Bill O'Reilly has a plan for the Republican Party to get its mojo back: Go after Bruce Springsteen!
O'Reilly last night, in his Talking Points Memo segment, cites a remark Springsteen made at the Pete Seeger tribute concert the other night:
At 90, he [Seeger] remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country's illusions about itself. ... He sings all the verses, all the time. Especially the ones that we'd like to leave out of our history as a people.
This incensed O'Reilly -- who nonetheless spotted an opportunity therein:
Now, Bruce Springsteen is not a PhD in political science, obviously. But his snide reference to America defines how the far left sees this country. And you know what? Most liberal and conservative Americans disagree with him.
So let me spell this out to that even the Republican leadership can understand it. Get solutions to problems. Explain your Culture War positions clearly and without spite. And most important, stick up for America! Because the Democrats are certainly not doing that. Use that strategy, GOP, and you'll get back in the game.
He repeats the point a little later with Karl Rove:
All right, but the Democratic Party has been very successful in demonizing the Republicans as a bunch of people who, uh, say no to everything, ah, are bigoted, you know, because of their social issues of gay marriage and illegal immigration. And they've been very, very successful in doing that. And I would say now that conservatives are on the defensive. And the Republican Party certainly is.
But if you take the patriot issue, the one I just defined -- because this snide stuff that Springsteen does -- believe me, and you know this -- is all over the left-wing media every day. Oh, we're bad. We're bad. Barack Obama, the President of the United States, went overseas and pretty much reinforced that to the rest of the world. Yeah, we're bad. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And if the Republican Party were to seize the high ground there, and say, Nuh-uh, we're not bad. These people are misguided. They don't -- you could take the momentum and swing it right back. Because, you know, 60, 65 percent of Americans see their country as noble.
We get O'Reilly's larger point: The way for the Republicans to regain their familiar footing is to reignite the Culture Wars that were the key to much of their success in the preceding 40 years.
However, a couple of observations seem germane here:
A. Judging from the results of the last election, the Culture Wars are only good for igniting the rapidly shrinking Republican base. The rest of the public, one can only hope, appears to be catching on to the reality that it's a scam. But if this where O'Reilly wants to lead his fellow movement conservatives, well, have at it, big guy.
B. I'm not so sure attacking Bruce Springsteen -- though he's an icon, he's not exactly the hippest dude on the pop-music scene right now -- and by extension, 90-year-old Pete Seeger (whose songwriting career was every bit as critical of America as anything the Boss said in tribute to him) is exactly the way to reignite the Culture Wars in any event. Especially since he's not, you know, an official of the Democratic Party.