Opening Fissures in the GOP?

With The New York Times and Rupert Murdoch, seen here in 2007, ...

News Corp CEO Rupert Murdock

I’ve been wondering when the grownups in the GOP were going to speak up to save their party from Fox News and here’s what conservative Senator Tom Colburn had to say in response to comment at a town hall where a questioner thought that she was going to be jailed if she didn’t buy health insurance:

“The intention is not to put anybody in jail,” he said. “That makes for good TV news on Fox but that isn’t the intention.”

He then went on to defend the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi amid boos from the audience:

“I’m 180 degrees in opposition to the speaker — she’s a nice lady,” he said. The crowd could be heard responding unfavorably to his characterization.

“Come on now, she is a nice — how many of you all have met her?” continued Coburn. “She’s a nice person. She’s a nice person.”

“Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re not a good person,” he added. He then discussed his own experience of being vilified before asking the crowd not to “catch yourself being biased by Fox News that somebody’s no good.”

“The people in Washington are good,” he said. “They just don’t know what they don’t know.”

This is someone who was staunchly against the reform as passed and yet has a problem with the climate where Fox News has vilified anyone who opposed them.  It should be interesting what they attempt to do with Colburn, but it looks like he’s going to take a stand and not be pulled off the deep end by the far right at Fox News.  I’m not sure if referring to them as the far right is even accurate as they exhibit a political philosophy that’s difficult to characterize.  In many ways, that philosophy is just insanely self destructive and will lead to the absolute destruction of the GOP unless more people like Colburn stand up and say no.

I was listening to a clip of David Frum, who recently got fired from the American Enterprise Institute for his editorial on the GOP meeting its Waterloo in the wake of the passage of the health care reform legislation.  He agrees with Obama in his observation that the GOP has given itself little room to compromise when it vilifies the opposition as communist or socialist.  He suggests that he used to believe that Fox News worked for the GOP but now it’s the other way around and he’s right.

Fox News almost single handedly created the tea party movement and has done everything possible to pull the GOP to the extreme right such that even John McCain is struggling to get re-elected to his senate seat and has had to run from his maverick “extend hands across the aisle” image because the conservative entertainment industry does not want that.  Basically, Fox New’s entire business model is built on war with “liberals” and GOP turncoats.  Any cooperation between the two political parties is a threat to that very business model, so they don’t want peace to break out.

I recall during the Iraq war that significant percentages of the American public believed that it was Iraq who attacked us on September 11 and were totally clueless about the differences between that nation and Osama bin Laden.  Irresponsible news outlets like Fox were just as responsible for that as they are for creating the climate in the country now.  More of the GOP need to come out and condemn them if for nothing else other than to save their party.


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