Fox House

In an otherwise informative and interesting article in New York magazine about the Fox network, Roger Ailes and their relationship to the GOP going into the 2012 election cycle is this assertion:

That the GOP Establishment’s bench seems so thin now is a by-product of how the party, and Fox, reacted to Obama’s presidency.

The thesis of the article is to say that Ailes and Fox cynically created the Tea Party (i.e. it’s not a real movement), and then to say that the Tea Party has made GOP politics crazy, and now all the serious Republicans regret it.

But this just isn’t true. Fox and the Tea Party are not the reason that Mitt Romney isn’t credible; he simply isn’t credible. Tim Pawlenty’s record as governor is unremarkable, and he cannot speak t conservative crowds with any sense of fluency. That’s not Fox’s fault. Same with Jon Huntsman.

The fact is that the bench isn’t deep because few Republican governors and Senators have distinguished themselves in the past fifteen years. Their tax cuts were accompanied by expanded government commitments. When states could no longer collect higher and higher tax revenues, the states were drowning in debt. Did Fox make Bobby Jindal look bad for his SOTU response? No.

Though one could argue that Fox has had a role in shaping the GOP constituency for abrasive figures like Michelle Bachman, the fundamentals were there already. The GOP is no longer the party of Rockefeller, and hasn’t been for a long time. The conservative movement sees itself as an insurgent political force, unfairly held down by malignant forces in the media, the academy, and in politics. Fox only reflects that sense back to it.

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