Every weekend CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogues compiled on Sunday, Fuzzballs and Foreign Policy, March 8, 2009 after watching selections from "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," "Hardball with Chris Matthews," and a Charlie Rose interview.
Newman: That's who Limbaugh is laying down the gauntlet to. Limbaugh's message is We got creamed. And I'm saying we got creamed because we wouldn't go all the way with conservatism. And we can't take them on - the Democrats, the liberals, whomever - unless we are willing to go much further with that. And he might be right. I'm not supporting that. I'm not a Republican. But, he might be right.
Salit: He might be right that you can't compete with the Democrats by trying to play at the middle?
Newman: Yes. Limbaugh's advice is Don't go back to New England-style moderate Republicanism. That's exactly the wrong direction. We have to go the other way. Who was it who said today - and they're right - that Limbaugh doesn't represent the Republican Party?
Salit: Larry O'Donnell said it on Hardball.
Newman: Right. Limbaugh represents conservatism. And a conservative regime, which lasted eight years, did disastrous things to the country. Limbaugh's point is that conservatives have to go even more firmly to the right, and likewise for the Republicans, to be major players. Going to the center is futile, in his view. I think that's what he's doing and that's a fun fight to watch.
Salit: I liked when he called himself a "fuzzball."