by ERIC BYLER
TONIGHT on Coffee Party Radio, Michael and I will start The Middle Ground at a special time: 7:30 pm ET. We'll go for the 90 minutes leading up to the second Presidential Debate. CLICK HERE to listen live, or call in at 646-929-2495. Our topic: "Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative."
Everything you wrote was perfectly clear and delightfully illuminating, except that I haven't read The Fountainhead so the absurdity of the contrast was somewhat lost on me. I love the point that it's no fault of the term, but a fault of the loose way that people use it, that we aren't sure quite what it means.
I do think we're on to something. I fully realize that the "who's not" socially moderate & fiscally responsible is the shrinking Republican base. As I often say, the ruling class knows this group is shrinking, that's why such drastic measures are being taken to bolster its influence with money and all that it buys, including new voter suppression laws and Supreme Court decrees like "Citizens United."
But, if the People can counter Big Money + Big Media with massive participation + social media, the inevitability that the former is meant to prevent will not be preventable. I know that social conservatives seem ferocious right now. They yell at us, they threaten us, they bring guns to public meetings, and of course they vote. But truly, where would they be without Big Money + Big Media? The only reason that the ruling class invests in BM + BM (and uses it to provoke conflict on social issues) is that it wins elections. What if it didn't? The changes I predict could happen much faster than you might think.
Right now, BM + BM is unnaturally inflating the power and the intensity of social conservatism. Sure, I know it's out there, but I believe that social conservatism could not, in today's America, continue to be a national organizing principle without Fox News and the Republican party manipulating and provoking us.
If the Fox News/GOP establishment decided that stoking social conservatism is no longer a winning formula, they would change their script, shoot a different movie, and, offer different candidates. (Or, they could offer the same candidates reading a different script). They'd push the Republican base, and thereby their candidates toward the gradual changes you mention.
They'd seek to build a coalition that includes constituencies that are not shrinking, and will always be there, for instance, socially-liberal-fiscally-responsible people. Then, the choices we'd be focusing upon would be filled with substance rather than bluster. They'd fall between where you see things and I see things, or, where Jon Huntsman wants to take the country and Hillary Clinton wants to take it. Wouldn't that be nice?
Some things I want to cover in tonight's radio show:
- Where do you and I disagree, let's try to fight about it! (=
- Why isn't the Libertarian party the answer?
- Is there really no such thing as a fiscal liberal?
- It seems we've created a new tent that begins with the premise that social conservatives are icky and money in politics is bad. Is that a coalition to build upon, or does it just seem that way because we feel passionately about it?
- Are we stumbling upon the formula that can heal the country after the election and gradually put our country on a sustained right track?
LISTEN to The Middle Ground with Michael Charney & Eric Byler tonight (10/16) at 7:30 pm ET