After Rep. Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney's running mate, it took less than 24 hours for The New York Times to define Ryan as an "extremist." In a lead editorial, the paper bannered this sub-headline: "With no plan of his own, Mr. Romney can't distance himself from Mr. Ryan's extremist vision."
That "vision" would be federal spending cuts and entitlement reform.
While chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan sent two spending bills to the House, both of which passed but were killed in the Senate, which is controlled by the Democrats. The bills cut federal programs across the board. Ryan is also a fan of reforming Medicare and Social Security, which are going bankrupt.
In the bubble that is the liberal media, trimming government spending and making entitlements more fiscally viable are extreme positions. That's somewhat ironic because President Obama's strategy of massive government spending and borrowing is perhaps the most extreme economic plan in the nation's history. Never before has the USA run up such an enormous debt and had so little to show for it.
So defining Ryan as extreme is an interesting scare tactic -- and one that might be extended in the days to come. Here are some other positions that the committed left media consider extreme:
-- If you believe traditional marriage should be kept as the exclusive standard, you are not only extreme; you are a homophobe.
-- If you believe all Americans should pay less in taxes, you are greedy and an anti-poor extremist.
-- If you believe the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to buy and possess guns, you are promoting violence in an extreme way.
-- If you believe the government has a duty to combat overseas terrorists without giving them constitutional protections, you are an extreme anti-human rights individual.
-- If you believe abortion is the taking of a human life, you are an anti-woman extremist.
-- If you support securing the nation's borders and regulating immigration, you are anti-Hispanic.
The list goes on and on.
By labeling someone as extreme, you can dismiss whatever they say. That's the strategy being used against Ryan. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes: "Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces."
So in Dowd's estimation, Ryan is in politics to harm the folks. He gets up every day and plots the personal damage he might be able to achieve.
This is now where we are in American politics. If Ryan's reform vision will harm Americans, let's hear some specifics. So far, under Obama, we have a sluggish economy, high employment and record debt. Sounds harmful to me.
But then again, I'm an extremist.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama." To find out more about Bill O'Reilly, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.