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Is Talk Radio Bad for the Right?

Conservative voices dominate AM talk radio. Is this a good thing for conservatives? John Derbyshire makes a strong case that talk radio has contributed to the dumbing down of the American Right.

With reasons for gratitude duly noted, are there some downsides to conservative talk radio? Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt? All those good things are plainly off the table for the next four years at least, a prospect that conservatives can only view with anguish. Did the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Savages, and Ingrahams lead us to this sorry state of affairs?

They surely did. At the very least, by yoking themselves to the clueless George W. Bush and his free-spending administration, they helped create the great debt bubble that has now burst so spectacularly. The big names, too, were all uncritical of the decade-long (at least) efforts to "build democracy" in no-account nations with politically primitive populations. Sean Hannity called the Iraq War a "massive success," and in January 2008 deemed the U.S. economy "phenomenal."

Much as their blind loyalty discredited the Right, perhaps the worst effect of Limbaugh et al. has been their draining away of political energy from what might have been a much more worthwhile project: the fostering of a middlebrow conservatism. There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. It's energizing and fun. What's wrong is the impression fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always lowbrow, an impression our enemies gleefully reinforce when the opportunity arises. Thus a liberal like E.J. Dionne can write, "The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. … Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans." Talk radio has contributed mightily to this development.

Constantin:
It's certainly not any "dumber" than the Left's netroots, and has a similar capacity, if not on the same scale, for political organization and mobilization. And that prominence seems to have served the Left pretty well.
3.3.2009 8:39am
bellisaurius (mail):
To be fair, what does "The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr.." mean to the 57 percent of people who can't identify a supreme court judge?

That said, intellectuals are part of the soul of a party, and establish the ideas that the demagogues end up popularizing.

It should also be noted that I -and I'm sure others have felt this too- was more turned off of conservatism by the temperament of the national conversation, than the intelligence level. I didn't like the bullying tone of a lot of the legislature during the past couple years (I think bush is OK on this charge, which is why I separate the leg. If this were a friendlier time, I think he'd be thought of more as a Coolidge, or maybe a Ford. He never came off as mean, just as a nonintellectual)
3.3.2009 8:40am
MQuinn:

Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt? All those good things are plainly off the table for the next four years at least . . . .

(emphasis added)

Really? Is this so obvious, so plain? Does our democratic President lack patriotism and fail to view matters of foreign affairs realistically? Is equality under the law a farce under the democrats? And personal liberty -- is that truly "off the table" when democrats take office?

Or, am I misinterpreting the above-quoted passage?
3.3.2009 8:43am
mrshl (www):
No, dude, what's served the Left well is Republican incompetence, of which Talk Radio is the most prominent example. It's low resolution and high volume, perfectly suited for slogans and propaganda and outrage. Not so well suited for depth of discussion or educating a "middlebrow" populace.

My dad always says that conservatives, in the aggregate, are brighter and more educated than liberals. Given the demographics, he might be right. But Talk Radio (and Fox News) are eating their brains.
3.3.2009 8:47am
AntonK (mail):
If Derbyshire's thesis is right, we have a real tragedy on our hands: for who will counter the intellectual acuity of the Left?
3.3.2009 9:03am
Bart (mail):
To start, Mr. Derbyshire is a Brit version of a "conservative" who has been largely at odds with much of the Reagan classical liberal conservatism of a free market economy and a muscular foreign policy meant to spread democracy around the world.

Derbyshire obviously does not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or he would know that they are pretty faithful Reagan conservatives rather than GOP cheerleaders like Fred Barnes. Limbaugh and Hannity criticized Bush's big government conservatism for years.

The fact that Limbaugh and Hannity celebrated the liberation of 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan from ghastly dictatorships places them well within the mainstream of American conservative and in our better days American thought. To conservatives, freeing people from tyranny is what Americans do.

If conservative talk radio was actually leading the conservative movement into the political wilderness, the left would be cheering it on rather than seeking to censor it through a renewed "Fairness Doctrine." In reality, conservative talk radio and the internet are the primary alternate medias for getting the conservative message out to the voters.

The fact that Derbyshire gives a fig about what a Dem cheerleader like Dionne thinks about conservatives reveals his motivation in writing this piece, which is largely indistinguishable from your average Dionne column.

