How is it that conservatives dominate talk radio, nonfiction book sales and, in large measure, network news (largely because of the Fox News juggernaut) – yet can’t mount a successful National political campaign to place even a nominal conservative in the White House?
Rush Limbaugh observes that conservatives – especially real conservatives – have no credibility among consumers of more overtly entertainment-oriented mass media. Movies, music, scripted television, fiction writing – that sort of thing.
In short, conservatism’s first-sight glance isn’t cool.
It’s true that many people who gobble up the low-hanging fruit provided by the Miley Cyruses and Michael Bays of the world aren’t interested in the authentic “coolness” of living a life guided by rugged adherence to a conservative code. Personal discipline is tough and doesn’t pay instant dividends the way mindless consumption does. After all, it’s a lot easier to kick back with a pizza and cheer for (or against) Nick Saban’s well-oiled machine on Saturdays than to spend that same time cultivating a talent of your own; one that could allow you the chance to become a well-oiled machine in your own endeavors.
But not everything about conservatism is inherently incompatible with consumer culture. And there’s no reason why the too-often clumsy aesthetics attached to conservative media appearances (have you seen the fit of Rand Paul’s suits?) have to stick out with such conspicuous awkwardness. A good book isn’t harmed by having a beautiful cover, and that’s a message Limbaugh drives home:
How do elections happen the way they do? We own books; we own talk radio; we own cable news. Well, the answer is, we’re nowhere in the pop culture. We are nowhere in movies. We’re nowhere in television shows. We are nowhere in music. Nowhere!
That’s a slight exaggeration. Somebody’s watching Duck Dynasty, and there are plenty of people out there who like Ted Nugent’s music. But Limbaugh’s general message is right on target.