Criticism, constructive and otherwise — or talk radio can serve us better
During the past week, whenever I found myself alone in the car during good drive-time talk radio (i.e., Rush), I did something unusual: I didn’t listen. Instead, I turned to mindless pop music. I was thinking about this peculiar behavior on my part, because I truly love Rush. I think he’s a radio genius, someone who understands perfectly the lines between entertainment, news, and analysis. He’s also one of the sharpest political thinkers out there. No wonder the Left hates him.
But still…. I didn’t want to listen.
Analyzing my bizarre retreat from Rush, I realized that my problem is that the things that used to energize me during Obama’s first term — conservatives reporting on the faults and foibles of the administration, even as the MSM ignored them — no longer stir me up. I’ve had four years to learn that Obama is not the “hope” promised, unless your hope was for a jobless stock market recovery, endless welfare rolls, increased racial tension, a simmering Middle East that constantly threatens to explode, negative pressure on core Constitutional rights, and all the other practical and ideological changes Obama’s presidency has brought to America. The problem is that, while you and I were riled by these stories, none of this data penetrated the minds of less engaged American voters, all of whom who listened to the media’s siren song and reelected Obama.
Having accomplished its job, the media is suddenly discovering that there are some problems with Obama’s first term, everything from violently antisemitic and anti-American “friends” in Egypt, to the coming economic and medical disaster that is ObamaCare, to the corruption that’s always swirled around his administration. As I told my mother when she pointed to such stories, this isn’t just a case of too little, too late. It’s nastier than that. The media is doing these stories as cover: when the second Obama term brings badness to America (although Obama may still escape unscathed), the media has provided itself with some plausible deniability. It can point to these articles and say “We told you so” — the big con being that they only told the American people so after they’d ensured that Obama locked up a second term in office.
The fact is that four years of conservative media pointing out what Obama and the Dem Progressives are doing made no difference to the ultimate outcome in 2012. To be sure, there was a ton of criticism from the Right, but it wasn’t constructive, because those who needed it (Obama and the Dem Progs) weren’t listening and wouldn’t have changed anyway. It was criticism in a vacuum. It made the minority party feel better, but ultimately had no effect.
I want marching orders, not whining mourners. I want to hear ideas about how to change the body politic, not another story about what weasels Obama and his buddies are. I already know that stuff — and the media, for reasons of its own, is finally doing a little heavy lifting and is starting to report on a few foibles in the Obama administration. The fact is that Obama will not run again. He’s already old news. What conservatives need know is to disengage from the war with Obama and begin, instead to plot a strategy for 2014 and beyond, one that ignores this little man and, instead, focuses on shaping ideological issues in ways that excite the man on the street. Talk radio, with its vast reach, should be a source of inspiration, rather than relentless, mis-focused anger.