PBS Anchor Mourns the Good Old Days of Penny Candy and 'Moderate' Republicans Who Raised Taxes

There are few things more predictable than liberal TV news anchors pining for the good old days when moderate Republicans voted for tax increases (like the 1990 budget deal) or expanded Medicare coverage (George W. Bush, 2002).

Notice they don’t warmly recall when Democrats voted for the Reagan tax cuts or B-1 bombers and aid to the Nicaraguan rebels. Those Democratic “sellouts” are never honored. But PBS NewsHour anchor and Washington Week host Gwen Ifill just adores Bob Dole as he trashes the Tea Party as "far right" and Jeb Bush as he embraces “comprehensive immigration reform.”

In her “Gwen’s Take” commentary on the PBS NewsHour website, Ifill wrote “It is an entirely human condition to pine for the good old days, when candy cost a penny, hopscotch was the best way to spend recess and politicians actually talked to, not only at, one another.”

Bob Dole is doing a thank-you tour of Kansas after living at the Watergate apartments the last two decades.

“I believe in a party of inclusion,” said Dole, who was his party’s national nominee twice -– once for vice president (’76) and once for president (’96). “You don’t say, ‘You’re not a good enough Republican, you’re too moderate.’ I thought I was a conservative, but we’ve got some in Congress now who are so far right they’re about to fall out of the Capitol.

This kind of tart observation does not make Dole, whose most productive years were spent as Senate Majority Leader, extinct. But in the current political environment, it does make him sound a little crusty around the edges.

She means that in a really good way. He’s “tart,” like a nice lemon pie. She’s forgetting that Dole was often Senate Minority Leader, and liberals didn’t mind that, either. It continued:

Inclusion is kind of a bad word these days. Ask Jeb Bush. He’s thinking of running for president, but it appears he can only be taken seriously if, for instance, he plays down his devotion to the idea of comprehensive immigration reform.

He and I danced around the subject of his potential run for president during an appearance at North Carolina’s Guilford College last year. He, too, seemed to long for the days when middle ground was not something to be passed over on the way to the extreme.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to say, we’re going to reward people that take a chance to compromise,” Bush told me then. “That it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”


Yes, didn't compromise work well for Bush's father in 1992? Remember when the media rewarded moeration when Bob Dole ran for the White House in 1996? And Ford-Dole in 1976? They adored John McCain in 2008, too, didn't they?

Ifill concluded: “But if we could venture out of our ideological corners more often, perhaps we could find room to get things done. Bob Dole, for one, has not given up. He’s decided to visit every one of Kansas’ 105 counties to thank the people who voted for him for all those years when Republicans and Democrats disagreed without staying disagreeable.”

Earth to Ifill: So, Miss “Venture Out of Our Ideological Corners,” how many Fox News correspondents or Washington Times reporters put their knees under your PBS “Washington Week” table on Friday nights? You may put your phony nostalgia and "inclusion" lecture away now.

PS: Make-believe "moderate" Gwen Ifill has compared conservative Republicans to terrorists and badgered Bill Clinton about moderating into "abandoning minorities and the poor."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis