Peggy Noonan writes in “The Wall Street Journal”:
“It is a question what exact impact the conservative infrastructure, and the great number of conservative thinkers and intellectuals, will have on a GOP comeback. The party has never attempted to reform and renew itself with so many national leaders, not only in the House and the Senate but on the airwaves, and in busy dispute in the magazines, and on heavily visited Web sites. This is going to be interesting to see, and only in part because we’ve never seen it before.”
Interesting point. Only I would put it this way: It’s not the GOP or “conservatism” that can or should be renewed or reformed. Conservatism, under George W. Bush, was nothing more than a collection of vague pro-freedom attitudes and “me too,” watered-down left liberalism. What’s needed is the formation, not the restoration, of a political movement in favor of individual rights, a Constitutional republic, and limited government.
Noonan has an important point, however. There is a pretty strong “non-Obama” or “non-left” intellectual infrastructure out there. The last time the Republicans were totally out — in the 1930s and 1960s, as well as during Jimmy Carter’s term — there was no such intellectual infrastructure. Today, there is.
That’s why the preservation of free speech is so important. Left liberalism is more irrational and emotional than it ever was before. It’s not just that their policies are mistaken; their attitudes are intolerant and perpetually angry. Democrats, at the core, are the party of nihilistic rage hell-bent on revenge and destruction for its own sake. They feel justified in whatever it takes to do whatever they want to do with their power. I’m not saying that everyone who voted for Obama is like this. But the dedicated core of the Democratic Party — those who form the angry liberal left — are like that. Usually these people lose elections, but this time they won big. This creates a danger, first and foremost, for conservative talk radio as well as for non-left thinking to be found on the Internet, on satellite radio, and on cable television. It’s not just Rush Limbaugh in danger here. It’s anyone who disagrees with or objects to hard-left liberalism as practiced by Obama and his cohorts in Congress.
If non-left liberals can join together and prevent ANY restrictions on the freedom of speech in the coming four years, they will have done a lot — not only for the long-term, but also for their shorter-term political interests. Just think of it. America is about to experience four years of unchecked liberal-left rule: Government health care; job-killing tax increases; government takeover of private pensions; further government takeovers of the auto and banking industries; government restrictions on talk radio, the Internet, and who knows what else. Is it really shrill and inaccurate to call this socialism? The consequences won’t be pretty. And so long as Americans have a forum for talking about and criticizing these policies, there’s hope for a radical new direction in the not-too-distant future.