If conservatives want to be a principled movement then they need to stick with first principles even if it temporarily costs them power and denies them the good graces of leftist pundits like Dionne.
3.3.2009 9:05am
oledrunk3 (mail):
Limbaugh reminds one of Marat.
3.3.2009 9:12am
Duracomm:
Talk radio can't be any worse for the conservative brand than the two george bush presidencies. And the big spending corrupt republican congress we had while bush 2 was in office.

I'd note that the RNC and most of the republican groups blindly supported bush to an extent greater than talk radio.

Those folks talking about talk radio being lowbrow have apparently not spent much time checking out the netroots. Lowbrow is definitely bipartisan.
What's wrong is the impression fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always lowbrow, an impression our enemies gleefully reinforce when the opportunity arises.
That is a structural problem. The left owns the mainstream media and it allows them to frame the debate in ways that are biased against conservatives.

Compare how many questions obama got on conservative wedge issues like gun control and compare it to how many questions mccain got on liberal wedge issues like abortion and "tax cuts for the rich"
3.3.2009 9:16am
resh (mail):
Edmund Burke? That's funny. Talk about revisionist history. Much as Burke theoretically offers first principles for what is now a disjointed party in ideological decline, the truth is he's never really been part of the party's tableau.

Pity, really. The GOP has instead become the echo chamber of dupes like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and-raise the white flag if true-Sarah Palin. Talk about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Juxtapose the latter crowd with Burke, and one understands why the left sits in the catbird seat.

Face it. The GOP made a Faustian bargain, and the reaper is here to collect.
3.3.2009 9:19am
Snaphappy:

If conservative talk radio was actually leading the conservative movement into the political wilderness, the left would be cheering it on


What would you call the White House's attention to Rush Limbaugh, ultimately resulting in Steele's embarrassing apology this weekend? Soldier on, proud dittoheads!
3.3.2009 9:19am
corneille1640 (mail):

It's certainly not any "dumber" than the Left's netroots, and has a similar capacity, if not on the same scale, for political organization and mobilization. And that prominence seems to have served the Left pretty well.

Maybe not, but that does not mean talk radio has helped the right.

Having said that, my problem with talk radio (by which I mean Rush Limbaugh...I haven't listened to any of the others and so cannot comment on them) is similar to the problem I have with much of what I call (for lack of a better term) the "populist left": they both indulge in raising the specter of some evil, conspiratorial cabal that is out to destroy the good, honest people of the republic. I'm not saying there is never to reason to fear the machinations of some elite (be it liberal or conservative), but I do believe that most of our disagreements arise out of different positions taken in good faith. Talk radio, like some of the left, feeds a conspiratorial outlook that usually doesn't help matters. I'd much rather talk with a sensible person who I disagree with than with a conspiracy-baiting theorist who I do agree with.
3.3.2009 9:27am
paul lukasiak (mail):
talk radio is great for "the right", but its bad for the GOP and "responsible" conservatives.

Right now, the GOP is in desperate need of a makeover -- it desperately needs to get rid of "supply side" as an economic philosophy, and knee-jerk opposition to social programs, and concentrate on "fiscal responsibility" -- demanding "paygo" that includes tax increases when Democrats insist on funding social programs. (In other words, the GOP's stance should be "we oppose these programs on principle, but will allow them to pass as long as their supporters vote for tax increases to pay for them.)
3.3.2009 9:31am
Bart (mail):
Low brow?

This epithet further demonstrated that Derbyshire and many here have no real idea who listens to conservative talk radio (or TV). The most knowledgeable media audiences according to repeated Pew studies are consumers of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Colbert, Daily Show, The News Hour and NPR.

Derbyshire's "low brow" crack has nothing to do with the quality of the audience, but rather is a sniff from a self appointed elite at ideas and cultures with which he disagrees.
3.3.2009 9:41am
c1:

Did the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Savages, and Ingrahams lead us to this sorry state of affairs?


Savage didn't fall in line.
3.3.2009 9:44am
Houston Lawyer:
I would wager that the average Rush listener was quite critical of Congress's free-spending ways while Bush was in office. I don't listen to talk radio as I am not terribly interested in the opinions of the masses even if I might agree with them in principle.

However, talk radio does give the right an end run around the MSN in getting out news that would otherwise go unreported.

Although I enjoy reading Derbyshire, he is a bit of a snob. William F. Buckley's audience was always going to be small. He did not even pretend to speak on a level that could be easily understood by the common man. To whom would the common man of the right listen if Rush were not on the air?
3.3.2009 9:54am
geokstr:

paul lukasiak:
talk radio is great for "the right", but its bad for the GOP and "responsible" conservatives.

