The Democrats weren’t kidding when they complained, after November’s election, about conservative media domination. The New York Times reports on their efforts to build a network of think tanks (like the Heritage Foundation, the Center of the American Experiment, et al.) and talk radio shows (like Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt etc.) to compete with conservatives in the popular marketplace.
“‘If you start from the premise that the message was right, which we do, then the problem was that it wasn’t getting out to the people,’ said one official of the Democratic Party.” Some of us would say, of course, that the Democrats lost last month in part because voters heard them all too clearly.
To solve their communications problem, Democrats are recruiting talk radio hosts to fill the role of the “angry liberal outsider.” They perceive the lack of such voices as a “hole” in the market for which there is a pent-up demand. Recognizing that numerous liberal radio hosts have failed to build a mass audience in the past, the Democrats attribute the problem to the fact that they tend to be too smart for the rest of us: “Progressives have this problem: They sound too erudite, it’s like eggheads talking at you,” the Times quotes one Democrat. So now I guess they are looking for some dumb liberals. If they have any trouble finding candidates, they should contact me. I could suggest a few.
The other problem identified by the Times is that in the past, liberal talk show hosts have been too nice, failing to “bare their fangs at conservative opponents.” I guess they never listened to Jim Hightower. Or the woman I listened to yesterday who accused Republicans of murdering liberal Democrats by bombing their airplanes. Clearly too erudite a message; only “eggheads” would get it.
Most amusing to me is the suggestion that Democrats need to establish a “cable network with a liberal bent.” Um, I think that’s been tried. It’s called CNN, and it isn’t doing very well.
Likewise with the world of think tanks. There are far more many liberal foundations than conservative ones, and a far greater amount of non-profit money is spent on liberal causes than on conservative causes. And liberal think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution, are out there. The problem is that their output doesn’t generate much interest, let alone excitement.
The reality is that liberals are losing the battle of ideas because their ideas aren’t very good, and the more openly and aggressively they are debated–as on talk radio and the internet–the more their inadequacy is revealed. Compounding this basic fact is the reality that most liberals aren’t, in any event, very interested in ideas. They are interested in getting a cut of the approximately $2 trillion spent by American governments every year. The Democratic Party and its constituents sold out whatever interest they had in ideas long ago.
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