Credibility for Conservatives

"Credibility is like a baseball diamond in a cornfield. If you build it, they will come."
 -Dennis Miller

Obama's descending poll numbers are a reflection of the determination by American citizens that his administration is taking the country in the wrong direction. Commentators, pundits, journalists, and citizens alike have based their assessment on thoughtful analysis of Obama's various policies and actions to date. Recently, however, I have noticed some extreme positions and wild accusations being made by conservative writers reminiscent of the irrational descent of the left under President Bush. I am concerned about the affect that these statements will have on the credibility of the right's representatives, positions, and ability to turn things around in the future.

I recently read an article which insinuated that Obama is evil and we should all develop "Obamaphobia" in order to prevent impending peril. After listing various convenient definitions of the term "evil," the article concludes that the hate-filled views that many have with regard to Obama are rationally based. While name calling may feel good, I believe that it is important to draw our conclusions of Obama as a human being and President in the context of historical and factual analyses.

One does not need a PhD in world history to be aware of the many truly evil tyrannies that existed in the past and that have led to the torture and death of millions of innocent lives. In the 20th century alone we witnessed the rise to power of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and others -- all with horrifying results impacting the entire globe.

And after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, President Bush coined the phrase "Axis of Evil" to describe the tyrannical regimes of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, countries he accused of developing weapons of mass destruction, engaging in terrorism, and repressing their own people. Is Barack Obama on the same scale? I think not. While his policies are devastating this country both at home and abroad, it is quite extreme to pronounce him as evil.

In addition to suggesting that "Obamaphobia" is a rational and justifiable state of being, another article suggested that the country is being traumatized, terrorized, and abused by Obama. It goes on to conclude that those of us unhappy with his policies are suffering from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. And while I am not a psychiatrist, I would suggest that we should reserve that term for those truly suffering from traumatic life experiences and real terrorism, such as our returning soldiers, the children living in Sderot, and victims of physical and psychological abuse.

Furthermore, while I resent being analyzed by someone that has never met me, I fear that this generic labeling of those of us on the right opposing Obama simply feeds into the name calling already taking place by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, David Axelrod, and others. The left has thrown out the terms mobsters, partisan, un-American, stupid, racist, and mean to describe those that attended the tea parties and spoke out at the town hall meetings. With the help of pundits on the right, the Democrats now have psychological terms that can be used to describe us as irrational and not credible.

Recall the right coining the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome" for those that spoke out against President Bush. And while I firmly believe that many of the liberal left had so fomented their anger over the eight years of his presidency that they lost the ability for all coherent thought helping to bring about the disaster of the Obama presidency, I do not believe that we now need to start labeling ourselves as having lost all rationality.

Karl Rove, writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, pointed out that independent voters account for one quarter of the votes in an off year election. As the right makes its case to win over those votes, its representatives must sound credible. And in order to do so, we on the right must focus on the issues of the day and forego personal attacks. On the same day that Rove's editorial appeared, the front-page headline in the Journal read "GOP Faces Multiple Hurdles as it Aims for a 1994 Replay." The article stated:

"Three factors make it hard to know how apt the comparison [to 1994] is: The first is the outcome of the current health debate; the second is the pace of the economic recovery; and the third is how popular President Obama will be by the middle of next year."

Does anyone really think that if we on the right go about calling Obama and his administration evil, we are going to influence the independent vote and begin to dig ourselves out of this mess? Is it really helpful to assist the left in destroying our credibility by claiming that we are all so traumatized by nine months of Obama that we have taken to the streets with pitchforks and two by fours organizing tea parties?

What we on the right need to do is keep calm, take a breath, and keep our eye on the ball. What is the goal in writing articles? I can only speak personally and it has nothing whatsoever to do with self-reflection or self-aggrandizing. I write with the desire to educate readers and to offer ideas and analysis that others may not have considered. And I write in the hopes of effectuating change. My wish is that the readers of American Thinker will consider what I have to say and will forward my articles to others. When I read a thoughtful article, I pass it along to my distribution list which consists of republicans, democrats, and independents. My list has grown as its recipients have further forwarded the information that I send and I receive emails asking me to add new people on a regular basis. But I do not forward articles that will not build credibility to our side of the debate and assist in getting a rational message to the population.

The internet is a powerful tool if used properly. While we are all aware that there are liberal trolls that look to incite anger and hostility on conservative websites, they are not evil. They are doing their job, they are pursing their beliefs, and we should not stoop to their level by succumbing to the same paranoia. Conservatives have historically risen above the name-calling and used rational thought to out-maneuver the emotional left. The left has Code Pink; the right has tea parties. The left has Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama; the right has Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and John Bolton.

The right needs to build credibility, not a field of bad dreams. If we are able to achieve that, just as in 1994, the voters will come.