Right now, the GOP is in desperate need of a makeover -- it desperately needs to get rid of "supply side" as an economic philosophy, and knee-jerk opposition to social programs, and concentrate on "fiscal responsibility" -- demanding "paygo" that includes tax increases when Democrats insist on funding social programs. (In other words, the GOP's stance should be "we oppose these programs on principle, but will allow them to pass as long as their supporters vote for tax increases to pay for them.)

Really? We should just resign ourselves to being Democrat-Lite, huh? Tax collectors for monster government because it's inevitable anyway, right?

And get rid of "supply side" economics (especially the left's caricature of what that is)? Why don't we just nationalize everything and get it over with, eh?

Sheesh. Needless to say, no one would ever mistake you for either a "conservative" or being part of the "right". When Obama takes conservative advice, I'll take yours.
3.3.2009 9:57am
Sarcastro (www):
If only the Republicans would move more towards the doctrinaire right, I'm sure the obvious truth of their philosophy would garner lots more independent votes! McCain lost because of his moderation after all.
3.3.2009 9:59am
Ubu Walker (mail):
As a liberal who enjoys talk radio, I'd like to explain why people enjoy listening to conservative blowhards like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage: They are entertaining and they say things that people either want to hear or are appalled at hearing. People listen to the radio to either have their opinions confirmed - OR - to get angry. "What is this guy going to say next?" is what these broadcasters are going for, so that they can get you to stick around and listen to commercials.

So, where are all the liberals? Commercial talk radio doesn't work, because liberalism is primarily about compassion. Its hard to get people revved up about being nice by words alone. Thats why Television and the Internet are liberal bastions - its easier to be compassionate about a starving child when you see him with stick thin bones and flies in his eyes - its easier to be intellectual when you have an unlimited amount of space to write down your thoughts.

So, where are the intellectuals in Conservatism that the quoted article is talking about? Sure, there are lots of policy guys out there, but who are the conservative philosophers? Where are the forward thinking conservatives? Where are the scientists advancing scientific principals on behalf on conservatism? All you guys got are a bunch of theologists, backwards thinking polemicists, and science denying woomeisters. Not to mention the hard core racists and jingoists. That is why your party is failing.
3.3.2009 10:05am
A.S.:
"Dumbing Down" implies there was some golden era, which Derbyshire and Adler are now yearning to return to, when the Right was filled with people who discussed Burke and Nisbet, and there were none of these "low brow" folks that Derbyshire and Adler so despise. I'm curious when this time was.
3.3.2009 10:08am
byomtov (mail):
"supply side" economics (especially the left's caricature of what that is)?

And what exactly is your notion of the "left's caricature" of supply-side economics?

Surely it's not the idiotic supply-side notion that tax cuts are self-financing or better, and the solution to any any problem whatsoever. That line has been vigorously pushed by all sorts of Republicans over the years.

As to Limbaugh, the GOP built its strength on him and his ilk for years. If that turns out to be sand, too bad. They should have thought about it a long time ago.
3.3.2009 10:12am
Olive:
If the only way for conservatives to gain power in Congress is to abandon the very meaning of conservatism - the fundamental principles of respect for individual life an liberty, small government, and fiscal restraint - what's the point, really? Power for power's sake? Good God. Not only don't I get it; I'd be mortified to have any part of it. As an individual I don't compromise my values to be one of the cool kids. That's always put me in the minority, but frankly I've never cared; honestly and openly living my principles (even, and *especially*, when those principles are unpopular) is the only thing that counts.
3.3.2009 10:12am
Tom952 (mail):
With the economic meltdown proving once and for all the requirement for government regulation to ensure orderly financial markets, many precepts of the GOP are DOA. I wonder whether there will be anything except the intellectual cesspool of religious fundamentalism left of the original republican party when the dust settles.
3.3.2009 10:13am
SeaDrive:
Demagoguery has a limited appeal. There are lots of people what to hear the whole paragraph, not just the topic sentence, and some who want to read the whole paper, not just the executive summary. Once upon a time, Limbaugh was entertaining; now he just phones it in. O'Reilly excoriates on Tuesday what he praised on Monday.

