What a week.
With this fall’s midterm elections just around the corner and the Republican Party primed to make astounding gains in them, an October Surprise of sorts popping up in some hotly contested races across the fruited plains was fully expected by both the most seasoned of politicos and the public at large. Needless to say, none were let down when a series of events took place over a span of twenty-four hours, beginning on early Wednesday morning when the top brass at National Public Radio decided to part ways with Juan Williams, one of its most popular and respected analysts. What did he do to deserve such treatment? Well, it appears that his having the sheer audacity to voice an opinion recently on FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor regarding how he would feel if seated next to a religiously fervent Muslim on an airplane during this day and age touched a nerve with someone very important and that was that.
Who could this person possibly be?
None other than billionaire and infamous financier of far left causes George Soros, of course. He donated roughly 1.8 million dollars to the borderline insolvent radio network just before the Williams controversy erupted, with many speculating the intention of building a media presence sympathetic to his personal views. The fear of losing this last minute lifeline could have been what inspired NPR President and Chief Executive Officer Vivian Schiller to openly state that if Williams had a problem with his long and distinguished career being flushed down the tubes over something so relatively mundane, then he should see a “psychiatrist or his publicist”. Naturally, this almost instantly caused a huge backlash amongst a good portion of NPR’s listeners and donors, many of which vowed never to donate to the network again.
On the polar opposite of the political spectrum, the King of One Track Minds — yes, that is right, El Rushbo himself — was not far behind in generating controversy, albeit of an entirely different sort. Of all people, he chose to grill judicial ultraconservative — being one is a good thing in my book, by the way — Darrell Issa, a U.S. Representative from suburban San Diego, for standing with House Minority (Soon to be Majority, thankfully) Leader John Boehner in promoting civil debate and bipartisan solutions with the Democratic caucus during the next Congress. I could hardly listen to the whole thing, but after Issa repeatedly tries to explain why the GOP needs to go along to get along, Limbaugh starts to spout off rubbish about Obama being imprisoned, Boehner ruling without compromise, and the American public loving every second of it. Immediately after Rush’s tirade, Issa desperately tries to bring something resembling reason into the conversation, which has devolved into a one-way shouting match at this point, but is promptly cut off by the self-proclaimed “Doctor of Democracy”. Hearing this made me wonder just why so many people swoon over Limbaugh, but then again, they are most likely the same folks who believe that Sarah Palin is America’s Last Hope. It pains me that there are such loons within the ranks of my party.
Despite both Williams’ termination and Limbaugh’s alternate reality being almost equally infuriating to me in their own ways, they both provide a powerful lesson for mainstream America: the radicals will destroy the political process. On the Left, they will attempt to silence all opinions other than their own by way of intimidation, and on the Right, they will pursue a narrow ideological agenda without any semblance of tact or decency. All things considered — any frequent NPR listener will get the joke — the far left and far right share much more in common than the center-left and center-right do. That is why partisan politics must return to the manner in which it was conducted during the Eisenhower and Rockefeller eras, times when good ideas were brought to the table and worked upon to create a positive solution. Should the center in both major political parties regain control of Washington — and the lunatics like Pelosi and DeMint be relegated to obscure subcommittee posts — then, and only then, will the change which the vast majority of Americans desire come to fruition.