Margaret Carlson: 'Democratic Base Is Really the Middle American Base'

The left-wing AFL-CIO union labor and Human Rights Campaign gay rights forums with Democratic presidential candidates held last week “suggest to me that the Democratic base is really the middle American base now,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson declared on Sunday's Meet the Press. During the roundtable, Carlson, now a columnist for Bloomberg News and Washington Editor of The Week magazine, asserted that an “amendment to discriminate against gays” is not politically viable and “as the middle class feels in trouble, the labor position becomes a majority position.” She contended that “the person who won” the AFL-CIO “debate was the steel worker who stood up and said, 'I worked for 36 years and every morning I sit across from my wife, and I say' -- to the steel company -- 'why don't have I health care and why don't I have a pension?' They're bewildered by what happened.”

In fact, Steve Skvara, at the August 7 forum shown on MSNBC, targeted America for his complaint about why others don't pay for his wife's health care after his ex-employer, LTV Steel, went bankrupt: “Every day of my life, I sit at the kitchen table across from the woman who devoted 36 years of her life to my family, and I can't afford to pay for her health care. What's wrong with America? And what will you do to change it?”

As noted in my August 8 NewsBusters item, Skvara agreed with the call by John Edwards for universal, government-provided health care coverage.

As for the agenda of the Human Rights Campaign matching middle America, same-sex marriage does not enjoy majority support and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards refused to endorse same-sex marriage. Two candidates, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, did not even show up for the forum carried August 9 by CBS's Logo cable channel.

On the August 12 Meet the Press, moderated by David Gregory, Carlson appeared with Time's Michael Duffy, National Review's Byron York and NBC's Chuck Todd. Carlson maintained:
Well, you know, the labor and the Human Rights Campaign forums and debates this week suggest to me that the Democratic base is really the middle American base now. And if you look at polls on how people feel about things, it’s true. The fight that was had last time over gays, I don’t think we’re going to have that this time. I don’t think Bush saying there’s going to be an amendment to discriminate against gays, I don’t think that’s going to come up with quite that passion this time around.

And on the labor thing, the Democrats sounded, you know, like they would work your second shift, they wanted the labor vote so badly. And Mrs. Clinton said, you know, “I’m your girl.” But as the middle class feels in trouble, the labor position becomes a majority position. And the person who won that debate was the steel worker who stood up and said, “I worked for 36 years and every morning I sit across from my wife, and I say" -- to the steel company -- "why don’t have I health care and why don’t I have a pension?” They’re bewildered by what happened.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center