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Monday, July 11, 2005

YES, AT TIMES: "The Democrats at times have lost their way," says Illinois Sen. Barak Obama. "We are trying to decide what our core values are." Kudos for honesty. Rising star Obama is saying Democrats aren't certain about how best to express their values; they're trying to figure out what values they actually hold. Suggestion: Why not begin by saying, openly and proudly: "We are liberals. As liberals, these are our principles...." Instead we find MoveOn.org giving their activists acting lessons: “We don't want to come across as leftist, liberal activists." Hey, guys: You are leftist, liberal activists — and when you pretend not to be, the ham-handed deception is comes across. For better or for worse, Rush Limbaugh declares his conservative views on a daily basis. The left says it doesn't have this option — they can't use the word "liberal" because the right has "poisoned" the word. That's the same as saying the American people are simply sheep who've been brainwashed by the so-called Right-wing Spin Machine. Recall Mario Cuomo's self-serving blather when his talk radio show tanked — We liberals are too fair, too objective, too nuanced for talk radio. Here's what Cuomo meant: Talk radio is a listener-driven medium. Listeners heard Cuomo's sanctimonious sermons; they tuned out. The voters of New York made a similar assessment a few years earlier. Wait a minute — that word "nuanced" sure sounds familiar. Oh, right: that was also John Kerry's self-description during the campaign. Being sophisticated is very hard work. But enough already with the jokes — I truly want to help the Democrats get their values together. My idea for a new Air America program format: "Values Search," a show where contestants vie to find out what they believe. It'll be modeled after the successful "Star Search," hosted by Berkeley linguistics maven George Lakoff, the Democrats' advocate of describing tax increases as "investments" and forced single-payer government medicine as "wellness enhancement."