Matthew Schmitz wants counter-conservatives to stop attacking the right-wing talk radio pundits:
If the goal of Conor and others who have attacked talk radio is to save the Republican Party, I’m at a loss as to how this helps. By going after these talk radio personas, they are merely raising their profiles as the embattled defenders of “authentic” conservatism. Having Rush’s face on the cover of Newsweek, especially for a very negative article, only increases his reputation among his supporters and his legend among media types. It does much, much less to help the Republican Party, conservatism, or anyone else other than David Frum, who can build a reputation as the anti-Rush. If Frum and Friedersdorf do want a conservatism that can win again, I think they would be well-advised to find enemies who do not have everything to gain by being attacked.
If Rush and Levin (et al) didn’t already have extremely high profiles then I might agree with this analysis. As it stands, the much less well known figures like Conor, Frum, and Dreher are hardly likely to raise their profiles as “the embattled defenders of ‘authentic’ conservatism.” Indeed, such dust-ups are more likely to raise the profiles of Conor, Frum and Dreher.
Either way, it can’t hurt to try. Just doing nothing is simply not enough. While Rush and Beck and Levin may indeed be their own worst enemies, it never hurts to point out why they’re wrong and how conservatives can, and should, do better.
Beyond this, it seems that the very self-destruction that Rush and co. are engaging in is, if anything, spurred along by in-fights with other conservatives like Frum. We can already see how the right is devolving into irrelevance by promoting their pundit class – and hugely unpopular former vice presidents – as the standard bearers of the movement. Forcing them to do battle in public may bolster their reputation with the fast-dwindling base, but it will at the same time reveal that there are indeed conservatives out there who have something to say that’s worth listening to, beyond merely attacking the leaders of the current conservative movement. And it forces them into that awkward position of not only being opposed by those damned liberals, but by conservatives as well. A lot of voters don’t realize that they have a choice – that other forms of conservatism exist outside and beyond the movement.
The saying goes, all publicity is good publicity – but I’d say that’s only true if you happen to be rather obscure to begin with. If you’re already on the top of the world, like Rush, you should think about another cliche – what goes up, must come down….
James Poulos accuses Mark Levin of bad postmodernity. Truly, Poulos has stepped over the line this time….