Amid a long commentary on last week’s Jim Manzi-Mark Levin dust-up (and related matters), Jonah Goldberg made the following observation:
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A lot of folks think conservative Big Media are too powerful and define the debate too much. Okay. I don’t think this is an unreasonable position on its face. But whenever I hear it, I always have to ask “compared to what?” Would conservatism be in better shape if conservatives had to rely on the mainstream media? Isn’t the fact that Fox News and talk radio are so popular a sign of conservative success instead of conservative weakness?
I suppose that it depends on what you mean by “success.” In a sense, the last eighteen months have been enormously successful for conservatives: The polls have turned decisively against the Democrats, the Obama White House, and liberalism in general; the Republicans have won a series of elections they weren’t expected to win; and conservatives look primed for bigger gains in November. But of course, all of this political success is happening against the backdrop of (and as a backlash against) a series of sweeping liberal policy successes, whose impact promises to be much more enduring than whatever happens in the midterms. Elections come and go, but new entitlements tend to last forever …
Likewise, the presidency of George W. Bush, the first Republican to govern in the age of Fox News, represented a political high-water mark for modern conservatism: For the first time since, well, ever, a right-wing Republican Party controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency all at once. But nobody on the right regards the Bush era as a golden age of conservative policymaking — and I know that Jonah Goldberg, for one, is far more hostile to most of Bush’s domestic policy than I am.
Read More: BY Ross Douthat, NYT
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