I find Hannity the least bearable. I'd love to say he's an idiot, but that's clearly not true. His big problem, which he shared with Pres. Bush, is that he does change his mind in the face of evidence or expert opinion. [ref: supply side economics, stimulus via tax cuts] Actually, I suspect he thinks he's an expert when, in fact, he's only an ideologue.

I think the influence of all these guys is overrated. From what I hear, the ratings and audience polls show they speak to a stable segment of like-minded listeners. The volume of their chatter is raised by the echo-chamber characteristics of the electronic press but I don't see the Congressional leadership changing votes for fear of what Rush will say.
3.3.2009 10:16am
cboldt (mail):
-- ... liberalism is primarily about compassion. --
.
ROTFL. Politics is all about power and control. As a political device, "compassion" is merely schtick to get rubes to pick one side over the other.
3.3.2009 10:16am
CJColucci:
Given when the major talk radio shows broadcast, you have to wonder about the demographic that actually listens. What job do you do that allows you to have the radio on in the background? And if you do have the radio on in the background, what job do you have that permits actual listening, as opposed to low-concentration background sound like music or sports-talk?
3.3.2009 10:20am
SeaDrive:

he does change his mind


should be "doesn't change his mind"

The inability to edit these comments is irritating.
3.3.2009 10:20am
Angus:
Talk radio is bad for the right because it feeds extremism, because extreme positions and statements draw ratings. However, the advice given on talk radio nowadays is crazy damaging if the Republican party follows it. Namely, the best way to win back moderates and independents is to purge all moderates and "RINOs" from the party and move to the extreme right of the political spectrum. Then, people in the middle will see conservatism as appealing, or something.

What it really does is further polarize politics and society and nourishes a pervasive and harmful "us vs. them" mentality.
3.3.2009 10:24am
anomdebus (mail):
I regret I do not have time right now to address the following fully.

It is easy to slip into apparent elitism when talking about massive groups of people. As a whole, it is difficult to get across subtle and complex concepts. That does not mean on an individual level the group is composed of idiots. Everybody has their own interests and within that range can be very good arbiters of the truth. They may have mild interest in other topics, but if it is not specifically in a line of interest, they may need things spoon fed to get the general ideas (like me with the law and this blog).

For my characteristic vague metaphor, if you were giving someone directions and you could either only give them rough directions (such as to the neighborhood) or specific street directions (but you would need to be in the neighborhood to find the streets), which would be better? Rush apparently thinks it is better to be in the right neighborhood. Derbyshire apparently thinks if you are not at the right house, it doesn't matter, even if most will not find the place.
3.3.2009 10:27am
PersonFromPorlock:
Ubu Walker:

Commercial talk radio doesn't work, because liberalism is primarily about compassion.

Nuts to that. Liberalism is primarily about compulsion. As I've said elsewhere, it's the old Puritan itch to march the sinners to virtue at bayonet's point.


Change of topic:

I listened to Limbaugh fairly often for several years but eventually gave up out of sheer boredom. Limbaugh, at least in those days, spent all his time talking about the sins of the Democrats (who weren't listening) to an audience that would never have voted for Democrats anyway. A perfect waste of time.

That said, he does seem now to have adopted a more conservative than Republican identity, at least for the time being, so whatever can be said about his past performance may not apply in the future. And really - what else have American conservatives got in the way of mass-market media?
3.3.2009 10:28am
Sk (mail):
Talk radio is a symptom, not a cause. I'm afraid the Republican Party is dead for a long long time. My own sense is that as a population becomes more urban, or citified, it becomes both more insulated and more interdependent. True conservatism is born of the wilderness-independent-minded people come from environments where independent-mindedness is necessary. As our population becomes more citified, it is becoming less conservative.

The thing that struck me in this last election is that our society is so culturally stratified: the harsh fact is that more educated people become more liberal (this doesn't mean that on average liberals are more educated)-even when its against their economic interests. Doctors now tend to be more liberal. Professors, lawyers, teachers, yuppies, urban elites, liberal all. The type of person that becomes a political leader.

What this means is that there is no conservative elite. Where is the conservative Obama, or Clinton(s), and so on? Where are the convervative sharp folks who go off to the Ivy League, then return and do grand things in their home states, in preparation for national office?

The answer, is, there aren't any. Or, rather, there is only one destination for that type: the military. And military folks tend not to be political, national leaders (yeah, yeah. Eisenhower. Got it. A party needs more than one charismatic guy to function.). Their work experience isn't consistent with political compromise and media spin.

