I inadvertently left my copy of Wednesday’s edition of USA Today on the sofa where my wife could see an article written by Michael Medved. Big mistake. She was incensed. She’s still talking about it. There are too many people who call themselves conservatives who want to be thought of as team players. They’re wined and dined and fawned over with a hearty slap on the back. They want to be accepted by the in-crowd. I put Medved in that category. He’s just conservative enough to pass muster, but when it comes to the heard issues, he backs off. He does not want to offend the cocktail circuit. You don’t hvae to drink to belong. You just need to be invited.1
Medved hosts the syndicated radio show “The Michael Medved Show” and occasionally writes for USA Today.
Medved has all the conservative bona fides, but over the years he has tried to play both ends against the middle. It shows in the USA Today article that sent my wife over the edge. He seems to be more a Cocktail Party member than a Tea Party member of the GOP. Like the Establishment Republicans, the old-guard that also likes cocktails rather than tea, has started to attack the newly elected conservative wing.
It’s one thing to disagree with the rhetoric that’s being used, but it’s another thing to dismiss the actions of people like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul as folly in the face of attacks from Democrats, Republicans, Grover Norquist, and how Medved.
Medved is right on one point, it’s not as bad as William Wallace (Braveheart) who was drawn and quartered, but if we don’t stop what’s happening at every branch of government, we could be headed to decades of political and economic disaster. A little hyperbole may be necessary to get people’s attention.
Medved is peeved that these conservative upstarts really aren’t risking much. Compared to the signers of the Declaration of Independence, he’s right. So, Michael, what should they do? Roll over? What until the Democrats cave and compromise? Give in? Stand down? What’s your solution?
Cruz and the others have energized the base, something that no other Republican has done since Ronald Reagan. If the base in not energized, the party will die. In fact, it was nearly dead after Romney lost and millions of conservatives stayed home.
Medved calls these men “conservative dead-enders.” I’m sure those who attached their names to the Declaration of Independence were told the same thing.
Medved ends his defeatist article with this:
“‘Standing up for principle’ amounts to a noble spectacle only when your stand advances the principle you care about. Despite the superheated rhetoric comparing today’s conservative dead-enders to history’s military heroes, their actions hardly count as selfless. These conservative are advancing their own interests at no real risk, while their romance with martyrdom promotes victory for the other side.
“Today’s unedifying melodrama in the nation’s capital doesn’t reveal Profiles in Courage, as John F. Kennedy’s book on politics did. Rather, the shutdown theatrics lift the curtain on profiles in crazy.”
A person doesn’t have to be drawn and quartered, hanged, or taken behind the shed to be shot to display courage. Standing up to Democrats is enough courage for me.
- I first came across Medved after he had published (with David Wallechinsky) What Really Happened to the Class of ’65? It was his book (written with his bother) Golden Turkey Awards that made the Ed Wood film Plan 9 from Outer Space (“the worst film of all time”) a cult classic and got Martin landau an Academy Award for playing Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Wood (1994). His popularity grew after he wrote Hollywood vs. America and Rush Limbaugh interviewed him and Medved later filled in as a guest-host. He branched out from movie reviews to politics after writing the 2005 autobiographical book Right Turns: From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion in 35 Unconventional Lessons. [↩]