In her weekend story about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s withdrawal from the race for the Democratic nominee for California governor, Associated Press reporter Juliet Williams shows how so-called mainstream reporters confuse the basic terms of political discourse by accepting the long-term labeling propaganda of the Republican party.
Here’s the paragraph I want to analyze:
“The telegenic mayor tried to connect with voters at town hall forums across the state, but never finessed his message. He excitedly skipped from topic to topic, promising never to blunt his left-leaning positions on gay marriage, the environment, immigration and universal health care to win votes.”
Environmental regulation and universal health care are both left-leaning positions because both involve more government regulation and, in the case of the environment, more constraint on the individual.
But shouldn’t support of gay marriage and immigration rights be positions of the right? Afterall, to outlaw gay marriage and hamper immigration both represent government interference through regulation plus constraint of the individual, two things that the right-wing vehemently oppose. In fact, uninhibited individual rights and minimal government regulation are two of the foundation stones of the right-wing.
The third foundation stone of course is promulgation of a certain value system that reflects the aspirations that the religious among the upper classes set for the working classes during the industrialization of the second half of the 19th century, a.k.a. the Victorian value system. As Paul Starr depicted in detail in “The Social Transformation of American Medicine” some 25 years ago, the Victorian era is also when physicians supported passage of laws restricting abortion as part of a program to drive out the competition. This value system has no place for gay marriage, even if that means committing the abomination of regulating private activity.
The New York Times was perhaps more accurate in its version of Newsom’s politics:
“His political views were unlikely to play as well across the far-more-conservative center of the state than they did in the Bay Area.”
To be precise, it’s left versus right, and liberal versus conservative, but the news media throws right and conservative into one pot and left and liberal into the other. So because right-wingers are swimming in the same soup as conservatives, they are opposed to gay marriage when in fact, they should be in favor of it.