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Disagreeing with E.J. Dionne’s column…

June 4, 2009

…today, saying that “Rush and Newt are winning” because they capture the media, while other ‘progressive’ voices are drowned out:

imagesThe power of the Limbaugh-Gingrich axis means that Obama is regularly cast as somewhere on the far left end of a truncated political spectrum. He’s the guy who nominates a “racist” to the Supreme Court (though Gingrich retreated from the word yesterday), wants to weaken America’s defenses against terrorism and is proposing a massive government takeover of the private economy. Steve Forbes, writing for his magazine, recently went so far as to compare Obama’s economic policies to those of Juan Peron’s Argentina.

Democrats love to think that Limbaugh and Gingrich are weakening the conservative side. But guess what? By dragging the media to the right, Rush and Newt are winning.

I disagree, since every day that Rush, Cheney and Newt are on the air, Democrats win.  Even Dionne’s notes Gingrich had to backtrack on using the word “racist” in describing Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court – this simple act drowned out whatever more sensible arguments against Sotomayor.    And the polls bear this trend out:  Independents are fleeing the GOP.

Furthermore, every time Cheney et al. goes on television or gives a speech, the public is reminded of the last 8 years, which turned out to be a rather unhelpful anchor on the GOP’s chances of winning in 2010 or 2012.

Rather, I would take heart in reading Kathleen Parker’s op-ed from yesterday entitled, “Carnival of the Fire Breathers“:

For the Republican Party these days, however, the problem isn’t so much the message. It’s the messenger.  It has long been a problem for the GOP that some of the party’s cherished positions are embraced most enthusiastically by people whose grip on reality is sometimes . . . tenuous. This is especially true with regard to abortion.

There are certainly compelling secular arguments against abortion that one might be perfectly willing to hear. Then Randall Terry shows up.  Terry, the colorful founder of Operation Rescue, doesn’t represent the Republican Party, but he is nevertheless the most familiar face of the antiabortion movement. When President Obama recently gave the commencement address at Notre Dame, who showed up to lead the protest but Terry and the equally odd carnival performer Alan Keyes?

Rather than persuading people to think differently about abortion, the Terry-Keyes act makes one want to write checks to Planned Parenthood. And smart Catholics, who were perfectly capable of articulating their objections to the president’s invitation to America’s premier Catholic university, were suddenly stuck in the frame with rabble-rousers who demean the message.

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