Last Sunday, an editorial in the Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader said, “…these televised so-called ‘debates’ are getting awfully stale and are doing little to advance the issues or to help the public figure out who has the best ideas for the crucial times we face. That goes for the Democrats as well as the Republicans.”
It’s impossible to disagree, but the UL editorial breaks the first rule of punditry: he who criticizes has an obligation to offer a better alternative. I have one, and it’s only two words: Laura Ingraham. On her radio show, Ingraham dissects the Republican candidates with a not-always-gentle scalpel, giving us in twelve minutes or so much more insight into the candidates’ character and policies than any of these tiresome 90-minute cattle calls. (It’s a pity that Hillary won’t do a session mano-a-mano with Laura. I’d pay serious money to hear that one.)
All conservatives, especially these days, are good at complaining about the world — about the liberal media, the dishonest Democrats, and the feckless Republicans — but if you’re looking for actual solutions, the best place to turn this fall is Laura’s new book, Power to the People. (Full disclosure: Laura is a pal, and sometimes I’m privileged to sub for her on radio when she’s on the road.) This is no airhead celebrity book. This is a very serious (yet punchy and witty, as you would expect from her) issue-by-issue analysis of what conservatives — truly, all Americans — are up against.
Ingraham, fields phone calls every day on her radio show, understands regular Americans — their values, their concerns, and their hopes — much better than pretty much all our politicians. And from her own unpleasant first-hand experience, she’s seen just how out-of-touch the mainstream media is. As a practicing lawyer and having clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Laura worked for both CBS and MSNBC before breaking into talk radio. (The book is worth buying just to see how a smart, tough, conservative woman fit in (not) with the hyperlib CBS crowd.)
The point of the book — and the meaning of title — is twofold: First, when libs screech, “power to the people” what they mean is “give us power over the people.” In every aspect of our lives, the liberals have wormed their way in and are working feverishly to keep and grow their power. From the courts to the schools, from the television networks to rap music, the liberal influence is nearly dominant.
Second, “Power to the People” is a call to action, and almost a dare to the reader. If the other guys are steering us astray, maybe you oughtta grab that wheel.
Ingraham’s book begins with a counterpoint to Ronald Reagan’s “It’s morning in America” line. It’s dark times for Americans and conservatives are frustrated with a White House that was supposed to be conservative and turned out to be something entirely different. But this is where Ingraham’s mind burns through the murk: there really is a light at the end of this tunnel, and that light is emitted by a re-energized conservative movement.
In every chapter, after an apt dissection of liberal perfidy and conservative weakness, Laura issues a battle cry together with some well-devised tactics — ranging from prudent retreats (home-schooling), to sly flanking maneuvers (the power of the blogs), to full-frontal assaults (waging war against the pornographers).
Laura’s list of issues is not one dictated by the New York Times or the floor leaders of either party — she hits the issues that matter to people: checking illegal immigration, keeping terrorists from killing us, guarding against and activist judiciary, preserving local control, repairing education, and more. But she also hits closer to home. The book begins at the beginning, with a chapter about strengthening families, and ends at bottom line: “What is the point of all this?” she asks, “Power to what end.” Ingraham exhorts the reader to be faithful and unabashed about his faith.
In her chapter, “Protecting the People,” Ingraham quotes President Reagan’s words about the Soviet Union (spoken before Reagan became president): “There is an evil influence throughout the world. In every one of the far-flung trouble spots, dig deep and you’ll find the Soviet Union stirring a witches’ brew, furthering its own imperialistic ambitions. If the Soviet Union would simply go home, much of the bloodshed in the world today would cease.”
Ingraham applies Reagan’s words with precision: “Yes, I want to applaud every time I read that, too. We ache for such clarity and oratory today. Replace the words ‘Soviet Union’ with ‘Islamic radicalism’ and you would be accurately describing the main national security threat we face today.”
Years ago, when my sons were learning about the ways of the military, each would inevitably ask, “what’s the difference between a tactical weapon and a strategic one?” I’d go on and on about why an F-15 was a great tactical weapon until you strapped a nuke on the wing, when it became a strategic weapon.
These days, there’s a simpler and more interesting answer. In the conservative arsenal — standing alone — Laura Ingraham is a tactical weapon. But give Laura a computer or a radio microphone and she becomes one of the most powerful strategic weapons conservatives have.
Read this book and talk about it with your friends. Going into 2008, it’s a great compilation of what all conservatives need to be working hard to preserve and achieve.