Bozell Column: Hillary's Not A Centrist

    There are days when you get up and stare at the front page of the newspaper and you just have to put the paper back down. May 30 was one of those days. After escaping for the long Memorial Day weekend, one returns to the real world Tuesday morning. But those who read The Washington Post are reminded that some people live forever in the world of make-believe.Witness the front-page headline: “Clinton Is A Politician Not Easily Defined: Senator's Platform Remains Unclear."

     That is to politics what “The DaVinci Code” is to theology.

     When you pick up the paper again and read the story, it’s just awful. Political reporter Dan Balz, no babe in the woods, just embarrasses himself by declaring that Hillary’s inner circle has discovered she has “a curious intellect, the absence of rigid ideology, an instinct for problem solving and a willingness to seek consensus even across party lines.” In a telephone interview, Hillary told Balz she is in no way a rigid thinker, that she approaches each problem and tries “combining my beliefs and ideals with a search for practical solutions.”

    Balz is not so much reporting a news story as reproducing a sales pitch. It really ought to have the word “advertisement” above it in capital letters. It’s a misleading commercial. If you bought President Hillary, you would not be getting the “absence of rigid ideology.” You would get rigid liberal ideology, softened only by Slick Willie political posturing, with gullible journalists gleefully hooking on their bait.

     This is not the first time The Washington Post has played gullible. Witness March 28, 2004, when this self-same Dan Balz was touting the emerging centrism of another presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry. He had “one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate,” but “edged” toward centrism on key votes. In the primaries, Kerry’s “rhetoric often tilted to the left, but not his positions.” Balz boldly concluded that Kerry “has emerged from the primaries at the philosophical center of the party if not the country.”

     So Hillary is a centrist, just as John Kerry was a centrist. And so was Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis, and Walter Mondale. In which decade do the liberal media stop peddling these delusions?

    Balz made it all the way through his Clinton story without ever referring to the voting scores kept by ideological groups. In the last five years, the American Conservative Union has reported that on its key Senate votes, her annual record was 12 percent conservative, 10 percent, 10 percent, zero percent in 2004, and then 12 percent again last year. Her career average is a score of nine percent. How in the world does that number suggest an “unclear platform,” something impossible to categorize?

     Now take the liberal counterpart. Americans for Democratic Action found her to be 95 percent liberal on its key votes in her first four years, and she achieved liberal nirvana (100 percent) in 2005. Those “Senate hero” votes included voting against judicial nominee Janice Rogers Brown, voting to repeal Ronald Reagan’s “Mexico City policy” preventing federal tax money from going to international abortion providers, and voting for Chuck Schumer’s amendment that would forbid abortion protesters to declare bankruptcy to avoid fines or court judgments for their clinic protests. Some absence of a rigid ideology, that.

     Balz reported that Hillary is “depicted as seeking the middle ground on abortion.” Yes, she’s “depicted” that way by liberal reporters like Dan Balz, but her voting record is no middle ground. Hillary Clinton has received a perfect 100 percent score from NARAL Pro-Choice America every year, and right now she is leading their fight to force the Food and Drug Administration to make the “Plan B” morning-after pill available without a prescription.

    In the final analysis, Senator Hillary and New York are perfect for each other. Political reporter Ryan Lizza recently reported in New York magazine that one of every ten abortions in America occurs in New York, and seven of every ten abortions in the state are performed in New York City. There are more abortions performed on minors, more repeat abortions, and more late abortions (over 21 weeks) in New York City than anywhere else in the country. In parts of the city, the ratio of abortions to births is one to one. It’s the abortion capital of America.

    All of these facts sit on the shelf for discussion when Senator Hillary tries to become President Hillary. But if the Dan Balzes of the media have their way, they will only collect dust. These facts aren’t any less true because the media puts on a blindfold and pretends they don’t exist. Hillary is a liberal, and liberals tend to lose when they run for president, despite national reporters crying “centrist” from every street corner.

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center