On this Day After Zell, it might be instructive to look back at the way some media Deep Thinkers have portrayed angry right-wing political speech -- as primarily a '90s affliction, or as something that exists to this day but is primarily the province of cable-news pundits and the "vaudevillians" of talk radio:
There are those who believe the Democrats cannot succeed without the politics of the sewer. These are the same people who believe it is the politics of the sewer to which the Republicans owe their success. This view significantly underestimates the depth and the nature of George W. Bush's support in American society, and significantly overestimates the influence of the media and its pundit vaudeville on American politics. Rush Limbaugh did not elect a president and neither will Michael Moore.
--Leon Wieseltier in The New York Times Book Review, 8/8/04
The left should have learned from Newt Gingrich that rage impedes understanding -- and turns off voters. That's why President Bush was careful in 2000, unlike many in his party, to project amiability and optimism.
--Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, 11/12/03
It wasn't surprising when the right foamed at the mouth during the Clinton years, for conservatives have always been quick to detect evil empires. But liberals love subtlety and describe the world in a palette of grays -- yet many have now dropped all nuance about this president.
--Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times, 6/30/04
If the reds have Bill O'Reilly, the blues now have Al Franken. If red people read "Treason," blue people read "Thieves in High Places." Log onto Amazon.com, and one click takes you to the literary red team, another to the blue team....
Now we are getting our own space in the cineplex. When "Fahrenheit 9/11" hit $23.9 million the first weekend, box office receipts were read like political tea leaves. Moore was also cast as the left's Mel Gibson. Whose "passion" was more powerful?
--Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, 7/1/04
After last night, the truth should be obvious even to these media elitists: Conservative hatred of political opponents is not a historical artifact, and it is not primarily a phenomenon of the media. Conservative hatred of political opponents is a central element of the Republican Party.