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Mr. Santelli Takes on Washington

Back in LA from San Francisco this week, I finally had time to watch the rest of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  Maybe it’s because I had just read Jim Hoft’s post on how Obama groupie Chris Matthews followed the example of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in attacking Rick Santelli, the latest individual to gain popular acclaim for taking on the president’s policies, that I saw the similarity between the two situations.

In the celebrated Frank Capra cinema classic, as soon as Senator Smith (James Stewart) make clear he intends to oppose a project the Taylor Machine (from his unnamed home state) has had slipped into a spending bill, Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold) cranks up his media machine to destroy the honest critic.

It seems that something similar happens every time someone rises to prominence by raising honest questions about Barack Obama’s policies.  First, Democratic hacks and the MSM went after Joe the Plumber when his questions of then-Democratic candidate led the future president to acknowledge his redistributionist tendencies, wanting to “spread the wealth.”

Now, after colorfully raising questions about the president’s foreclosure plan, Santelli began to feel the wrath of the Obama/MSNBC machine.

First, the White House Press Secretary tells him he should read the president’s foreclosure plan before criticizing it, leading Glenn to crack, “Which is rich, since that’s more than anyone in Congress did before voting last week . .

Noting the Obama Machine going after yet another critic, Dan Riehl offers:

. . . we’re seeing a WH that looks like it’s being run more like a Chicago Ward, than the house that most presidents lived in. This is about attacking everyone and everything that opposes you. In the end, it demeans the office and raises serious concerns as to whether these people can be trusted with the power they now have.

Kind of sounds like James Stewart’s experience when his Mr. Smith went to Washington.

UPDATE: Well, this is interesting. Just learned that Mr. Santelli’s favorite movie is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (at 4:42 below).

Thanks to Reader Leah for the link.

Sound (but Loaded?) Advice from a Critic

In a recent comment, bob, one of our most regular critics, chimes in with some good advice for conservatives:

rather than spending so much energy on criticizing your political opponents, perhaps you should begin developing more nuanced and thoughtful ideas on how to solve the nation’s problems. in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in quite the predicament these days.

if you want conservatives to remain relevant in our country’s discussion (i, as a liberal, want conservatives to remain relevant to our country’s discussion), you would be well advised to think about how to make things better instead of about how to find a way to put liberals down. i’m not saying you shouldn’t criticize the opposition; it’s just that the criticism should not overwhelm the discussion of ideas and your ideals.

Perhaps, I was particularly sensitive to this criticism because while I sketched out my plan for a needed economic stimulus, I have neglected to turn it into a post.

But, I wonder, as does one of our defenders if the:

implication of bob’s comment is that conservatives – and classical liberals – and you/us on the GP blog – somehow haven’t been making a good case on how to improve things. We/they have. It’s just that bob, and Democrats generally, choose to stay in ignorance of it.

I do hope bob is aware that many Republicans have put forward alternatives to the “stimulus.” And conservatives have articulated how they would improve things if they were in charge.

That said, I particularly appreciated bob’s last sentence, acknowledging that criticism has it’s place so long as it doesn’t overwhelm the discussion of ideas.  But, as Camus wisely noted, sometimes opposition affirms a deeply held value or principle.

It’s important that we Republicans recall what we’re affirming when we oppose Obama’s initiatives, articulating those principles along with the opposition.  And that we put forward alternatives to the president’s plans as many Republicans did during the “stimulus” debate.