Posted by Lex, On September 28, 2007
I’m not a particular fan of Rush Limbaugh’s. Don’t listen to his radio, don’t go to his website. It isn’t any so much that I have particular philosophical issues with him, so much as it is the tone. He’s one of these guys who thinks people who disagree with him aren’t just wrong, they’re evil. Or stupid. Or both.
Me? I find that off-putting. Not wrong, not bad. Just not my cuppa.
But Rush makes a pretty good living off it I guess. And it’s certainly fair to say such tactics are widespread on both sides of our political divide. It’s worth remembering that while conservative talk radio was born out of anger with “mainstream media” biases, a lot of the angry left commentary ends up on the blogs. For whatever reason, there isn’t quite the market for a commercially successful leftish talk radio. What with NPR flooding the airwaves on the taxpayer dime. Talk about government driving out the private sector.
And I’m an NPR guy. I like shouting at the radio. You’ll never get to savor the savage joys of changing the station on (or blogging about) Robert Reich or Daniel Schorr unless you wade in the same pool for a bit.
With all that said, it’s hard to escape the conclusion today that the angry left blogs have whipped themselves up in a fury of outrage over the fact that Rush said soldiers who disagree with the war are somehow “phony” * soldiers.
Manufactured outrage, that is. Since it turns out that, taken in context, Limbaugh’s comments about phony soldiers referred to soldiers that were, you know: Phony. Jesse McBeth phony.
The MoveOn.org types and their full throated enablers in the blogosphere may have added to their war chest with the infamous “General Betray Us” ad that ran at favored rates in the New York Times. But in doing so they damaged the political cause of mainstreaming the Democratic Party in the run-up to 2008. Forbidden from even considering the possibility that the Petraeus smear was a mistake, it’s a sign perhaps of guilty conscience – not for the smear itself, but for hurting the party – that they’d love to turn the tables on Limbaugh with a tu quoque argument. Even the score.
But tu quoque arguments are inherently vulgar, not to mention juvenile. They scarcely get more refined or mature when their subject matter is meretricious.
It’s a basic flaw of partisan politics on either side that we tend to think that good government will only come once we’ve destroyed our adversaries, control all the levers of power and can impose our will on those who disagree with us. Which, beg pardon, but that doesn’t sound so very much like “good” government to me.
Good government will come first when we agree to debate over the facts rather than our preferences. When we argue about what we know to be true, rather than what we’d wish was. When we can concede even to those we disagree with the good faith of their convictions.
Until then, no: The score’s not even.
* Editor – Link added – Lex had the page displayed here – same page.