Shop our Free Shipping Collection at - 468x60

They Disturbing Limits of Modern Discourse

by: paul driessen | published: 08 10, 2009

Share |

Bill O'Reilly continues his harangue that conservatives should just drop the Obama birth certificate controversy. From where I sit, health care, the deficit and cash-for-clunkers dominate the conservative agenda. While it may round out the top ten, the most talk I'm hearing about Obama's birth certificate is from the No Spin-meister himself. On the same episode, Juan Williams chided conservatives for "going after" Sonia Sotomayor and labeling her a racist.

Does anyone notice a pattern here? American political discourse is about as deep as a birdbath. Most conservatives try to launch serious national debates on serious issues, occasionally even gaining traction, but the voices from the town square keep nagging us, like pesky little do-gooders: "You can't say that!"

And they're coming from the conservative side, too. Dennis Miller recently, also on the O'Reilly Factor, advised that Republicans should just let Sotomayor sail through confirmation. Since she is replacing a liberal justice, he reasons, we could avoid alienating Hispanics and save political capital for the next high court appointment. In 2008, of course, candidate John McCain tiptoed around Barack Obama's ties to radicals. Colin Powell, who, by the way, supported Obama, recently appeared on Larry King Live, battling Rush Limbaugh for the title of de facto voice of the GOP. The environmental left, as we know, has declared the global warming debate over, and some skeptics have been compared to Holocaust deniers, illustrating the left's tactic, which we employ against ourselves, not to foster spirited debate but to squelch it. In this week's National Review cover story, Maggie Gallagher notes that conservative radio hosts are nervous about discussing gay marriage. Few, if any, have rallied support for fellow host Michael Savage, either, who has been banned from England solely for his political speech. Didn't conservative talk radio used to be afraid of nothing?

One could argue that free speech is finite. There are too many voices shouting in the public square and each side has to pick its battles. Furthermore, if conservatives are not advancing a coherent, passionate agenda, then it's their own fault.

Which is exactly the point. Conservatives must set their own agenda and pick their battles according to what is right and not by the prevailing passions of the dominant political culture. Opposing Sotomayor for her rhetoric and her record is the right thing to do. She should answer for her words -- Republicans need not answer for bringing them up. More precious air time wasted arguing procedure and ground rules. . .

Political debate in this country is cautious and uninspiring. Most of us long to hear the conservative extremists of the liberals' imaginations, having suffered the excruciating congeniality of Bob Dole, President Bush 43, John McCain and the litany of commentators tiptoeing around the peripheries of any given issue. A number of fine commentators and writers breathe fire, but it is the base the is propelling modern conservatism. The most rousing words from the Monday night news shows were clips of town hall meetings, particularly one from Philadelphia where a woman confronted Sen. Arlen Specter and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (and I'm paraphrasing): "Medicare and Social Security are going broke, cash-for-clunkers is a joke, and yet you expect us to trust you with our health care." What her words lacked in originality, she more than made up for with conviction.

Other town-hallers mention the Constitution and the proper role of government, which means they get it. A common lament is that nastiness and mudslinging are ruining our political process, and, while not untrue, a greater harm is a citizenry lulled into complacency by flat, predictable dialogue. The Fairness Doctrine and speech codes are no less stifling than the muzzles we place on ourselves, usually in the name of civility, which is fine in theory, but the truth, as they say, isn't always pretty. Our founders knew it, and the American people, now waking up with a vengeance, know it.

add a comment


Original Comment


Save 15% on Birthday Flowers & Gifts at and let us arrange a birthday smile for you. Use Promotion Code HAPPYBDAY15 at checkout. - 250x250

Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of, it's editorial staff or it's publisher. Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact us for a link request to is not affiliated with any of the alphabet media organizations. is a group of non-compensated, independent writers bringing common sense commentary to the public in the midst of the mainstream media's blatant liberal bias.

Copyright 2008 Conservative Crusader Trademarks belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.