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Now Is the Time for a Left-Right Alliance

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I'm currently a life member of the John Birch Society and formerly served on the staff of the organization for 13 years.

So why should any left-winger reading this care a fig about what I have to
say?

Because of a conversation I had with another conservative magazine writer recently.
In frustration at the unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration,
I blurted out to him: "The only people doing any good out there are the
people at Air America." I expected to shock him with the statement, but his two-word reply shocked me:
"And MoveOn.org."


We were both exaggerating for effect, but fact is, as my journalist friend continued, "We probably only disagree on, maybe, 25 percent of the issues."
I'd have put the percentage a little higher, though I tacked an ending onto his sentence: " ...and those issues aren't especially important right now."

When Air America started, I told myself and my friends that it would fail because it would be redundant. The Left already controls all the television networks besides Fox, along with most of the major newspapers. But here we are a year later, and the most penetrating news analysis on television is and I'm not exaggerating here Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central.


I tuned into the Boston Air America affiliate when I became a community radio talk show host almost two years ago, thinking that I could use a few of their wild statements as a springboard to bounce my counterpoint. And although I got a few yuks out of quips about "Airhead America," I found that I agreed with the hosts more than I disagreed with them.


They criticized the Bush administration for deceiving us into the Iraq war.
No problem there. They criticized Alberto Gonzales for his torture memos. Again, no problem. They criticized deficit spending, the PATRIOT Act, and corporate welfare. Hurray, hurray, and hurray!


So I called into a few "progressive" radio talk shows, identifying myself as a "right-wing radio talk show host," and explained my understanding
of these issues. Stephanie Miller told me that I was a "not a very good right-winger." A liberal show host at my radio station even called me a "liberal."


But my views haven't changed one bit since I joined the John Birch Society during the Reagan administration. So this is not a conversion story.


What's changed is that the Bush administration has simply gotten that bad and that, according to some polls, we are almost at the point where most genuine conservatives realize it.


The Left and Right will never agree on the issues that liberal talk show host Ed Schultz likes to call "God, Guns, and Gays." Nor will we agree on most economic issues, such as Social Security or whether the federal government should have a role in health care.


Unlike the Hannitized Dittobots who call the so-called "right-wing" radio talk shows, you won't find me sporting "Club Gitmo" gear. I realize that what happened at Abu Ghraib could happen to any American faster than you can say "Jose
Padilla.
"


These are some issues of common concern that could lead to cooperation between
Right and Left. Does a "rebel alliance" against the evil neocon empire
sound crazy? Not only has it already begun to take shape today, it's happened
before.


The First Rebel Alliance


The American political Left and Right actively
worked together on a project that literally saved the U.S. Constitution during
the late 1980s and early 1990s. Back then, the Republican Party pushed for a
balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and became frustrated at
failing to get the two-thirds vote in Congress needed to pass it. So the GOP
led a push toward the first constitutional convention (con-con) in more than
200 years by pushing state legislatures to call a con-con. They needed calls
from two-thirds (34) of the states. By 1987, President Reagan and Vice President
Bush needed only two more states to call a con-con, a convention that would
have had the same power to tear up our existing Constitution and write a new
one from scratch that our Founding Fathers had in 1787.


An odd coalition formed that paired Common Cause with Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle
Forum and the AFL-CIO with the John Birch Society. Conservatives got resolutions condemning the convention from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion, and even the National Rifle Association, which feared that the convention would tinker with the Second Amendment.

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Thomas R. Eddlem is a native of the Boston area of Massachusetts and a graduate of Stonehill College. He is a radio talk show host in Southeastern Massachusetts and is a frequent contributor to (more...)
 

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