6 Signs Conservative Rhetoric is Losing the Debate
John Quiggin pulled together a very interesting list of happenings the other day. Simply put, many pillars of the conservative universe look to be in trouble:
* Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke and subsequent abandonment by sponsors
* The failed attempt by rightwing operatives at the Komen Foundation to blacklist Planned Parenthood
* The exposure of ALEC’s responsibility for the “stand your ground” laws that played a critical role in the Trayvon Martin case
* Most recently, the Heartland Institute has seen sponsors bail and its entire Washington team (mostly focused on insurance issues) decamp, promising that their new operation will have nothing to do with climate “scepticism”
In addition to this, but arguably sui generis are
* the attempt (which looks like succeeding) by the Koch Brothers to take control of Cato, easily the most credible thinktank on the right of politics
* the denunciation of the Republican party by Norman Ornstein, long presented as the intellectually respectable face of the American Enterprise Institute
Taken all at once, this list is quite remarkable, especially given what happened to the likes of Limbaugh. A few months ago I would have said his position was nigh-invincible, and nothing short of biting the head off a rabbit on a live show would have caused him trouble. But as John says,
…the simple proposition that “truth will out” seems to be working at some level. As long as things are going well, these organizations and pundits benefit from the reflexive assumptions of balance, two sides to every story and so on. But they’ve lied so often and so blatantly that this requires a lot of cognitive dissonance. When they overreach and screw up in the process, the cognitive dissonance is resolved against them.
The Overton Window is a bit elastic, apparently. I would add that the increasing ideological extremism and purging of “RINOS” has led to a palpable decay of ability across much of the conservative apparatus. How else to explain their bizarre fascination with “vetting” the president? No one in charge seems to understand that the idea of vetting is to look at prospective candidates to find out how they might govern; if they’re looking for a second term, why you just skip a step and look at how they actually governed.