I have a theory: I think Republicans are bad for television.
Specifically, conservative Republicans. And not faux conservatives like Newt “I’ve had as many wives as that dude on BIG LOVE but gay people will ruin the sanctity of marriage” Gingrich, but real conservatives like Rick “no birth control, abortion or gay sex for yo” Santorum.
See, here’s the problem: Conservative Republicans like to tell people what to do. More importantly, they really, really, really like telling people what not to do. Whereas liberals and Democrats tend to be of the mindset that we are adults who can make up our own minds about things (and, potentially, learn from our mistakes), conservative Republicans are of the belief that you need to be dictated to because, gosh darn it, left to your own devices, you’re gonna screw up.
What, you ask, does that have to do with them being bad for television?
Well, answer me this: Do you like television?
Obviously, nobody likes everything on television. Some people (like Barbara Walters) think THE BACHELOR is degrading to women. Others would rather poke their eyes out than sit through an episode of JERSEY SHORE. And absolutely everyone will agree that Jerry Springer’s show is a national disgrace that none of us would ever tune into. (Except, of course, hat its very longevity suggests that a whole lot of us do so regularly.)
The point is that no matter how trashy your taste, television will fulfill your needs. (And then, if you’re watching TWO BROKE GIRLS, make a wildly inappropriate joke about having done so.)
Unless, of course, you want to watch a show like, say, ALL AMERICAN MUSLIM, and a group of conservatives decide that it sends a message they disapprove of and work to get it yanked off the air. Or maybe you find ABC’s new show GCB hysterical… as opposed to the folks at OneMillionMoms.com (you know, the folks who thought Ellen was “too gay” to be representing JCPenney), who want advertisers to yank their support, which is, in essence, saying they want the show gone.
As far as conservatives are concerned, you shouldn’t be allowed to watch shows that they disapprove of. It’s not enough that they take control of their lives and families by turning the channel; They want to take control of your family by making sure that you don’t even have the option of watching something they find offensive.
As the various GOP candidates fight for the right to be the Republican nominee for president, there are a lot of issues being debated. Foreign policy, birth control, how to get the economy back on track. It’s not as if anyone is asking them their positions on regular Parents Television Council whipping-boy Peter Griffin and his FAMILY GUY playmates. But it doesn’t take much to venture down the slippery-slope conservatives live in fear of and realize that a group of people who spend every minute of every day on the front lines of the culture war they created will eventually get around to declaring that little box that resides in every single American home public enemy number one.
Richard M. Simms is the author of Crimes Against Civility and, not surprisingly, a registered Democrat.