% of U.S. adults now say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in newspapers and 11% in television news.” But credibility, once lost through a stream of lies on big issues, is very difficult to regain.

Think about these whoppers, propagated for years: Trump–Russia collusion; the Ukraine hoax/impeachment; the Mueller special counsel fraud; January 6 was an “armed insurrection;” Trump supposedly referring to Nazis and white supremacists as “very fine people;” claims of election fraud in 2020 are “baseless;” BLM/Antifa riots are “mostly peaceful;” hydroxychloroquine is dangerous and doesn’t work against COVID-19; and, Joe Biden is a moderate who will “restore America.”

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Members of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol are seen during the fifth public hearing of the committee, in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 2022. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Ask Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol how they like roaming in the media wilderness after having jumped the shark in conservative media by dissing Donald Trump. Their credibility in conservative circles is shot full of holes. So, too, at most of the major media, including The New York Times. Why should anyone believe people who got it so wrong on so many issues—and all seemingly in one political direction, that is, in favor of Democrat Party narratives?

Let’s face it: if The New York Times was truly serious about restoring its credibility, the Pulitzer Prize received by Maggie Haberman for her “Trump–Russia collusion” reporting would be returned and an op-ed posted apologizing for misleading the readership and perpetuating the Democrats’ political hoax. But that’s not going to happen because they’re not serious. As Democrat enablers, they are saying these things now to make the Democrat Party look more moderate to voters than it really is.

More mea culpas are popping up as Democrat mayors like New York’s Eric Adams lament the resulting police force drawdown stemming from “defund the police” and other progressive policy nonsense. They’re coming from people like Brooke Jenkins, the new San Francisco district attorney who ousted soft-on-crime Chesa Boudin, and who is taking tepid steps to tighten up criminal prosecutions.

Will the media try to provide shade for Democrats by claiming that they’re really old-school moderates as opposed to the flaming lefties that we have seen in Congress over the past two years? Can the credibility of Democrats and their media allies somehow be salvaged in the presence of $5 gasoline, 9.1 percent inflation, and the recession?

Despite being wrong for years, we are now supposed to believe that Democrat mea culpas—and we will hear many more before November as the Democrats try to salvage their political hopes—are actually genuine. We’re supposed to believe that we should ignore what they said before, but believe what they say now. Sorry. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.