Should Liberals Fear Kevin McCullough? - Page 2
Liberals are frequently appalled by ethnic and social slurs like these. Sometimes it is easy to feel alone in that regard, what with the never-ending carpet bombing of insult from the right. But McCullough believes that most undecided voters feel the same way – at least the younger voters he meets most frequently. I hope he’s right. It would be nice if bigotry really does die in this generation, as I once believed it would in mine.
But take one more step into McCullough’s ideology and things begin to get murky. Regular Republicans generally applaud the shameful attacks that McCullough calls for ending. They praise them as “free speech,” or as well-earned shots at political correctness. “Political correctness” is the pejorative term a conservative uses for what your mom used to call “good manners.” This is hardly an indication of a crowd looking to chart a more civil course.
Conservative celebrities are responding to market forces when they lob rhetorical bombs. The unwashed right both celebrates and venerates the ridicule of others. When Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh demeans, she and he are following their acolytes, not leading them. They do so with the full support – no, the full encouragement — of their cranky admirers.
So Kevin McCullough proposes that conservatives stop chasing away the undecided before they peek inside the tent. But I can’t help but believe that his idea would only delay the moment when seekers see the ugly circus inside. Kevin argues for putting down the repulsive sign, but that won’t launder the repulsive heart.
Beyond that, almost all who claim to be independent actually vote consistently for one party or the other. So hearts and minds waiting to be won may be mythical anyway.
Still, you have to applaud Kevin McCullough’s call for civility. Our politics would probably be better if conservatives rose to his challenge to “argue the issues, not the people.” The jury is still out on whether more conservative civility would lead to more conservatives. But it would mean a new, more ethical and more respectable kind of party leadership. And isn’t what all of these hate merchants are supposed to be doing? Leading, that is.