Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rush to GOP: Don't listen, just talk

At a pizza parlor in Arlington, Virginia last Saturday, a group of Republicans kicked off a "listening tour" with an appearance by three of the party's leading lights -- 2008 presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The audience was younger than might be expected for such a gathering. Romney, Bush and Cantor shared their vision of a GOP renaissance and heard firsthand the concerns of voters.

Listening -- it seems so obvious, so sensible, especially for a minority party in political exile. Some hard-core ideologues, however, continue to clang, clinging fast to their fantasies.

A handful of noisy conservative activists, protesting that the event was run by dreaded
RINOs, demonstrated in the restaurant's parking lot. The irrepressible Rush Limbaugh, Republicans' verus rector, had this reaction yesterday:
"Look, folks, it's this simple. We do not need a listening tour. We need a teaching tour. That is what the Republican Party, or, slash, the conservative movement needs to focus on. Listening tour ain't it. Teaching tour is more apt."
My mistake -- listening is overrated. What the hell was I thinking?

Limbaugh's prescription [sic] for reviving the Republican Party-slash-conservatism is to keep repeating the same old ideas, only louder. Since that shut-up-and-let-me-talk approach models his successful entertainment empire, he must know what he's talking about.


His teaching tour would serve only to isolate a shrinking minority and ensure its ultimate demise. Limbaugh seems to be unaware that we, The People, have learned everything we need to know about mindless ideology.

The lecture is over. Class dismissed.

Republicans who reject the value of listening to the very voters on whom their party's survival depends are destined to become loud, proud and completely irrelevant.

Our nation needs conservative voices, thoughtful conservative voices, especially on issues like illegal immigration, fiscal policy and Second Amendment rights. I fear that a scorched-earth approach to regaining squandered political ground, however, will further alienate independent and moderate voters who might otherwise be receptive to conservatives' positions on these and other crucial issues -- and if that happens, we all lose.

The talkers need to stop talking, and we need to quit listening to ideologues who ignore the will of The People.

So sit down, Rush, and shut the hell up -- it's our turn.