Carol Platt Liebau: A Call for Outreach

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Call for Outreach

This week, somewhat amusingly, after cataloging several pitiful and inaccurate efforts by liberals allegedly to "reach out" to conservatives -- by casting Calista Flockhart as a "thoughtful" (gasp!) conservative pundit and writing biographies of "neoconservative" William F. Buckley -- Chait condemns conservatives for not attempting similar outreach:

You don't hear conservatives mourning their lack of common ground with the English department at Columbia University. In fact, it's incredibly rare to find a conservative who understands liberalism as anything other than hatred for the rich and a desire to hand over our foreign policy to the United Nations.

Winning, apparently, gives conservatives the luxury of not having to care what the other side thinks.

Typically, Chait totally misunderstands the issue on almost every point. First, liberals aren't reaching out to conservatives through the goodness of their little left-of-center hearts. They're doing it because it makes good business sense. Finally, finally liberals are figuring out that there are just a whole lot of conservatives in America, and that they watch television and read books, too! There's money to be made in reaching out to an underserved segment, and whatever their pretensions to redistributionist economics, it's pretty clear that liberals like to make money as much as conservatives do.

Second, how and where exactly are conservatives supposed to reach out to liberals to show that they "care what the other side thinks"? Liberals have dominated the culture so long that it's not clear how Chait thinks the outreach should be effected: Maybe insisting that all the conservative, pro-life, religious Hollywood denizens introduce more left-wing themes into television and movie programming? Making room in all the hegemonic conservative Ivy League universities for just a few liberal professors?

As the mistakes Chait himself points out demonstrate, blue state liberals have no clue about conservatives -- what they think, how they define themselves, who they are. But because the liberals have dominated national culture so overwhelmingly, it's pretty clear that red state conservatives understand exactly who liberals are and what they think.

I'd be willing to bet a lot of money that if conservatives were putting together a program about a liberal pundit, they'd be able to do it without so many beginner's mistakes.


Blogger Marshall Art said...

Put me down for a few bucks, as well.

8:49 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Sure, they'd just show him to be an America-hating, Christianity-oppressing peacenik rooting for the terrorists to win while forcing straight people into gay marriages while spitting on the flag and murdering Israelis.

10:42 AM  

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