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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nothing Mobilizes Conservatives Like the Fairness Doctrine

There are some issues upon which I pay attention to polls. Universal health care is one such issue. On that issue, I believe, the polls tell the story. Conservatives want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend as though they aren't losing the debate, but the polls generally say different. On other issues, I think that polls are largely irrelevant. The stimulus is one such issue. First, polls are all over the place. Second, those that oppose the stimulus oppose it with a lot more vigor than anyone the supports it. Are we really to believe that all the politicians that say that phones, faxes and emails are opposed to it are mistaken or lying? What do we make of the nearly half a million signatures from No Stimulus? Were there really as many grass roots efforts to support the stimulus as to oppose it? There is an important distinction between the level of support for an issue. There is a major difference between merely supporting an issue and supporting/opposing an issue with vigor. Someone that just suports an issue can easily be swayed, whereas one with vigor is often a true believers.

That's how the issue of the Fairness Doctrine breaks down. The polls are everywhere. Yet, there are a lot more true believers against the Fairness Doctrine than for it. Let's face it. Most people aren't experts in any issue. As such, it maybe so that the Fairness Doctrine may poll in favor, but most of those that support aren't strong supporters and most don't know that much about the issue.

The Democrats are playing a dangerous game. First, Debbie Stabenow alluded to supporting the Fairness Doctrine. Then, Tom Harkin followed suit. Then, Bill Clinton made a similar allusion. Then, today, on Fox News, David Axelrod gave a non denial denial. If ever the Democrats wanted to mobilize Conservatives, all they needed to do was give the impression that they are thinking about imposing the Fairness Doctrine. They are dangerously close to putting themselves in political no man's land. That's the spot between doing something while still giving the impression that you will. Talk radio needs no more motivation than this. They may as well reach critical mass on the issue now.

Talk radio hosts need to fill several hours of time every single day. Nothing makes it go faster than a daily rant about the Fairness Doctrine. Furthermore, that mobilizes tens of millions of active grass roots listeners. Then, those folks filter throughout water coolers, kitchen tables, and coffee house to spread the word that the Democrats want to silence conservative voices. Then, before you know it, and before the Democrats actually do anything of substance, the Conservatives have an issue.

Right now, 2010 is unfolding for the Republicans. They have mobilized against wasteful government spending and for fiscal conservatism in their opposition to the stimulus. The Fairness Doctrine and card check are two more issues of similar power. All three have a lot more true believers on their own side than on the other side. What this means is that if any of the three wind up being front burner issues, they become winners for their side. If the Democrats want to mobilize Conservatives, a good place to start is to make the impression that they want to re institute the Fairness Doctrine.

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