2013 was a year of myths falling apart. The myth of President Obama – a myth in which Obama was a messianic figure descending to bequeath health care, equality, and brotherhood on mankind – imploded. The myth of an America embracing the leftist social agenda collapsed. And the greatest myth of all – the myth that America is ready to become Europe – crumbled to ash.
Here, then, are the top five imploded myths of the last year:
The 2012 election gave President Obama a mandate to cram through his signature program. In the aftermath of President Obama’s re-election, members of both the administration and the media trumpeted that Obama had received his long-sought mandate. Obamacare, Americans were told, was the law of the land. It could not be changed; it could not be stopped. Obamacare would be implemented, the country would rejoice, and Republicans would mourn the day they ever opposed the anointed one.
Then the Obamacare rollout proceeded to run off the rails in catastrophic fashion. With Obama’s re-election won, the media no longer felt the obligation to cover up Obamacare’s disastrous crippling of the health care system. Suddenly, Obama’s statements about keeping your health insurance plan became the “lie of the year” rather than a mere “half-truth.” Suddenly, Obama’s brilliant team of implementers, headed by the Chief Implementer himself, became a group of half-wits stumbling around attempting to put back together millions of lines of broken code.
That didn’t mean that the media started covering Obamacare in fair fashion. The media turned Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) plan to fund the entire government except for Obamacare into obstructionism, while Obama’s bullheaded insistence on pushing forward a failing rollout was hailed as strength. World War II veterans barred from their memorials by President Obama out of pure vindictiveness were portrayed by Jon Stewart as buffoons.
Nonetheless, the overall impression of the Obama mandate is that it no longer exists, if it ever did.
Americans hate social conservatism. The 2012 election, we were told, was a referendum on the Republican “war on women.” If Republicans had avoided the stumbling blocks of same-sex marriage and abortion, they would have put Mitt Romney in the White House.
2013 proved how wrong that notion was.
The left attempted to turn late-term abortion advocate Wendy Davis into a national hero; instead, her quixotic quest to become governor of Texas is stumbling badly. When the left attempted to turn Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson into a homophobic bully, Americans finally fought back and let the left know that citing the Bible isn’t homophobia or bullying. Conservatives can learn from 2012, and they have: abortion should be discussed in terms of the extremism of the left, and same-sex marriage must be discussed in the context of religious freedom.
Racial divisions have been palliated thanks to President Obama. President Obama’s media supporters suggested that his lack of support in 2012 was due in large part to a rising tide of racism. In the aftermath of his re-election, Americans were once again treated to the idea that America’s changing demographics and its black president meant that the emerging American minorities-majority would usher in an era of racial tolerance.
With the controversy over the “knockout game,” the media’s disgusting perversion of the Trayvon Martin case, and the consistent drumbeat from the left that all opposition to the leftist agenda was race-based, it’s now clear that racial friction in the political sphere is increasing, not decreasing. That’s how the left wants it.
New models will save the leftist media. When the Huffington Post was sold to AOL for $315 million, the media announced a new age of ventures that would bring the old media into a gleamingly profitable world. When Jeff Bezos of Amazon bought the Washington Post, we were told the same thing. When John Henry of the Boston Red Sox bought the Boston Globe, we were told the same thing.
These ventures have all changed hands, but none have stumbled on a true formula for success in the non-print world.
Meanwhile, in television, MSNBC grew to surpass CNN, but is now struggling to find a new audience; CNN is withering; Fox News continues to dominate.
The reality for the left media is that they have two problems to solve: first, a problem of content; second, a problem of profit model. They can’t solve the second without the first. Unfortunately, they continue to look at business strategies rather than coverage strategies. And that’s a formula for continued failure.
Americans are ready to become Europe. President Obama’s biggest advocates believe that Americans are ready to embrace his vision for the United States: a less muscular America on the world stage, an America with a more controlling executive branch and less conflict in the legislative branch, an America in which the government takes care of us, be we Pajama Boys or Julias.
In 2013, that vision for America was put to bed. President Obama’s Iran deal, the greatest sign of his vision for a scaled-down America, is wildly unpopular. His incessant attempts to rewrite his own healthcare law have contributed to his plummeting popularity. And as for the notion that Americans want government to take care of us, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we would prefer the government to leave us the hell alone.
That doesn’t mean that Republicans are in the ascendance or that conservatism’s glory days are just around the corner. It does mean, however, that the cherished leftist visions of January 2009 are fading fast. And that’s good news for Americans who still believe in American freedoms and values.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.