Thus, the Republican Party has two parts: the remaining independent-minded folks, who just aren't political/national leader types. They listen, and believe in, Rush. And the second part are the Republican elite, who really don't believe in what the masses believe in (that's why Michael Steele disses Rush on national television-he doesn't want to hang out with Rush. He wants to hang out with Catie Couric, and Brian Williams, and the rest of the educated elite. That's why Colin Powell disses Rush in the national media). They are really Democrat-lite. In it for the power, but must disagree with Democrats on some emotional thing (gay rights? Abortion? They still like the military? Who knows).

The result? Democrats have universities, and elect a Clinton, or an Obama. Republicans have talk radio, and elect a Palin.

I feel like America is evolving into Zardoz.

Sk
3.3.2009 10:30am
rick.felt:
Commercial talk radio doesn't work, because liberalism is primarily about compassion. Its hard to get people revved up about being nice by words alone

Liberals seem to be pretty "revved up" for the past eight years or so. Why couldn't all the anger at Chimpy "Smirk Smirk" McHitlerFlightsuitBurtonHilterCorp be channeled into effective talk radio?
3.3.2009 10:32am
hawkins:
While Limbaugh is not nearly as bad as Hannity, people who consistently take conservative or liberal views are not trustworthy. Social views of either ideology are inherently inconsistent with the fiscal views.
3.3.2009 10:33am
SteveW:
<blockquote>
...limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad...
</blockquote>

I thought conservatives opposed a majority of those things.
3.3.2009 10:34am
Frog Leg (mail):
Limbaugh himself is not necessarily bad for the GOP; however, the power he has acquired certain is bad. The obsequiousness that Republicans such as Steele have to show to Limbaugh demonstrates his power above all others on the Right. Reagan's 11th Commandment (do not speak ill of a fellow Republican) has mutated into an utter intolerance of dissent. If there is no disagreement, how can there be any political discourse? And without political discourse, no new ideas can be created. And so the GOP of 2009 is atrophying.
3.3.2009 10:35am
Sarcastro (www):
I know I am all about compassion, so I can't listen to talk radio or I'll explode like matter and anti-matter!
3.3.2009 10:35am
Anon21:
Bart:
If conservative talk radio was actually leading the conservative movement into the political wilderness, the left would be cheering it on rather than seeking to censor it through a renewed "Fairness Doctrine." In reality, conservative talk radio and the internet are the primary alternate medias for getting the conservative message out to the voters.

I'm afraid you have not been observing events very astutely. The fairness doctrine myth has been dropped even by most of the conservative ideological sphere, as the lack of evidence and the appearance of new and realer targets sucks all the oxygen out of the charge. And it is precisely the Obama administration and Democratic spinmeisters who have been working their hardest over the last month or so to push Rush Limbaugh as the public face of the GOP. Not because they're afraid of him, but because every time his comments are reported in the news, it stakes out the Republican position as an absurd caricature of actual conservative political principles.

Mark my words: Rush is helping Obama these days, whether he realizes it or not.
3.3.2009 10:36am
Cynic (mail):
This discussion reminds me a a quip I heard some time ago. I don't remember the source, but I wish I was smart enough to have thought of it:

"The two biggest myths in American politics are that Republicans believe in limited government and Democrats are compassionate."
3.3.2009 10:39am
Jim Ison (mail):
-- " ... liberalism is primarily about compassion. --
.
ROTFL. Politics is all about power and control. As a political device, "compassion" is merely schtick to get rubes to pick one side over the other."

A better answer to the provocative comment about liberalism is probably not cynicism, but rather, that the principle of 'small government' leads millions to poor health and education rather than to liberty. Close to 40 % of your people and more to come once the auto industry retools, as it were, its union-won health benefits, cannot afford basic health coverage. How free is that? I don't think I've expressed this problem angrily, and I would be grateful for a calm and reasonable answer from the 'small government' folks regarding the health crisis.
3.3.2009 10:44am
rick.felt:
Not because they're afraid of him, but because every time his comments are reported in the news, it stakes out the Republican position as an absurd caricature of actual conservative political principles.

