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Teapot Tempests

Peter Suderman, the conservative movie critic who writes for National Review, made mention of [here] the “Dougherty Principle”, so I checked it out here.

It’s quite simple, and it is so true. The DP goes:

At the end of the day, the arguments [about why the Republican Party lost power] all seem to boil down to something similar: If it were more like me, the Republican Party would be better off. It’s failing because it’s like you.

[Emphasis mine]

Michael Dougherty points out that eventually the broad conservative movement will settle on a narrative to explain last year’s failure. Right now the competition is over who will write that narrative.
But (as Suderman points out) while that kind of grousing may seem important in the very small world of political activism [or film studies, Suderman's concern] it has very little resonance with the public at large. And that is an important point to keep in mind.
We are heading into a general election cycle in which both parties will have to direct their major appeals, not to the “base”, but to the vast uncommitted middle of the electorate — and those people just don’t give a damn about the inside baseball stuff that so obsesses the bloggy masses and the activist “base” [or in Suderman's case film studies professors].
Dougherty makes the valid point that the current round of ideological disputation is essentially an adolescent enterprise, although it does have its charms.

For people like me… the prospect of real opposition at least promises all the frights and thrills of growing up.

But the dissenters run the very real risk of becoming irrelevant and winding up like Suderman’s “professor arguing that more people need to take and value the type of courses he teaches.”

Note: I used to be a film studies professor, and Suderman’s right about them…, us…, whatever.

April 2, 2007 at 7:02 am
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