Monday, February 14, 2011

Recommended Reading

If you followed the news coming out of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention this past weekend (you know, the one I previously talked about here), you could be forgiven for thinking our country is about two steps away from sinking into the ocean thanks to a social and political agenda that, to hear it from speaker after speaker after speaker, has been nefariously -- and purposely -- engineered by President Obama to achieve just that end.

Crazy? Maybe, but the idea that "the other side damaging the country on purpose!" is a political trope that's been deployed with increasing frequency and ease lately (by both sides), and its no longer the exclusive domain of the cranks and crazies. Conservative commentator Michael Medved, with whom my disagreements are legion but who tends to offer thoughtful arguments defending his positions, agrees with me that this is a bad place for our discourse to be, and also makes his case why it's a bad idea for Republicans to stake their political future there:
On his radio show last July 2, the most influential conservative commentator of them all reaffirmed his frequent charge that the president seeks economic suffering "on purpose." Rush Limbaugh explained: "I think we face something we've never faced before in the country—and that is, we're now governed by people who do not like the country." In his view, this hostility to the United States relates to a grudge connected to Mr. Obama's black identity. "There's no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily." 
Regardless of the questionable pop psychology of this analysis, as a political strategy it qualifies as almost perfectly imbecilic. Republicans already face a formidable challenge in convincing a closely divided electorate that the president pursues wrong-headed policies. They will never succeed in arguing that those initiatives have been cunningly and purposefully designed to wound the republic. In Mr. Obama's case, it's particularly unhelpful to focus on alleged bad intentions and rotten character when every survey shows more favorable views of his personality than his policies.
More from Medved at the link.

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