The Old Media are in a breathless tizzy over Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and other conservative talk show hosts. These high-profile voices of the Right speak to ever-larger audiences. They provide a logical and devastating criticism of the leftist agenda of the Obama Administration on a daily basis. So, Old Media asks: Are these conservative talkers the new leaders of the Republican Party?
The answer is yes, by default.
The Republican Party has a defined structure of local, state and national leaders. As a precinct committeeman and local party chairman, I am part of this structure. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is working diligently to communicate the conservative message. However, Steele is hampered by a media reluctant to shine their light on an African-American conservative success story. More importantly, Steele is constrained by a party apparatus dominated by non-conservatives.
Limbaugh et al suffer no such constraints. They are free to broadcast conservative principles in their own unfiltered style. The desire of liberal lawmakers to restrict their access to the public airwaves is proof of their influence and importance to the conservative cause. The talkers are not a danger to America -- they are a threat to the liberal media and political monopoly.
A common refrain from the base is: Why aren't Republicans doing anything to stop the Democrats? Of course, most are voting against liberal proposals such as higher taxes, higher spending and bigger government. The problem is that Republicans are the minority party in a representative democracy.
Between elections, the only way to stop the majority party is to threaten their majority status. This is achieved by generating ample issue-oriented public outcry that worries the most vulnerable of the majority party legislators. However, you can't beat something with nothing. So, you have to channel that public outcry into action.
This is where the Republican Party is failing. They are not connecting with the town hall dissenters and Tea Party protestors. Some Republican elected officials even act embarrassed by these citizens turned activists. The liberal media immediately highlights these embarrassed Republicans to marginalize the protestors. Rather than pushing them away, the Republican Party should be recruiting these folks. These citizen-activists need a channel for their energy and passion and their natural home is the Republican Party. Protests are for publicity, elections determine government policy.
So, where does the ignored and derided would-be citizen-activist turn? Logically, to those they hear every day confirming the correctness of their beliefs - Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the thousands of other conservative talk show hosts trumpeting their cause. Many a host is asked: What can I do? Sadly, the answer is never to contact your local Republican Party.
The Republican Party ignores this ample public outcry at its peril. However, more than political irrelevance and election defeat is at stake. America will pay the much higher price.
Kenneth Spitz is a conservative local Republican Party leader in DuPage County, Illinois.