Saturday, July 07, 2007

Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum think Fred Thompson is in big trouble, given the news that he was hired to lobby against the abortion gag rule back in 1991. I'm not so sure, given the reactions on the right. At Free Republic, the stories (here and here) play it as a hit piece; a typical Freeper comment is this one:
Hey, LA Slimes! Make that Hildabeast-supporting abortion group show us the billing records. Otherwise, it's just another lying liberal hit piece done for the Clintons against their strongest competition.
And that's the problem right there. Because the alternative epistemology of the wingnuts makes it possible for them to simply dismiss any news that comes from mainstream sources, Republican candidates are insulated from bad anything that might hurt them with the base as long as it's reported in the 'liberal media'. (If Drudge had reported this, it might get more traction.) Democrats are held accountable for consistency, because on the whole we believe in the existence of objective reality. Wingnuts don't; they believe that reality bends to Will, that they can create and live in their own wingnut-friendly reality.

It's a tremendous advantage for Republicans, because consistency simply isn't an issue where there is no shared reality. It's how Alito managed to lull Democrats without alienating the radical right; it's how Bush could project 'compassionate conservatism' without losing the base; it's how a Republican field with four divorces among the top three candidates (six divorces if you throw in Newt Gingrich) raises nary an eyebrow among the defenders of 'traditional marriage'.

And someone like Thompson is going to milk this advantage for everything he can.

Maybe Josh is right, and Thompson's denial really will come back to haunt him. I wouldn't bet on it.

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