Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Conservatives Target Imaginary Foes

I've heard claims for many weeks now on Conservative media outlets that they are facing extinction from Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration. But that's just not true. It has been voters who have turned them out and told them "thanks but no thanks" for their bridges to nowhere.

Following their defeats in congressional races in 2006 and the presidency in 2008, they have decided to dodge the facts of their failures and now are pointing to imaginary foes as they whip up a sound and fury over nothing at all.

Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other friends have spent the past year screaming about the horrors of Barack Obama. And, while it's true that they talked ad nauseam about socialism and the Weathermen and Jeremiah Wright, careful listeners would have noticed a recurring theme of anxiety: that Obama was going to use the newly acquired levers of government to destroy them. Specifically, conservative paranoia over the possible reinstatement of the "fairness doctrine," a defunct policy requiring that broadcasters allow opposing points of view to be heard over the airwaves, has reached a fevered pitch. In September, George Will was warning his readers that, "[u]nless McCain is president, the government will reinstate the ... 'fairness doctrine.'" In October, The Wall Street Journal's editorial page chimed in, predicting that under the spooky-sounding "liberal supermajority," the fairness doctrine was "likely to be reimposed," with the goal being "to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition." And, two weeks before the election, the New York Post blasted: "Dems Get Set to Muzzle the Right."

"Responses from the offices of most of the Democrats who have been pegged as fairness-doctrine proponents--Schumer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, and others--have ranged from a firm denial that the issue is a priority at all to disbelief at finding themselves at the center of a manufactured controversy. "Somebody plucked this out of the clear blue sky," says the press secretary for New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat who was questioned about the issue by a conservative radio-show host a few weeks ago. "This is a completely made- up issue." Senator Durbin's press secretary says that Durbin has "no plans, no language, no nothing. He was asked in a hallway last year, he gave his personal view"--that the American people were served well under the doctrine--"and it's all been blown out of proportion." In fact, as recently as last year, the House voted by an overwhelming three-to-one margin to temporarily prohibit the FCC from imposing the dead policy; 113 Democrats voted to support the move.

Meanwhile, the president-elect himself has said in no uncertain terms that he does "not support reimposing the fairness doctrine on broadcasters." Republican paranoia is nothing more than that.

"Democrats may scratch their heads over why this has lately become a right-wing obsession, but the paranoia is not without precedent. The prospect of being in the opposition often brings out the worst in conservatives--paranoia and self-pity. Plus, when the conservative coalition seems threatened, there's no better way to unify the party than scaring up liberal bogeymen."

In a constant and predictable way, the politics of Conservatives depend on identifying Evil Conspiracies, and they ignore the daily realities of actual problems the nation faces.

And they wonder why voters have rejected them??

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