Old, tired, ineffectual

E.J. Dionne, liberal columnist for the Washington Post, writes:

>In 1984 three exit polls pegged Ronald Reagan’s share of the ballots cast by Americans under 30 at between 57 and 60 percent. Reagan-style conservatism seemed fresh, optimistic and innovative. In 2006 voters under 30 gave 60 percent of their votes to Democratic House candidates, according to the shared media exit poll. Conservatism now looks old, tired and ineffectual.

Those two exit polls don’t establish the claim that conservatism is “old, tired and ineffectual.” Sadly, however, these are the only hard facts cited in the piece. The rest is a series of do-you-remember-whens about NASCAR and evangelical Christianity, how once they seemed ascendant, now they seem reactionary–or, old, tired, and ineffectual. Dionne writes:

>Now the chic medium is televised political comedy and the cool commentators are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Even though their political fortunes have certainly changed with the recent elections, lots of people still listen to Rush Limbaugh. And the recent election is a phenomenon far too complex to be handled in such a superficial, E-Network kind of way. Besides, the Reagan election comparison is at best a misleading one–and you can’t place it alongside the most recent midterm election without covering over enormous differences (the current disastrous war, scandals, the Katrina disaster, and so on).

As we constantly say of the conservative political media, at least they argue for their positions. While they may argue badly (as we have documented here), at least the advance reasons for positions, rather than nearly fact-free meta-commentary of the political entertainment complex. That, if anything, is old, tired and ineffectual.