Via TMV Joe Gandelman points us to an excellent post by Hart Williams at The Democratic Daily. Hart remembers the National Review and in the larger context, the national discourse, from a time when civilized debate wasn't an oxymoron.
But Buckley’s magazine had some qualities that today’s incubus version does not: civility, playfulness, a sense of humor, lively debate and intellectual confidence. When you are CONFIDENT about what you believe, you need not make yourself taller exclusively by the tactic of cutting off everyone’s heads around you. You can hold your own in a debate without recourse to the gutter; you can actually debate.
Look: the reason that we’ve come to this pretty pass is that DEBATE CEASED IN 1986, when Rush went on the air. Incapable and incompetent to hold his ground in a fair debate, his radio show and then his emulators and then the entire Republican Party removed themselves from the arena of debate, and only held mock and sham debates, as phony, choreographed and rigged as TeeVee Wrestling.
As the saying goes, read the whole thing. Hart eloquently underlines a point I often make when I venture to comment on right leaning blogs.
We're drawing the battle lines along the wrong front. The fight isn't between Democrats and Republicans, or conservatives and liberals. It's between us, the electorate, and the professional politicians. We ordinary Americans are not that different. We're mostly good people who are doing the best we can with what we have to work with but when we allow ourselves to be suckered into spending our energies on who can score the biggest snark point in pointless debates on minutia, instead of working together to hammer out practical solutions to our present day big picture challenges, the only ones who win are the politicians. As long as we're dancing around the boxing ring warily eyeing each other, we're not watching them and as we've seen time and time again, both sides of the aisle are selling us out.