The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, March 06, 2009

In Defense of Speaking Up

Bill Whittle is a true believer who writes and speaks the truth without apology. He has authored some of the greatest essays I have ever read about the American experience. And he used to be a Bush-hating Liberal. So when I saw that he had recently commented about Rush Limbaugh's speech at CPAC, I could not wait to get his take. After all some of my left leaning friends cringe or go ballistic if the name Rush Limbaugh is even brought up.

As usual, Whittle does not disappoint.

Incidentally, if you have not seen Rush's entire speech at CPAC--if all you saw were the clips the elites at CNN wanted you to see; (i.e. the ones taken out of context), here is your chance to at least be counted among those who can truthfully say they fully understood what was said AND its context. Because if you can't then I don't want to hear your lame knee-jerk criticisms of the man. Many of my friends who lean towards the Left of center are either too obstinate or disinterested to go to those lengths--but if you are out there and are reading this, and you think I might be talking about you, here is your chance to prove me wrong. (AND... your chance for a dose of refreshing, unadulerated truth.)

Anyway, I wrote this yesterday, after quoting Limbaugh on another matter, and I think it fits in quite well with what Whittle is saying:
Now I realize that Limbaugh is a lightning rod because he is a master at satire who is not afraid to say something controversial to hammer home his point. But that knife cuts both ways The very same Democrats who think slash artists Michael Moore and Bill Maher hung the moon go postal when the tables are turned. Yes, Limbaugh makes fun of Democrats and what they do, and this. drives. them. nuts.

But the thing is--and the reason why Limbaugh has been so successful--is not merely his ability to integrate biting criticism, satire, and humor to bear against the Left's strawmen; it is rather his substantial intellect coupled with his ability to articulate the truths of Conservatism in a manner that makes the complex easy to understand. If only the Republican Party could field someone as capable; it obviously had the right formula with Reagan and his two landslides. But since then the Republicans have lost their way; they have neglected the principles that gave them those landslides. Yes, Reagan's communication skills were great--but it is the combination of communication skills COMBINED WITH principle which made him so formidable and popular.

With an articulate, but dangerous Marxist President who literally may be trying to destroy the greatest economic engine the world has ever known, we have never needed more urgently candidates who could clearly articulate and communicate the principles that have made the United States a magnet for those dreaming of a better life everywhere on earth.
Hurry, please.

Meanwhile, Scott Ott has some dramatic news about the Obama Administration's quest to silence Rush.

UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein responds to criticism from Patterico as to whether or not Rush would be better off playing to the "highbrow" double standard that elites hold the Right to (thus making himself less of a "target" for the Left) rather than to cater to his audience. Here is Goldstein's response to that criticism:

My response [i.e. to Patterico's crituque--DT], point by point:

I’ll ask the same question I asked at Hot Air. If you could have a well-known conservative say:

— first, let me stop you right there. I don’t want to have to measure every word I say with the thought in mind that somebody is going to take me out of context. Instead, I’d like to be free to say what I mean, and when my meaning is obvious, I would like to know that honest people have my back — and will tell dishonest people to stop being dishonest, and stupid people that they need to smarten up before they presume to join the conversation.

But back to your example:

1) “I want Obama’s terrible policies to be voted down so America can succeed”


2) “I want Obama to fail”

which would you have them say?

You’ve left out the context of number 2. With the proper context, they two mean the same thing, so I don’t much care how it’s said — and I certainly don’t expect a person who talks for a living to pre-think every utterance as if he’s a lawyer so that nobody looking to take him out of context will. I suggest you read my link to the Bennett piece again, and that will make things clearer.

#2 is pithier, sure. But it’s also WAY easier to twist in a way that will repel voters.

Yeah. They could have gone with “I want Obama”. So? You are on the wrong side. You shouldn’t be concerning yourself with how easy it is to twist things. You should be working to make it less productive to do so.

As it stands, you’re part of the problem.

Do you want to phrase things in a way that makes it EASY or HARD for media cretins to distort what you’re saying?

I want the freedom to phrase things my own way and have them mean what they mean. Again, you’re fighting the wrong battle.

I post daily on Obama’s reckless spending, ethically challenged nominees, broken promises, and other shortcomings. I have no illusions about how disastrous his policies are. I believe we have to take the fight to him.

But I want us to fight smart. You can say things in a way that’s easily distorted, or not. Rush says provocative things because it will benefit his career, and meanwhile, Republicans get put on the defensive. We spend days talking about whether Rush wants us to have a Depression, rather than talking about how Obama is mortgaging our children’s future and passing budgets amounting to $25,000 per taxpayer. Deficits of close to $2 trillion. That’s where our focus should be.

Instead we have this prominent guy make a speech and double down on a formulation that he KNOWS the drive-by media will distort. If it were necessary to phrase it that way, fine. But it’s not.

Says you. Me, I say f**k the drive-by media, and f**k letting them frame what it is we say. And no, we don’t do that by carefully self-filtering. We do that by calling them on their dishonesty.

You want to fight them on their terms. I’m arguing that to fight on their terms is to have already lost the battle.

I want us to take the fight to the enemy and stand up for what we believe in. But I want us to do it in a smart way.

When you say “I hope X fails” then some people are going to hear that and nothing else you say.

Some folks are going to hear what they want to hear. But you know what? It’s time to make them feel stupid for being stupid — not empowering their stupidity by pandering to it.

Never mind that Bill Maher's and Michael Moore's lowbrow evisceration of anything conservative in the world are treated as royalty by the same media for being equally "abrasive".

No, count me in with Goldstein--and Rush: that while it is true that we do not live in a "fair" world, but in a pragmatic one, this does not mean we should sit by and play into that "unfairness" either. Personally I think the reason that Republicans' message is not trumping the lame and tired class warfare rhetoric of the Democrats is that too many Republicans are afraid to speak the truth without dressing it up for the double standard. Reagan was the last Republican leader who was not cowed by the expectation of the mindless masses. He said what he meant, and that is why we loved him. He boldly told Gorbachev to tear down this wall, even though a State Department flunkie tried to edit the passage out of that speech--twice--because it would be so "offensive". Reagan kept putting it back and said (sternly) that it was exactly what he wanted to say. THAT is bold. THAT is leadership.

Personally I am "offended" by the whole notion that we have advisors communicating to the people running against Marxists who would destroy our country that they should not dare to speak the bold truth in a bold way because it will upset some imaginary elitist applecart. Why was Sarah Palin so popular (and McCain so unpopular) with the base? Because Palin spoke from the heart while McCain tried to match Obama's mastery of the language of political correctness mealy-mouthed line by pathetic line. It was almost as if he was embarassed to be associated with the Republican base. And we all saw how that turned out.

The RINO's in the Republican party and the inside the beltway political advisor class have become so invested in not "offending" anyone that it has transformed the party of Goldwater and Reagan into a modern day version of "The Emperor's New Clothes".

Last time I looked that strategy wasn't working so well; maybe it is time we found some people with the courage and the character to actually speak up for a change. Because when it comes to parallels with the "Emperor", President Obama is figuratively as naked as a jaybird.

To paraphrase the Gipper in another way: The problem is not that too many Republicans are not pandering enough to the media elites and/or pop cultural "conventional wisdom"; pandering to the elites IS the problem.
DiscerningTexan, 3/06/2009 03:02:00 PM |