Hillary Clinton's Comment About Extremist Ideology & The GOP Isn't That Far From The Truth
Fox News isn't happy. To be fair, they're not happy about a lot of things, but their most recent displeasure stems from what one columnist on Monday called "tone-deaf journalism" in regard to the 2016 presidential candidates. After the mainstream media's months of harpooning Mike Huckabee for his "holocaust ovens" comments, Jeb Bush for his racist "anchor babies" statements, and pretty much every word Donald Trump has ever uttered, Fox has come out guns blazing in an attempt to blast the "leftist" these outlets for their perceived double standard. You know, that ol' gem. Specifically citing former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's recent comparison of GOP ideology to that of extremist groups in the Middle East and beyond, Fox analyst Howard Kurtz claimed that she had been given "a pass" by the press, which he said should have been more critical.
To put things into perspective, you'll need to know exactly what Clinton originally said. At a rally in Ohio on Thursday last week, she pointed to the current GOP philosophy, in which health clinics like Planned Parenthood are basically the door to the pits of hell and contraceptives and sex ed are tools that Darth Vader uses to bring women to the dark side. Clinton blasted her rival Republicans for this, saying:
Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.
In response, the Republican party had a field day. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Alison Moore called the comments "a new low." GOP rival and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Clinton out on Twitter, claiming that her "priorities [were] totally wrong" because she had stood by the "despicable" actions of Planned Parenthood after videos surfaced purporting to show top organization brass discussing the sale of fetal tissue to medical researchers.
Fox News' Howard Kurtz declared in an op-ed column on the channel's site:
That’s right, the Democratic presidential front-runner compared her GOP rivals to savages who bomb innocent people and cut off people’s heads ... Okay. Now just imagine that Trump or Ted Cruz or Rand Paul had likened Hillary or Obama to terrorists. They would not be described by the media as engaging in tough talk. Or going on the attack. Or exploiting a major vulnerability in the opposition. The New York Times would find space in the paper, right on the front page. MSNBC would go crazy. The only issue would be whether the Republican went too far, beyond the bounds of political decency.
Kurtz then wondered aloud whether "some reporters think her charges against the GOP aren’t that far off the mark."
Kurtz is correct in that assumption. The issue at hand isn't whether Hillary Clinton's accusations against the GOP were insensitive, but whether they were accurate — and to that end, she's actually got a point.
As Vox pointed out on Monday, the Republican Party platform has shifted significantly to the right over the past three presidential elections, with hardliners coming out in defense of various "personhood" bills and swearing oaths to no one in particular that they would defund clinics providing health services to women. They've also made sure to establish dominance in the gun control arena by parading themselves around Walmart stores and immigration or land battles with their rifles out (a few even readied in sniper positions overhead). If none of those things strikes Kurtz and his fellow naysayers as being inherently disturbing, there's a larger problem at hand.
The GOP of 2015 is nothing like the GOP of 20 years ago. Perhaps some of that has to do with the knee-jerk reaction to an evolving society which now views women's healthcare as a major political topic and has awarded oppressed groups like the LGBTQ community and racial minorities more rights than ever before. Whatever the case, the Republican Party has been fractured into multiple splinters, with those furthest to the right suddenly controlling the narrative.
Gone are the days of a conservative party that stood strongly for lower taxation and individual liberty. In its stead, a right-wing movement against personal freedom of choice, supplanted with dangerous nuances, has taken over and declared itself the champion of the GOP that speaks for all Republican followers. By dismissing party members who dare challenge the current status quo and quite literally bearing arms against those with whom they disagree, the contemporary right wing of the American political scene has in effect parked itself parallel to other tyrannical regimes across the world.
With Jade Helm fearmongers running amok and racist undertones present in most hardcore GOP gatherings (at several Trump rallies of late, for example, witnesses have reported several audience members as having chanted, "White power!" which the candidate's camp has brushed off as unimportant), it might be a bit harsh to allude to the Republican Party and the Islamic State in the same sentence. But the root of the issue, sadly, isn't all that far off.