Following up a bit on my previous post, let's make some more specific points.
Point number one:
Newt Gingrich is a douchebag and everyone hates him. Few figures in American politics (beyond Dick Cheney) are as discredited and unpopular as the bilious windbag Newt, whose renewed prominence as an "intellectual" on the right side of the aisle is the single best piece of evidence of irrevocable conservative decline. As Miles Grant reminded us last year:
If there's anyone who proves time may not necessarily heal all wounds, it's Newt. Nearly a decade after he resigned from the House with an approval rating of just 28 percent, a 2007 poll showed remarkable 54 percent of Americans still held an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich. Cheney was only slightly less popular, rated unfavorably by 57 percent of those polled.
It's true that he blatantly contradicted himself in his Congressional testimony last week. It's true that his "solution" to climate change is a transparently industry-beholden stew of corporate welfare. It's true that he lies like he breathes. But do progressives have to panic and hold strategy meetings every time he burps up more gas?
No. Everybody hates the guy. He's a spokesdouche you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
Point number two:
Congressional Republicans are douchebags and everyone hates them. You might think from their program of uncompromising, unreasoning obstruction that they have some secret master plan to regain seats in Congress (which, as you might have noticed, they keep losing), but as Matt Yglesias points out, it's not so. Even National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (TX) admits that it's all but a fait accompli that Democrats will reach 60 votes in the Senate in 2010.
That's because everyone likes Obama, and everyone hates Republicans. As Chris Bowers has documented in an ongoing series, they are less popular among the American public than Obama, Congressional Dems, marijuana legalization, Venezuela, China, and probably this new pig flu, though no one's polled that yet. They screwed up the country, they don't have credible solutions to any of its problems, and the only people who listen to their increasingly loopy rhetoric are part of the 30% remnant.
Point number three:
Marc Morano is a douchebag and most people don't even give enough of a crap about him to hate him. Once James Inhofe's Senate butt boy, which gave him a modicum of relevance and credibility, Morano is now the proprietor of an obscure Drudge-wannabe climate denial site. He is useful to the 30% and their Congressional representatives; he supplies their climate-related talking points. But those talking points are crazy, and everyone hates the people repeating them.
Morano scammed his way into an NYT profile, but only as a flat-earth clown. The only way he gets any ongoing press coverage outside the 30% is by baiting progressive bloggers and journalists, jumping into their comment sections and sending them email every time they so much as mention his name.
But the public at large, outside the ideological tribe? They don't know. They don't care. And if they knew, they'd hate him too, like other mouth-breathers preaching conspiracy theories.
The same can be said of the whole constellation of blogs and TV shows made by and for the 30%. There is simply no need to devote much attention to refuting the lies that pour forth from this revanchist remnant. Concern over climate change and support for action to address it is the mainstream position in America. Those writing and speaking in the mainstream ought to address themselves to the mainstream, helping to address its questions and concerns about the transition away from fossil fuels. (And there are plenty.)
Some time in the next hour, somebody will say something stupid on cable TV. Somebody will write an idiot op-ed. Somebody will be wrong on the internet. Let. It. Go.
Focus on wavering Dems and their constituents and their constituents' jobs. Focus on how energy/climate legislation will make the country cleaner, healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous. The Newts can't stop anybody, they can only distract and sap energy from those doing the work.
They are not Boogie men. They are douchebags, and everyone hates them.