In praise of distant and brief flickers at the end of long, dark tunnels
Over the past four years, Erick Erickson has won ad revenue, books deals, and a lucrative CNN contract by posing such insightful rhetorical questions as, “Is Obama shagging hookers behind the media’s back?”
The answer to that particular question, admits Erickson, is probably “no,” but who knows? After all, our “composite-Kenyan” president is an anti-Christian who worked tirelessly to “pervert the word of God.” Plus, Obama is a racist. Though in fairness, Erickson might well argue, perhaps the president just appears that way because he’s so stressed out from his home life – after all, his wife is a “Marxist harpy.”
In addition, Erickson has referred to the Democratic Convention as the Vagina Monologues. He compared Linda Douglas, the White House communications director for healthcare reform, to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels – an accusation that is relatively milquetoast. After all, he accused Supreme Court Justice David Souter as being a “goat-f**king child molester.” He argued that not filibustering the nomination of Justice Kagan was a “high act of treason.”
In other words, since the election of Barack Hussein Obama the redundantly named “info-tainer” has very much chosen to be part of the problem I’ve been discussing this past year. Which makes his latest RedState post, The Loyal Opposition, all that more surprising – and welcome:
“I believe the President’s policies are destructive… Because of his expansion of the social safety net funded through class warfare, Mr. Obama’s policies will cause too many Americans’ fortunes to rise and fall with those of the government, unable to chart a course for themselves apart from government.
But I do not think the President means to do this maliciously. I do not think he is treasonous. I do not hate him. I am not outraged by it. …
What I am finding is that among conservatives there is too much outrage, piss, and vinegar. It makes our ideas less effective. We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas.
Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage… [screaming] “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.” … We’ve become professional victims dialed up to 10 on the outrage meter. … Mitt Romney ran a campaign on just how bad things are, but he was rejected by a majority of Americans who felt like he really did not care about them and really had no plans to improve their lives. Bitching about Benghazi doesn’t do that either.
Be mad at me if you need to. … But then shut up and focus on convincing people not that the President of the United States duly elected by a majority of the American people is a traitor willfully trying to destroy the country, but that our policies will allow people to make the most of their lives and not be dependent on the rising and falling fortunes of Washington, D.C.
And if you must be angry, don’t be angry at a President doing what he set out to do, be angry at a Republican Establishment not doing . . . well . . . much of anything.” – [emphasis mine -tk]
Now, there are many who will point out (correctly) that Erickson is just one voice in a sea of snake oil salesmen. Others will note (correctly) that this particular huckster is one of the few that gets regular cable-news paychecks that do not have Roger Ailes’ signature in the lower right hand corner. And still others will glance at RedState’s own readers – the very group called and cultivated by Erickson – and see that they are accusing him of going to the “dark side,” as they rack up comparisons to Peron, Stalin, Lenin, Chavez and (of course) Hitler. So, yeah, we’re definitely talking first baby steps here.
But first baby steps are still first steps; someone still has to take them.
There have been a few other glimmers of hope these past few months. Glenn Beck has been releasing trial balloons to see if conservatives might embrace gay rights by reframing it as a purely Constitutional issue. Days after Romney’s inglorious defeat, Sean Hannity – who a week before had been railing against the “illegals” destroying our democracy – declared that he suddenly favored a path toward citizenship. “I’ve evolved” on the moral issue, Hannity proclaimed – though to all observers it cynically appeared to be not moral evolution so much as moral creationism. This month at a GOP bigwig retreat, organizers had a noted GOP pollster speak and urge Republicans to stop talking about rape. They’ve even begun to hold minority sensitivity and outreach classes for their elected officials. (Though this last effort still needs to have some bugs worked out.)
Mind you, all of this is but a drop in the Fox-Talk Radio tsunami. Still, it’s a drop worth savoring – especially for those of us feeling parched for a coherent, stable and grown-up opposition party.
 Seriously, when I was done reading the post I had to get back and reread the byline to make sure this was really penned by Erickson and not me.