LAST YEAR’S VILLAIN: John Podhoretz says that if it’s all quiet on the Eminem front after his movie opened, it’s because because conservatives have bigger fish to fry:
The war against smutty and sleazy culture has been a popular one, to be sure. Throughout the 1990s, politicians on all sides of the political spectrum had a field day fighting it.
Bill Clinton and the Democrats pushed through legislation creating the so-called V-chip, which gave them bragging rights with independent voters disgusted by MTV and late-night cable. Social conservatives raised hundreds of millions of dollars in direct mail promising to clean up our culture.
But then something happened: Sept. 11.
Now Republicans and conservatives aren’t concerned about rap music or TV sex and violence. They’re interested in national security, in terrorism prevention, the war against al Qaeda and the war with Iraq. Are kids learning dirty words from Eminem? Big deal. Eminem won’t kill them. Militant Islam will.
In other words, conservatives have given up fighting evanescent battles on catchy issues because they are consumed with matters of far greater import.
This deadly seriousness on the matter of a true and imminent threat to the United States has elevated the Republican Party in the 14 months since the attacks. That newfound gravity helped ensure the party’s success at the polls.
Republicans have been talking about what matters most, not what’s most annoying. And that made all the difference on Election Day.