CNN New day Often features analyst John Avlon delivering a comment they call “Reality Check.” But reality took a beating in Thursday’s edition, as he accused Republicans of “purging” moderates since Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964.
Co-host Brianna Keilar put it in place: “Republicans who make a strong right turn and then take out everyone who doesn’t follow them, that’s really nothing new. John Avlon has a ‘Reality Check ‘, including a little now prescient of what Liz Cheney’s dad once did to Colin Powell. John? “
Avlon began: “The purge of Liz Cheney for telling the truth and the Republican rationalizations to demonize his dissent are part of a model of ceding to extremists for short-term political gain. And, at first, it may seem like it is. between conservatives and centrists, but given that Liz Cheney is about as conservative as you are, we see this as something more sinister and cynical. “
Then he made all the difference with Vice President Dick Cheney’s “now ironic” comment on Face the nation in 2009, when he said Rush Limbaugh was more of a Republican than Colin Powell. (Google for this clip, and you get … “DNC War Room”.)
JOHN AVLON: Listen to this now ironic 2009 interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney choosing Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell.
DICK CHENEY: Well, if I had to choose, in terms of being a Republican, I would go with Rush Limbaugh. (mount skip) I think Colin had already quit the party – I had no idea he was still a Republican.
Reality check? Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 (as he endorsed Democrat in 2012, 2016 and 2020). Did Cheney “purge” Powell? In one more complete Townhall clip, when Schieffer went on to ask Cheney if he thought Powell wasn’t really a Republican, Cheney clarified, “I just noticed he endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate this time around, Barack Obama . Guess that’s an indication of his loyalty and interest. ”
But Avlon has avoided the reality of it altogether.
Avlon began with another rant against Senator Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society in the 1950s, once again ignoring a reality: Documents from the Soviet archives showed that Soviet agents had penetrated the federal government after WWII. McCarthy may have recklessly accused some people who weren’t Communists, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t Communists in the federal government.
He also covered the conflict between conservative Barry Goldwater and moderate Nelson Rockefeller in the battle for the 1964 Republican presidential nomination: “Rockefeller spoke at the convention in ’64, condemning extremism, said he There was no room for ‘hate peddlers’ and the KKK – like the KKK in the GOP. He was shouted down. Goldwater continued to lose in a landslide against Lyndon Johnson. “
Avlon ignores the reality that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964. And he ignores that Rockefeller insisted that Republicans purge the Goldwaterites. As John Dickerson noted, “The public was angry again because Rockefeller looked like a Democrat, portraying them as the bad guys in the national morality game.”
Avlon avoided the reality that Republicans named moderate Richard Nixon in 1968 and that Gerald Ford made Rockefeller his vice president in 1974 (he was dumped on the 1976 ticket for Bob Dole.)
He noted that Reagan won in 1980 on a “big tent” approach, but then Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to “purge” the moderates. After noting that the Tea Party movement was targeting moderates, the CNN analyst recalled that there are fewer moderate Republicans in Congress today than there were in the 1990s.
He didn’t mention the same could be said of Democrats – in the 1990s there were dozens of moderate Democrats in Congress. But, over the years, an increase in direct voting meant that moderate Republicans who represented Democratic-leaning districts were replaced by liberal Democrats, while moderate Democrats who represented Republican-leaning districts were replaced by conservative republicans.
Anti-Republican propaganda in this CNN episode New day was sponsored in part by Realtor.com. Their contact details are linked.
The transcription follows:
May 13, 2021
7:13 a.m. Eastern Time
BRIANNA KEILAR: The truth is, Republicans who take a hard right turn and then eliminate whoever doesn’t follow them is nothing new. John Avlon has a “Reality Check” including now somewhat aware of what Liz Cheney’s father once did to Colin Powell. John?
JOHN AVLON; That’s right. Liz Cheney’s purge for telling the truth and Republican rationalizations to demonize her dissent are part of a model of ceding to extremists for short-term political gain. And, at first, it might seem like between conservatives and centrists, but, given that Liz Cheney is about as conservative as you are, we see it as something more sinister and cynical.
Since at least the 1950s there has been a variety called “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Joe McCarthy’s witch hunts were the first evidence. So was the right-wing opposition to Republican President Eisenhower, who was accused by the founder of the John Birch Society of being a Soviet secret agent; and Conservative calls to impeach Chief Justice Earl Warren for presiding over desegregation.
But the GOP had the balance to resist these attacks from within. Get this – under Ike in 1956, Republicans won 39% of the black vote. In 1964, it fell to 6%. Here’s why.
BARRY GOLDWATER, 1964 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINE (in convention speech): Extremism in the defense of freedom is not a vice.
AVLON: Yes, it is Mr. Tory – Barry Goldwater, the 1964 candidate, an advocate for Joe McCarthy, darling of the Birchers – now he has opposed the Civil Rights Act, allegedly for libertarian reasons. Its GOP competitor that year was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller – ridiculed as moderate, even socialist, by some Goldwater supporters.
Rockefeller said, “Look, I’m a foreign policy hawk. I’m a national defense hawk. I’m a dove on national issues. You have two-thirds of me. What more do you want?”
Well, the Conservatives wanted it all or nothing. . Now Reagan is mounted to victory over a large tent, warning that “My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy” But leaders like George HW Bush have been attacked from the right by warriors of culture like Newt Gingrich, who wanted to purge the moderates of the party.
The influence of the right-wing media has amplified these divisions. Listen to this now ironic 2009 interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney choosing Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell.
EX-VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY (on CBS Face the Nation, dated May 10, 2009): Well, if I had to choose, in terms of being a Republican, I would go with Rush Limbaugh. (mount skip) I think Colin had already quit the party – I had no idea he was still a Republican.
AVLON: Yeah. And the Tea Party was obsessed with what they called the “RINO hunt,” purging people they called “Republicans in name only.” Republican leaders like Eric Cantor tried to curb their fury for more power in Congress, but even he fell to a top Tea Party challenger for the sin of appearing to support immigration reform.
So the lesson was clear: play basic and you’ll earn your primary and tons of money. Speak, and you’ll be attacked from the right and lose your otherwise safe seat. Political cowardice proliferated as the party purged the moderates. Check this out – in 1994 the GOP was basically split 60-40 between conservatives and moderates. In 2020, only 24% of the GOP was moderate …