When I read Glenn Beck said this:
“I said when I left Fox that this half of my career is going to be shaped more by Walt Disney than anything else,” he says.
His interest in Disney is symbolic of the shift in his attention and efforts toward culture and away from politics. He had a realization: “Culture is the lead. That’s the dog. The news is the tail.”
He pulls out a piece of early publicity on Disneyland, points to a paragraph, and reads aloud. “Disneyland will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America and it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world.” Beck, known to burst into tears at a moment’s notice, looks like he might do so right now. “That’s what we’re gonna do,” he declares. “That’s how I intend on impacting culture. To do that.”
And then Mark Steyn wrote this:
You can’t have conservative government in a liberal culture, and that’s the position the Republican party is in. After the last election, I said that the billion dollars spent by the Romney campaign on robocalls and TV ads and whatnot had been entirely wasted, and the Electoral College breakdown would have been pretty much the same if they’d just tossed the dough into the Potomac and let it float out to sea. But imagine the use all that money and time could have been put to out there in the wider world. Liberals expend tremendous effort changing the culture. Conservatives expend tremendous effort changing elected officials every other November — and then are surprised that it doesn’t make much difference. Culture trumps politics — which is why, once the question’s been settled culturally, conservatives are reduced to playing catch-up, twisting themselves into pretzels to explain (including in the pages of this magazine) why gay marriage is really conservative after all, or why 30 million unskilled immigrants with a majority of births out of wedlock are “natural allies” of the Republican party.
I am compelled to pause and think.
I don’t necessarily buy into everything Steyn says—I think gay marriage can be conservative, for example, in that two adults of the same sex committing to each other before God and man, often to raise children, fits the conservative model of the family more than a single woman who tries to go it alone (or aborts her unborn child). Conservatism can change with the times, and the times are significantly less hostile to gay people, and even gay marriage, than just a few years ago.
But I do buy the larger part. How can the Right win elections (except as a reaction to failures on the Left—see 2010 and 2014, I hope) when its vision of a healthy society is so at odds with what popular culture is selling? Cutting the budget may be fiscally prudent (necessary, even), but what about school breakfasts? We no longer expect parents in some districts to give breakfast to their kids (lunch was lost long ago), so are they supposed to go to school hungry? What about unemployment insurance? Even liberal economists (even Paul Krugman!) acknowledge that paying people not to work discourages them from working. But do you want them to starve? Black women may be slaughtering their unborn children at genocidal rates (in the case of “Dr.” Keith Gosnell, literal slaughtering), but do you expect them to have babies they can’t care for?
The culture weighs the pros and cons and makes its decisions. We live in a culture that prefers dead black babies to ones born to unfit mothers; that would rather not insist people work even when they can; that would rather schools play mommy and daddy, rather than, you know, mommy and daddy. Like a parallel universe, it’s hard to picture the world any different.
Yet this is at odds with one of Rush’s observations: that Obama remains more popular than any of his policies. He preaches “immigration reform” (amnesty) when few people care, and most of those who do oppose it. He wants to elevate “climate change” from the last place finish it ranks in polls of national concerns. He won’t get off the pot on the Keystone pipeline, when most people see the benefit. And he force-fed us ObamaCare. At least on some political issues, Obama, not conservatives, is at odds with the culture. Once Obama is gone, things may look more balanced (if it’s not too late).
I am more drawn to the Tea Party end of the Republican Party than its mainstream—give me more Ted Cruz, less John Boehner. Not because I believe everything Cruz believes, but because he believes in something. Whatever the Left believes in is diseased and corrupt. That has to made manifest to a nation of “low information voters”.