The Democratic Message Machine is a lot like the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St.
To my ears, Exile–the dirty-sweetest of all vinyl-era double albums–has everything you could ask for. To my son’s ears, it’s a scratchy collection of embarrassing geezer music.
Same with the Big Dem message. To my ears it’s incontrovertible truth, a timeless symphony of keen-minded thinking.
To an astonishing number of people, though, the siren song of the liberal belongs on an oldies station. Like Exile, it’s strictly ’70s.
The Right Wing Noise Machine, on the other hand, is hot as a Lily Allen download.
For some reason, we’re boring and they’re not. Even when they’re pot-bellied dope-addicted blowhards, they pull in the listeners. And when we’re bespectacled know-it-all comedian-authors, we blow. Sooner or later, the sponsors pull the plug, or the radio station changes formats.
Maybe we should yell more. Or use smaller words. Or stop making fun of stuff that regular people like just because it doesn’t belong in the Louvre. Or stop using snooty references like “Louvre.”
Hard to say.
A hilarious flash-in-the-opinion-pan flared recently with the suggestion that resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine might diminish the influence of Conservative Anger Radio.
The Anger Jocks pounced and denounced quicker than you can say “longtime listener, first-time caller.” A pathetic attempt, they said, to make up for the liberals’ lackluster ability to communicate with the masses.
(For those who’ve never heard of Exile, the Fairness Doctrine was a law that basically required broadcasters to present as fairly as possible both sides of an issue. It has long since died and been replaced by Fox News’ darkly comic Fair and Balanced mantra.)
The bitter irony of the thing is that although Dianne Feinstein was talking about the Fairness Doctrine back in June, it didn’t get a Richter Scale reading until Mississippi Republican Trent Lott suggested in July that the idea might have legs.
Let’s withhold judgment on that. Smarter Democrats than me are taking a look. But experience says you can’t force your kids to like Otis Redding, even if their lives would be better for it. Likewise, you can’t force people to enjoy the sound of condescension, which, let’s be honest, is too often the chorus from the left.
We’ve always had the environment, I suppose. But, until recently it sounded kind of whimpy. They’d say: Support the war machine or they’ll kill us in our sleep. And we’d say: Recycle your paper or the Endangered Moonpie will die.
Now, however, we’ve got Big Fear on our side. They’re stuck with the Global War on Terror. But we’ve got Famine Death From Global Warming.
Which, since there’s fear involved, means conservatives will be super big on global warming quicker than you can chainsaw a rain forest. And unless we get better at marketing, we’ll lose the brand and they’ll have the great midsection of this nation convinced that Earth’s only hope is to hurry up and burn all the oil.
On the other hand, there are signs the tide is turning. Just look at the kids. Long hair is in. Bellbottoms have been spotted. Those shirts look suspiciously familiar. And Keith Richards was in a summer blockbuster.
We may not get another Age of Aquarius, but a shift is definitely taking place. My kid may never appreciate masterpiece songs like “Rocks Off” or “Loving Cup,” but he’ll likely see a day when lefty talk is whatever word they’re using for cool.