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Opinion

As Walt would say - that's the way it is


Published:   |   Updated: May 27, 2013 at 05:32 PM

Uncle Walter was dispiritingly prescient but precisely correct.

Demographics have hopelessly divided America into two camps - the new majority, of which most are regrettably dependent on government, and the minority that have to pay for it.

"And that's the way it is," Walter Cronkite would have said.

"The most trusted man in America" just told his audience what they needed to know for that day - his unvarnished truth. You could take it to the bank.

Cronkite thought most Americans were functionally illiterate; that they were fed their news from TV, and "those people are suckers for the demagogue," one who, as he observed, "attacks the press for its unfairness."

It is surprising he thought so little of his faithful audience - and given observations he made in interviews after his retirement in 1981, it is baffling that he never realized the media opinion writers delighted in sophisticated demagoguery to belittle their opposition. And since his retirement it had become a cultivated art form.

Cronkite's traditional sign-off line quickly came to mind when the trifecta of recent scandals of this administration first started getting some traction. The fallout has shown how hopelessly divided the country is. The Democratic faithful argue there are no scandals.

These revelations will not influence hardcore progressive Democrats one whit, other than to reinforce their belief that Republicans are mischaracterizing everything the White House tells us and are up to their same old dirty tricks trying to belittle the president.

As Cronkite would say, that's the way is - and has been for years. What was so distinctive about his sign-off line is that it was a declarative statement. He didn't simply say "good night" like everyone else. What he said was a declaration - that the news he just announced simply stated facts that required no answer.

He probably would agree that the state of our political landscape today - if anything - is fixed. The far-left progressive social Democrats call the shots, and no manner of Republican debate can move them back to center - much less center right.

That's just the way it is. We are a totally polarized country.

Watching a small dose of C-SPAN call-ins in their early-morning program should be required listening for independent voters at least a few times a week, so they can get a sense of how many no-knowledge loonies call in on the dedicated line for Democrats. Here are a few examples from May 19:

"The tea party had something to do with the Boston Marathon bombings," or "The tea party had something to do with Benghazi," and another, "They are fascists and should answer questions.

They have something to hide," or 'The tea party is a big brownshirt organization," or they "are part of the Ku Klux Klan," and then this astonishing comment: "The IRS didn't investigate them enough because they don't have enough people to do the work."

My favorite is the caller who admitted these scandals demonstrate that the Obama government is "dysfunctional," but blames this on the "defunding of government by Republicans."

Republicans believe that statements such as these cast the Democratic faithful in a bad light, particularly with those precious few independent voters. Not really. They are the new majority - the new realty - so they can say anything nonsensical; and their president can say anything he pleases - factuality is immaterial.

And he is such a good talker.

Obama blithely raised the incompetence defense to defend the IRS scandal - nothing sinister going on here. We may have a bungling government, but our government is still a moderating force - "a force for good for society."

With a little reflection it makes sense for Democrats to use the IRS to intimidate people. They are the most feared enforcement branch of our government.

The president has distanced himself from the recent scandals by instructing his staff to keep him out of the loop so he would have plausible deniability. ("I learned about it from the same news reports that most people learned about this.") Really?

Americans don't realize that if Republicans did not control one branch of Congress, these scandals would never have seen the light of day. But no investigations ever seem to advance the truth.

Republicans can't win for losing (Pun intended). During President Obama's first term when he had control of both Houses, investigations of Democrats was not permitted. And any legislation offered by Republicans was never marked up for debate in either House.

The mindset of the new majority can be best explained by a February Pew Research poll, which found that 62 percent of Americans believe that the Republican Party is "out of touch" and "too extreme;" and a May Pew survey that found that 37 percent of Republicans are following the IRS scandal "very closely," but only 21 percent of Democrats. This survey also found that a majority of Americans do not believe the Obama administration had anything to do with the IRS scandal. To believe otherwise is to be an extremist.

Republicans are reminiscent of George Carlin, who once said, "The only reason I talk to myself is because I'm the only one whose answers I accept." They are eternal optimists at a time when the culture and economic climate of the U.S. is in permanent decline.

They are idealists who think the truth - as Carlin defined it - will ultimately triumph.

It will not. As this writer has said many times before, this will not end well.

And that's the way it is . May 26, 2013.


John Reiniers is a retired attorney and regular columnist who lives in Spring Hill.

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