I’ve known Neal Gabler as a film reviewer, but it appears that he’s a pretty sharp political commentator, too (as opposed to fellow movie buff cum pundit Michael Medved.)

He makes this point:

You cannot beat religion with politics, which is why the extreme right “wins” so many battles. The fundamentalist political fanatics will always be more zealous than mainstream conservatives or liberals. They will always be louder, more adamant, more aggrieved, more threatening, more willing to do anything to win. Losing is inconceivable. For them, every battle is a crusade — or a jihad — a matter of good and evil.

It’s bothered me a long time that calm, rational arguments from liberals can be overwhelmed by vitriolic screeching from the Right. We’ve seen how healthcare reform was almost derailed by hysterical fear-mongering about death panels. Why do liberals, who have facts and logic on their side, lose to conservatives who have nothing but eye-popping, tongue-lolling emotional hystrionics?

It’s because batshit-crazy insane psychopathic demagoguery works. It’s not that people actually believe the lies and insanity, it’s that they see the fanatical fervor of the right-wing wackos and they figure that if they believe something so intensely, there must be some truth to it.

The so-called “liberal” media doesn’t help. President Obama gave a masterful speech before Congress last month, a political masterpiece, but it got probably less media coverage than two words shouted by a neo-Confederate knucklehead: “YOU LIE!”

The answer for Democrats, I believe, is to wage the war on two fronts. Continue to hammer the Republicans with facts and logic, but also occasionally launch a firebrand to fight fire with fire.

Rep. Grayson, who said that the Republican healthcare plan involves (1) Don’t get sick and (2) Die Quickly was certainly over-the-top in his comments. But it’s a brilliant shot across the bow: making overblown accusations is, unfortunately, an effective weapon in the arsenal of politics, and it’s about time that Democrats deployed it against Republicans, rather than always being at the receiving end. It’s about time that the Democrats stop showing up to a knife fight armed with a paper airplane.

Here’s the video of Grayson’s remarks:

And here’s his “apology” to the House. Notice that he apologizes to those who actually deserve an apology, not to the Republicans.

You see how Grayson skilfully used hyperbole in the first video, and used facts and logic to continue his point in the second video. We need more of this. Democrats don’t have to be milquetoast technocrats being bullied by knuckle-dragging neanderthals. They should stand up for truth and justice with all the passion they can muster.