Recently, political memes have surfaced that do not have much basis in reality.
Matt Bai of the New York Times sees “murmurs” of a primary challenge against President Obama after he cut a deal with congressional Republicans to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy for two years in exchange for a 13-month unemployment extension, a payroll tax cut and other tax breaks designed to stimulate job growth. As angry as some liberals are, there isn’t a lot of there there — the article quotes two Huffington Post blogs, a Washington Post op-ed and the head of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, who said he isn’t advocating a primary challenge.
Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano said he “may or may not” support Barack Obama’s reelection, but he’s not known for holding his tongue. Moreover, Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.) said the same thing over the summer. It’s just talk.
Meanwhile, President Obama has an 80 percent approval rating among self-identified liberals, and liberal icons like Sen. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Howard Dean have unequivocally said they won’t challenge him.
On the other hand, there have been dozens of articles about how a tea party leader, Judson Phillips, endorsed Sarah Palin and then Saul Anuzis for Republican National Committee chairmanship, implying that the tea party supports him. Only problem is, he leads a for-profit tea party group that has minimal connections to the rest of the movement — only six out of 647 tea party groups surveyed by the Washington Post said they had ties to the group, and his attempt to hold a big tea party convention in Las Vegas fell through after the first had ticket prices of $550 and donated $100,000 to Palin.
It’s not that memes can’t turn out to be wrong, but these lines of speculation were largely invented out of nothing.
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