About ten days before Christmas last year, Peggy Noonan wrote:
Always in politics it comes down not to words but to actions. It’s not poetry but policy that claims support and wins. Allow me to prove this, for I think I can. I know something the Democratic Party can do right now that will improve its standing and increase its popularity. It can be done this week. Its impact will be quick and measurable.
It is this: Stop the war on religious expression in America…Do this, Democrats. Announce you will apply pressure to antireligious zealots throughout the country. You have nothing to lose but a silly and culturally unhelpful reputation as the party that is hostile to religious expression. What you could gain is respect and gratitude.
How well did Peggy’s advice sell? Not surprisingly, it didn’t. Check out this op-ed by John McCandlish Phillips, a former New York Times columnist, writing today in the Washington Post:
In more than 50 years of direct engagement in and observation of the major news media I have never encountered anything remotely like the fear and loathing lavished on us by opinion mongers in these world-class newspapers in the past 40 days. If I had a $5 bill for every time the word “frightening” and its close lexicographical kin have appeared in the Times and The Post, with an accusatory finger pointed at the Christian right, I could take my stack to the stock market.
I disagree with the Christian Right on most of the hot-button issues, but I don’t think that they’re indistinguishable from the Taliban, though one hears such overheated rhetoric all the time. I can’t help but think that the mainstream press would be far more sensitive to avoid stereotyping blacks, Muslims, or gays.
The party that’s out of power is actually always auditoning with the American public for its return. But since November, both through their representatives in the media and in government, the left continues to alienate big, big swatches of the American public–the same public that they’ll ask to vote for them next year and ’08.
Of course, if their efforts continue over that time period, it will create a perfect opportunity for triangulation by Hillary…
Update: Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt has some related thoughts.