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The Simplicity of Conservatism
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I was watching a New Yorker festival panel on bias in the media on C-Span2 last night (Jill was there in person, so maybe she'll have some thoughts...).

Anyway, Bill Kristol and Eric Alterman were going at it hammer and tongs. But my favorite part was when the moderator asked Alterman to explain the popularity of Rush Limbaugh.

He said the main reason was that conservatism was simplistic, easily encapsulated in tiny, digestable snippets, and that liberalism, or "reality", was much messier and complicated, much more difficult to get across in our hyper-paced media.

Which Bill Kristol basically said was nonsense. He said that if Democrats couldn't articulate their positions for social programs, progressive taxation, and their aversion to the recent war in ways that would resonate with the public, then that was their failing.

Someone else on the panel, I think Frank Rich, pointed out that Democratic presidents like FDR and most recently, Bill Clinton, didn't seem to have a problem communicating their politics through the media.

It was an insulting, bullshit thing for Alterman to say, but from what I could tell he had the majority of the New York crowd on his side.

There are a couple of really condescending insinuations in what Alterman was saying:

1) Most conservatives are simple-minded
2) The popularity of conservative politicians can be explained by the public being fooled by them, while the popularity of democratic candidates is genuine

This is the sort of anti-democratic, elitist bullshit I utterly despise. Look, if you can't make your case in a clear and lucid way in an hour cable show or a three-hour radio show (which is fairly pathetic), you've still got print medium (magazines, newspapers, and the internet), which allow for more length, articulation, and reflection by readers.

If, on the other hand, you argue that the American people are too stupid to read...well, if your view is that the teeming masses are a bunch of illerate savages you might want to analyze why you would want to lead a people you have such a base contempt for.

Almost every college-educated person I talk to tends to talk about how the rest of society is idiotic (as if they are not part of the general public).

For fuck's sake, give the people, which you are obviously a part of, a little credit.

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