Tom Brokaw's Election Template: 'Republicans Running from the Far Right'

Even before any results were known, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw already had his template for the mid-term elections: The people are tired of “far right” Republicans and pleased by the emergence of Democrats who are “moving toward the center.” Brokaw, who will be part of the NBC News election team, was asked by Brian Williams, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, what “trends” he sees emerging. Though a Democratic takeover of the House would likely put the far-left Nancy Pelosi into the Speaker's chair along with several other hard-left Congressman into committee chairmanships, Brokaw applied an extremist ideological tag only to Republicans as he saw an end to a “polarized” nation ahead:
“The country is sending a signal to both parties: We want you guys to work together to solve problems. You've got Republicans running from the far right much more toward the center. You've got a new breed of Democrats this year in Jim Webb in Virginia and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, moving toward the center. So we may be working our way toward the end of a deeply polarized country politically at the national level.”
Brokaw's response, in full on the November 6 NBC Nightly News, to the question about election trends:
“I think tomorrow whoever wins control of the House, whoever wins control of the Senate, there are two big lessons. First of all, this is an overture for '08. This sets the table for the big prize, the presidential election in '08 and already the country is sending a signal to both parties: We want you guys to work together to solve problems. You've got Republicans running from the far right much more toward the center. You've got a new breed of Democrats this year in Jim Webb in Virginia and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, moving toward the center. So we may be working our way toward the end of a deeply polarized country politically at the national level. And at the state level, you're finding many more examples of that. Red states with Democratic governors and blue states with Republican governors. That reflects, it seems to me as I go around the country, much more what the country wants.”
This wasn't the first time Brokaw has painted Republicans as impeded by the influence of the “hard right.” Two years ago, on the night before the Republican National Convention opened in New York City, Brokaw charged that the party's choice of moderate speakers was a ruse, “a popular con game” called “three-card monte.” Brokaw was the first runner-up, in the "Bitter in the Big Apple Award (for Republican Convention Coverage)" in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," for this remark (posted with RealPlayer video and MP3 audio) on the August 29, 2004 NBC Nightly News:
"The President's team knows that it can't get back to the White House by taking only hard right turns, so it has, as three of its featured speakers, Republicans who have been successful by navigating the middle of the road as well the right-hand side: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain who often calls himself John Kerry's best friend in the U.S. Senate. Streetwise New Yorkers may call that the political equivalent of a popular con game in this tough town -- three-card monte. But then, that's a game in which the dealer almost always wins."
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