Either that, or it makes Obama look petty for going after some talk show host. Makes it look like some fat guy in Florida with a high school education really knows how to push the buttons of the leader of the free world.
3.3.2009 10:49am
Sarcastro (www):
Obama just can't stop talking about Rush! There was that one time...and then the one time no one knows about...and I'm sure a bunch of other times! Obama os totally why Rush is in the headlines this week.
3.3.2009 10:53am
Real American (mail):
all the while, the leftists who run academia have been turning out brain-dead tools for decades.
3.3.2009 10:54am
keypusher64 (mail):
Derbyshire obviously does not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or he would know that they are pretty faithful Reagan conservatives rather than GOP cheerleaders like Fred Barnes. Limbaugh and Hannity criticized Bush's big government conservatism for years.

Bart, I hate to break it to you, but Reagan was a big-government conservative too. Or perhaps you could show how he shrunk the government while he was in office?

Incidentally, is there a Rush-a-day quota in effect at the Volokh Conspiracy?
3.3.2009 10:57am
c.gray (mail):

Doctors now tend to be more liberal. Professors, lawyers, teachers, yuppies, urban elites, liberal all. The type of person that becomes a political leader.


Most of these people have spent the bulk of their adult lives in a society with relatively low marginal tax rates, low inflation and fairly steady economic growth. They take these things for granted, and don't really vote with serious changes in economic policy in mind.

/shrug

A lot of the people I know in this category who voted for Obama already feel burned. They thought they were getting US troops out of the Middle East and more money for health and schools. But they are also getting a 30-50% tax hike and a permanent doubling of the structural federal budget deficit. They hadn't really counted on that.
3.3.2009 10:58am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
If the only way for conservatives to gain power in Congress is to abandon the very meaning of conservatism - the fundamental principles of respect for individual life an liberty, small government, and fiscal restraint - what's the point, really?
What connection is there between Limbaugh Republicanism and these principles? I see not the faintest resemblance. In terms of living one's principles, I can do little better than quote David Frum.
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of "responsibility," and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as "losers." With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence -- exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party.
3.3.2009 10:58am
R&R:
Let's all get in a circle and unload our clips, shall we? Look, the Republican Party had a pretty long run in power. Eventually, the allures of special interest politics, the inevitable overreaches, and general corruption built up and the country threw the whole lot out of DC. You can't blame any one group for this. Nearly everyone in the coalition merits a share in the responsibility.

The only way back to power is for a coalition of people that have a lot of similarities but not necessarily total conformity to get back together and take advantage when the Democrats screw up. If you try to off-load talk radio, it won't work. How many elections did Buckley lead to victory? Right, none.

Plus, talk radio is smarter than these self-anointed geniuses give it credit for. Rush has his tongue firmly planted in his cheek a lot of the time. A lot of the wine and cheese crowd don't quite see that. Mark Levin too. They are genuinely very bright people. The only one I think isn't all that bright is Hannity.

Talk radio cannot be the face of the Republican Party, or the middle will not come back (at least until Democratic overreaching gets too unbearable). However, it has a place in the system. One would wisely take Limbaugh and Levin over Daily Kos/Moveon types in an intellectual debate any day of the week.
3.3.2009 10:58am
Constantin:
However, the advice given on talk radio nowadays is crazy damaging if the Republican party follows it. Namely, the best way to win back moderates and independents is to purge all moderates and "RINOs" from the party and move to the extreme right of the political spectrum.

Howard Dean, who is a dullard, oversaw the Democrats (led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, two other dunces) taking back both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, by turning the party sharply left. Recall the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party" line he stole from Nader.

There's been no grand ideological repudiation of conservatism, just like there was no grand acceptance of it in 1980 or 1994. Things are the way they are right now because Bush screwed up didn't fight back against being demonized as a new Hitler, and because people think Obama's a cool guy in part as a novelty act.

Four years ago today, the Democrats were in a panic, facing down a potenially filibuster-proof GOP Senate in two years and talk of a permanent Republican majority. Then a freaking hurricane, which nobody could have really predicted two weeks before it happened, changed everything.
3.3.2009 11:00am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

But they are also getting a 30-50% tax hike and a permanent doubling of the structural federal budget deficit.
I don't think we need to hear a lesson on deficits from Bush Republicans. During the seven fat years, you saved nothing. An orgy of tax cuts aimed, successfully, at transferring wealth upward so that only a fraction of the top percent are better off than when your program of voodoo economics started. Now come the seven lean years. They will be bad for America, but at least, in justice, they will be worse for the Republican Party, run by and for fools.
3.3.2009 11:03am
Houston Lawyer:
Jim Ison

What health crisis?

