David Brooks always makes me think when I read his New York Times column. But with his latest column about Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and their impact on the Republican Party, I wonder if it will make his Republican readers do the same.
Brooks’s words jumped off the page. He writes in part:
Just months after the election and the humiliation, everyone is again convinced that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and the rest possess real power. And the saddest thing is that even Republican politicians come to believe it. They mistake media for reality. They pre-emptively surrender to armies that don’t exist.
They pay more attention to Rush’s imaginary millions than to the real voters down the street. The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity.
The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the G.O.P. But it’s not because the talk jocks have real power. It’s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time.
Today marks the 100th day since the election of Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee. I personally can’t recall a more gaffe-prone, ill-spoken chairman of a national party. In Virginia, we would argue that Jeff Frederick, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, was the best state equivalent of Mr. Steele, but since Frederick has been forced out and has abandoned any comeback effort, I suppose that comparison isn’t as good as it once was.
As we observe this 100 day milestone, I think it’s important to note that Rep. Eric Cantor is not including Mr. Steele in his GOP rebranding effort and members of the RNC have recently moved to take away Steele’s authority to spend money. That begs the question, what does Michael Steele actually do?
I’m watching the news that Navy Seals have rescued Captain Richard Phillips from the Somali pirates who took over Phillips’ cargo ship and I’m especially enjoying the reaction from the right wing on Twitter and Fox News.
While they are happy that the pirates were killed and all the Americans survived, no one is giving ANY credit to President Obama or Defense Secretary Gates. Instead, the TV chatter and the #tcot Tweets seems to be focused on the need to arm these cargo ships so they can defend themselves against future attacks. They also are demanding the U.S. defy resolutions from the U.N.
Now imagine if this naval operation had not gone as planned. What if a Navy Seal had been killed or what if Captain Phillips was killed. Can you imagine the outrage and attacks which would be aimed at President Obama and his administration? Continue reading
This morning on Meet the Press, David Gregory ran a video clip of GOP strategist Mike Murphy’s appearance on the show from March 1. Murphy was the campaign manager for Sen. John McCain’s 2000 effort. On the future of the GOP, Murphy said:
The country is changing. Ronald Reagan won in 1980 with 51% of the vote. We all worship Ronald Reagan. But if that election had been held with the current demographics in America today, Ronald Reagan would have gotten 47 percent of the vote. The math is changing. Anglo vote is 74 percent now not 89. And if we don’t modernize conservatism, we are going to have a party of 25 percent of the vote going to Limbaugh rallies, joining every applause line, ripping the furniture up, we’re going to be in permanent minority status.
Roll tape forward to this morning when David Gregory showed Murphy’s remarks to Sen. John McCain and asked him, “How does conservatism modernize itself, how does the party get back to power?” Continue reading