Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele gave the only appropriate response on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, to Senate Majority Leader and member of the anti-war Left Harry Reid comparing critics of health care reform to opponents of abolition: he refused to answer questions about it and told CNBC commentator Donny Deutsch to change the subject.
It was a good reaction, because taking it seriously would have mainstreamed an argument, conservatives shouldn’t want to mainstream. Progressives have set the tone of the debate for too long. It’s time for conservatives to fight back and create new rules for the political debate. Kudos for the moderate conservative Steele for understanding this and for making clear to progressives that he doesn’t fall for their tricks to discredit all opposition to their plans.
Ever since George H.W. Bush’s presidency (albeit especially since his son George W. Bush took office), the Left has excelled at framing the political debate. Because of the Left’s opportunistic use of political correctness to silence critics, conservatives are nearly almost forced to play defense. Leftists can say everything, conservatives get away with nothing. When leftists are the minority in Congress and passionately oppose the plans of the majority, they and their friends in the MSM proclaim that “dissent is patriotic.” When they are the majority, however, self-proclaimed “liberals” quickly turn into little dictators, who ferociously attack, vilify and smear the opposition.
We know that by now.
But the Left has only gotten away with its despicable methods because conservatives have let them get away with it. Too seldom have conservatives said “enough,” when so-called “progressives” used yet another (rhetorical) trick to silence them. An example of this behavior is the way Code Pink and other leftist groups undermined the War on Terror by portraying those who supported it as mass murderers.
Conservatives weren’t the underdog for so many years because of fate, because there was no other option, but because we allowed ourselves to be pushed into a corner. We have let leftists dominate us.
If we want to break that pattern, we have to take ownership of the debate and set a new tone. Playing by the Left’s rules will get us nowhere. This means we have to create our own rules and force leftists to adhere to them. Steele did so today, it’s now up to us to continue down this path and go on the offense.
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