When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted Obama to fail, the reaction on the left was predictable – as was the reaction of get-along conservatives and Republicans. From the way that “moderates” swooned over his comments you would have thought that he had asked if someone could please pass the jelly.
Such is life in the minority, where guradians of respectability strike against anything that might be deemed “intermperate.” The greatest sin a conservative can commit in this age is offending the sensibilities of a leftist or – even worse – a moderate.
You see this sort of gutlessness in the comments sections of blogs, where certain commenters “tut tut” over too much criticism, as though each slight against the Obamamessiah will only add to the years in minority purgatory.
Conservatives seem to be under the impression that if we continue to play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, then the left will simply be obliged to follow, and we can all sit around debating politics as if America was a giant stage for the latest production of Firing Lines. Well, channeling the spirit of Captain Lonestar, welcome to the real world. Democrats are not obliged to play by such niceties, and we need voices who are willing to hit back as hard if not harder. Yes, kiddies, there is a need for people like Limbaugh and even – GASP! – Ann Coulter.
We need to be tough and sensible if we are going to reclaim the majority, and we also need to offer up sensible solutions. In a sense, conservatives have to play the “good cop, bad cop” routine on a national scale. There is no sense promoting our principles sotto voce when the other side has no qualms about taking up the megaphone and shouting from the rooftops.
This is not a call for abusive rhetoric. We can be tough without resorting to infantile rhetoric. But it is naive to think that we can accomplish our mission without the likes of Limbaugh and others who are willing and able to confidently challenge the other side, using whatever means are at their disposal.
RS McCain makes much the same argument in this post. As he concludes:
To the extent that conservatives need a philosopher now, I’d say we need to be studying Sun-Tzu.
If Rod Dreher wants to join Andrew Sullivan and David Brock (yes, I said “Brock,” not “Brooks”) in the ranks of the vaunting army outside the camp, let him go over and be gone. But don’t sit pouting inside the camp, giving aid and comfort to the adversary by your demoralizing pronouncements. If that stuff is going to be tolerated among conservatives, there won’t be enough left of a constitutional republic after Nov. 3 for anyone to bother trying to “conserve” it, and no hope at all that it might be restored.