"They’ve been pretty entertaining recently

God bless the conservatives. That’s right, bless ‘em all. Rush and Rove and Rumsfield and all of those hep cats in the Bush posse. I sincerely wish them all the luck in the world.

I’ve taken the time to reacquaint myself with the conservative media lately and I’m actually developing some affection for the right-wing conspiracy, or whatever they call it these days.

They’ve made themselves untouchable by satire or parody. No Saturday Night Live skit or Jon Stewart routine can affect them. Like an old-school NFL team, they keep running the same play every down, gaining two or three yards at a time.

And they haven’t changed their routines for almost 15 years. No matter what else is going on in the world, they keep talking about the Clintons, making fun of the last names of liberals and trashing any Democrat with a combat record.

Rush Limbaugh is just as entertaining as he was when Slick Willy was trying to push health care through Congress in 1994 or when Monica Lewinsky was in the news every day.

The president himself recycled old political language when he introduced Osama Bin Laden’s name into the debate last week.

Conservatives are geniuses. They’ve created the concept of instant nostalgia by continually bringing up the past. Andy Warhol, were he still alive, would be saluting our right-wing overlords for their brilliance.

Of course, their version of the past differs somewhat from reality, but that doesn’t really matter because they’re just so entertaining in their recitations of it.

Locally, Greg Garrison holds down the mid-morning shift at WIBC, the flagship station of the Emmis empire and a much-beloved institution in this city.

I’ve been perhaps too harsh on him in the past, because Garrison’s show is actually really good, even though I disagree with everything he says about politics. He defends the conservative agenda with every ounce of his energy and he’s a great talk-show host.

His Clinton fetish is a bit more extreme than most peoples’ and he’s even suspicious of John McCain, but it’s obvious Garrison means well. And he clearly loves Indiana, as I do. And he wants to see a prosperous and peaceful America, as I do.

So God bless Mr. Garrison and long may he defend us from attacks from the Clinton family.

The debate about immigration reform has divided the conservative movement sharply.

President Bush’s plan is very unpopular with some Republicans and there doesn’t seem to be any room for compromise on the issue.

A frequent guest on Garrison’s show is Congressman Mike Pence, a former talk-show host himself. Pence is in the political battle of his life, not just because it looks to be a bad election year for incumbents.

Pence has taken a principled stand on immigration reform. His bill, although it strengthens border security, also allows a path to citizenship for some workers, leading to it being called an amnesty package for illegal aliens.

Like him or not, Pence’s plan has something lacking in current contemporary debate: compromise. It tries to find a middle ground on an issue that’s red-hot at the moment.

It’s the kind of gesture that led John F. Kennedy to write  half a century ago. Pence’s firm beliefs have gotten him in trouble with the conservative movement and may even lead to his defeat in November.

No matter how hard Mr. Pence tries to explain his proposal on Garrison’s show, callers still seem skeptical. But he seems like an earnest man and his betrayal by his former conservative allies is disheartening.

I disagree with his stances on almost all other issues, but God bless Mike Pence, too, for acting with the most honorable of intentions.

After a long absence from the airwaves, President Bush is traveling the country making speeches. And, surprisingly, he seems to be aware that his views are out of touch with the majority of Americans, because even he is moving slightly more to the political center.

As we remember and honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, we should also remember the statesmanship provided by the president in those dark days. And although he quickly squandered the global goodwill America received after 9/11, and his policy in Iraq is in trouble, Bush will always be remembered for the leadership he gave us back then.

So God bless the president, and may he serve out his term in good health and without doing too much more damage to the country.

These are strange times for the country. The real-life news seems to be contradicting everything the conservative movement has been saying for the last 25 years. But we keep heading down that same tired path, at least until the November elections and maybe even after that.

But as 9/11 reminded us, at heart conservatives and liberals share the same core beliefs. We all want to see our children grow up in a world better than ours. And we are all mortal.

With that in mind, listening to conservatives talk doesn’t make me angry anymore. They’re like the senior citizens who keep telling the same anecdotes over and over, and who turn off their hearing aids when they don’t want to listen to anyone else talk.

So God bless the conservatives, indeed. And God help us all.




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