The latest column from Frank Rich made me think of an important point that I’m not sure is really sinking in.
The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose “moral values” are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O’Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett’s name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats’ Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans’ Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out.
Well, of course! This isn’t about real values. It’s about framing morality as a set of issues and then selling that message. Morality doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with patterns of behavior (see the never to be resolved Catholic Church scandal for details). This debate has little to do with reality. As I’ve mentioned here several times, W had no problem bashing Hollywood after being introduced by Arnold. Come on, folks. The right runs against lawyers in a country where the average American watches at least four episodes of Law and Order a day.
And we all know that Fox sells one set of values on their news channel, but strips that message down, rubs it with oil and gives it a rocking pair of fake tits before selling it on their entertainment channel. And both channels are doing pretty damn well.
The values thing isn’t just about values. It’s about packaging, positioning and messaging. Homer Simpson could run and win on an anti-cartoon ticket if he had the right media team.