The Guardian on North Carolina's Senate Race: WTF?

Through the looking glass with Tillis & friends
The Guardian

It’s always interesting when the foreign press tries to grok U.S. politics these days; at some level, domestic journalists seem to have gotten used to the practice of voters, candidates, and officeholders alike talking out of their keisters with no acknowledgment of pesky reality. But then a correspondent from a publication such as The Guardian swoops in, and you can almost hear the befuddled expressions of, basically, “WTF?”

So it was recently, with a story about the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina by Dan Roberts, the British paper’s D.C. editor:

Yet with every campaign rally, door step skirmish and exchange of artillery between [Kay] Hagan and her Republican rival Thom Tillis in the war of the airwaves, the rhetorical battle of Obamacare becomes ever more divorced from the complex realities of US healthcare …

At a rally for conservative Republicans last month in Charlotte, Obamacare soundbites proved a guaranteed way to fire up the audience. Yet even political activists start to get a little fuzzy when they stray into details.

Timothy Elkin, a 24-year-old from Asheville, North Carolina, is typical of a younger, hipper crowd drawn to Tea Party policies, but whom the establishment candidate Tillis will have to take with him if he is to defeat Hagan in November. “We have a federal government that forces us to buy Obamacare,” he told the rally for Tillis’s now-defeated Tea Party rival Greg Brannon.

“They expect young people, people that are not at a financial stable point in our lives, they expect us to subsidise the old and sick – that is insane.”

A reality-based journalist would expect the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate to dwell in a reality-based universe. And yet Roberts’ interview with Tillis yields this:

Any hope that a new Republican intake in 2014 might ease the current gridlock with Democrats is dashed by Tillis who seems oblivious even to limited recent compromises in Congress such as over the federal budget. “It takes two to pass a budget … when a budget gets signed by the president that’s when they’ve solved the problem”, he says, despite the fact that both parties and Obama did agree to just such a deal.

This is genteel, objective-journalism code for: “This guy is full of it.” It’s heartening to see The Guardian point this out. But, as I’ve written before, the Senate race is further evidence (as if we needed any more) that American political campaigns are increasingly fought at the level of people who believe the moon is made of extra-firm tofu.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest