Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dear Obama, Let's Not Be Fair

(This was originally posted on my Fox6 blog.)

Dear President-Elect Obama;
First, a hearty congratulations. You won fair and square. I wish you the best in your upcoming term as president. Having a majority in the House and Senate, a doggoned near super-majority in the Senate at that, is really going to help. I understand that you are planning to be really bi-partisan. I have to admit that your selection of someone as hot-headed and hyper-partisan as Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff concerns me. But you are the boss and as my new president I will give you the benefit of the doubt until you prove otherwise.

I'd like to offer you a suggestion from a conservative that I know that you will take in the same spirit of bi-partisanship and unity that I offer it. It is going to be incumbent upon you to reach out to the Republicans, particularly the conservative ones. (I'm sure that you know that they, being the minority party, are by tradition and practice not the ones who are required to reach out.

My suggestion to you is that you publicly announce that in the spirit of reaching across the aisle that you are going to declare dead on arrival any legislation or regulation that would re-impose the Fairness Doctrine; that you simply refuse to consider it. Contrary to what others may say, imposing the Fairness Doctrine would only re-invigorate the contentiousness of the Right. It would give them a raison d'etre. You, as the most visible of all Democrats would end up being the target. It would kill any chance that you might have to "reach across the aisle".

What would you be risking by taking the Fairness Doctrine off the table? The enmity of the far left? Where would they go? Some of your major contributors to your campaign war chest? How much do you really need and can you get by with less? Cost you support in the House and Senate? You are the Number One Democrat in the eyes of a ton of folks. How could anyone in your party oppose you right now?

But by and large the good that would be done by taking the Fairness Doctrine off the table is priceless. First, the incredible good will that you would gain among Republicans who would not have to face a very, very angry crowd. Two, major broadcasters make a lot of money off of talk radio. You killing it certainly wouldn't gain you any support from them. But the biggest gain that you could make is assuring conservatives that you are someone that they can work with. If you end up killing talk radio by re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine, you will end up really reinvigorating the folks that you just totally demoralized in the last election. They will get to listen to Rush, Hannity, Ingraham somehow. And those talkers will be leading the charge to crate the hostile environment that you save stated that you want to end. You may argue that they would do that if the Fairness Doctrine is not imposed. True, but imposing it will only make Limbaugh that much more effective. Not imposing it could--just could--"defang" him a bit.

So the choice is yours, as it always has been. To me taking the Fairness Doctrine off the table is win-win for you and for conservatives. And keeping it off the table could make the political discourse that much more civil. That's what you want, right?

Praying for your, and the country's, success,
I remain,

Jim Zeirke

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