If you ask me, one of the BIG reasons that the Democrats have become so sidelined as a political force is because, within the two-party system, the Republicans are currently stuck in the midst of a continuing split into two parties in it's own right: Old-guard, small government, low-tax conservatives on one side; and the so-called "Religious Right," who's leaders actually support big-government intervention so long as it's enforcing their fundamentalist ideals on the American public, which has all but declared "ownership" of the party after the exit polls claimed that "moral values" voters saved Bush's tush in the last election, on the other side.
Now, two of the most visible and extreme proponents on these two-sides-of-the-same-side have declared open conflict on one another: L. Brent Bozell, leader of the Parent's Television Council; and Grover Norquist, the famed archconservative and top-dog of Americans for Tax Reform. At issue is TV Watch, an anti-censorship lobbying group fronted by a patchwork of television industry bosses to fight against the expansion of powers by the FCC to "police" the airwaves. Bozell's PTC rightly views TV Watch as a direct enemy of their agenda, and they've been knocked for a loop by TV Watch's public relations coup of getting Norquist to speak out on their behalf to Newsweek magazine.
Here's Norquist on the matter:
“People are saying, ‘This is puritanical Puritanism.’ No, it’s still socialism, dressing it up and getting a minister to say it doesn’t change that."
Now, Grover stands far more to the right than I do for the most part, but when the man is right the man is right, and he's totally right.
And here's Bozell's typically-hysterical response (scroll down to "Norquist vs. Public Opinion"):
Bozell is so upset because Norquist marks the first major dissenter from the "moral values" party-line. Norquist is approaching this as a pro-business advocate, arguing for the TV nets to have the right to live without government interference in their business. If it catches on, it's going to spark a major battle for which "side" is really running the show: REAL conservatives of the pro-business side, or the anti-freedom "religious" crowd represented by the PTC. And guess what: Bozell KNOWS this is a fight he might not win, and that news is as BAD for him as it is GOOD for the United States.
If you've read this blog frequently, you already know my position: ALL government regulation of television, radio or film content is un-Constitutional, a violation of the First Ammendment and thusly wrong. The FCC has no authority to do anything other than make sure broadcasters conduct ethical business practices, they were NEVER meant to become arbiters of public taste. All government regulation of arts or entertainment should be stripped from federal and state law, and content "policing" should be returned to the private businessmen who operate the TV nets, radio stations and movie theaters.
To those of us who still value freedom, conservative, liberal or otherwise, this is all a good thing: It's time that American businesses stood up to the FCC for their rights to make and sell their products without interference by the government or puritan busybodies like the PTC, and it's about time for the "conservatives" to stand up alongside their traditional businessman allies and do the right thing for America.
The battle continues.