About Obama, I have little to add to the blogger consensus; at least as it sounded on the radio, it was great.
Ever the glutton for punishment, after Reagan’s speech I watched to the Fox Panel. After the first Beltway Boy–the Trotskyite compared to centrist Fred Barnes, presumably (or is it the other way around? The hardest things about Fox panels is trotting to figure out who’s supposed to be the liberal…) praised the speech, Beetle Barnes made two incredibly stupid arguments:
- According to Barnes, the speech was appalling because it didn’t take the moral arguments of the anti-stem cell research side seriously enough. Leaving aside the fact that these silly and irrational arguments got about as much time as they merited, what the hell kind of argument is that? A campaign speech doesn’t devote equal time to opposing arguments and state them in their strongest form? How shocking! And something you’d only see at a Democratic convention…
- According to Barnes, the Republicans are the “party of consensus,” while the Democrats are just a group of disparate groups. To the extent that this statement–which is often expressed in various forms by Beltway hacks–means anything, it’s complete nonsense. If it means internal consensus, the Republicans are distinctly non-consensual. With the exception of tax cuts, there are bitter inter-party divisions over every other major issue. If it means the Republican Party positions represent a consensus of Americans, it’s even less defensible. On most issues, Republican positions do not merely not represent a consensus; they’re not even a majority. A majority of Americans, in fact, are pro-choice, culturally tolerant, and prefer Social Security and Medicare to upper-class tax cuts. On the rare issues where the GOP has a majority–such as gay rights–they are low-priority issues on which they will soon represent the minority position.
This general argument that the Democrats are the “party of special interests” in the perjorative is incredibly stupid. Big coalition parties are always collections of diverse interests. What Barnes really means, of course, is that Republicans represent a majority of white males, which to him are real Americans–the only “consensus” that matters.