As is noted above, liberalism is all about forcing me to do something at the point of a gun. Liberals assume that we are all idiots and are incapable of making decisions for ourselves. Therefore, they, who are enlightened and who care so deeply, will make decisions for us. We see how well this works in our inner city schools. Pardon me if I don't want to ask for permission from this same set of enlightened people before I can get medical care for my family.
3.3.2009 11:03am
Constantin:
And I'd reply to David Frum and Pual Begala and everyone else, incidentally, that they might not want to go down the "history of drug dependency" road when comparing Limbaugh to Barack.

It's a wash, at the very best, for the latter. (It's just they don't give out prescriptions to snort coke.)
3.3.2009 11:03am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

Recall the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party" line [Dean] stole from Nader.
That line is from the late Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone. Oooops.
3.3.2009 11:04am
Real American (mail):
liberals aren't compassionate. They say they are, but spending other people's money isn't compassion. But they love to stand up for the little guy or the rocks and trees and animals. The rocks and the trees and the animals, and most of the "little guys" can't or won't speak up for themselves. Liberals simply want to control everything. the poor are easy targets because they're more desperate and easier to manipulate. That's why Obama and his Marxist team are letting the economy go to hell without lifting a finger - so they can take advantage of a wider crisis to create to their welfare state utopia, which will fail because it always has everywhere its been tried. But despite all of the indisputable evidence, they're going with it anyway.

But these "smart" people don't care whether their plans will fail. They know the policies will fail to make our lives better and know that our lives will get worse, but at least they'll be in charge. You see, the small elites that will rule our lives won't live in poverty. They won't have trouble paying the bills. They'll be living off the hard work of the people.

That's not compassion. That's tyranny. Americans don't need rulers. We need leaders. And right now, we don't have any.
3.3.2009 11:06am
Floridan:
Houston lawyer: "To whom would the common man of the right listen if Rush were not on the air?"

Larry the Cable Guy?
3.3.2009 11:10am
byomtov (mail):
Then a freaking hurricane, which nobody could have really predicted two weeks before it happened, changed everything.

Because hurricanes in the Gulf in late August are so rare.
3.3.2009 11:11am
Rock On:
Constantin -- I have never seen any evidence that Obama was an addict, nor that he used substances post-college. Not exactly the same as Rush's middle-age painkiller problem.
3.3.2009 11:13am
cboldt (mail):
-- Where are the convervative sharp folks who go off to the Ivy League, then return and do grand things in their home states, in preparation for national office? The answer, is, there aren't any. Or, rather, there is only one destination for that type: the military. --
.
There are many places those folks go, just not into government/political service. The ones who go into national service are assimilated into the Borg, as it were, or ridiculed as "not getting the way Washington works." See Dr. Coburn, for example.
.
IMO, a "conservative sharp folk" will stay away from active politics. The pay sucks, compared with private work, for one thing.
.
-- A better answer to the provocative comment about liberalism is probably not cynicism, but rather, that the principle of 'small government' leads millions to poor health and education rather than to liberty. --
.
And the liberal (and compassionate conservative) proposed solution is bigger government. Have at it - I predict the "higher taxes/more government" approach will reduce personal liberty, reduce diversity, and probably also result in WORSE education and health care.
3.3.2009 11:15am
Dennis Todd (mail):
The problem with talk radio conservatism is the vast number of hosts have no deep intellectual grounding. The local talent are usually hacks who read townhall.com opinions on their shows and take calls from locals.

I like Limbaugh and find his 'opposition research'(eg pointing leftist hypocrisies) invaluable. However, he simplifies and generalizes to such a large degree, it is hard to determine what is intentional and what is not.

For instance, Rush has invoked the name of Hayek on many occasions, while daily demonizing 'liberals'. Yet if you read Hayek's preface to the 70s edition of Road to Serfdom, he has to explain how he uses 'liberal' in the original sense - for liberty - and expresses his discomfort at it being appropriated as a term of scorn on those who advocate essentially the opposite.

He says he loves to tweak liberals - which his fans love - but is that a way to foster any kind of civil discussion?

As for talk radio hurting the 'movement', most listeners are already converts. The handful of hosts with really large audiences help mobilization of the base on issues with broad populist appeal, such as immigration reform. In the end, I think it probably a net good for 'conservatism', but nominally bad for laissez faire liberalism.

However, the hostility toward the moral concerns of the religious right from libertarian types is much worse for the cause of limited government, imo.
3.3.2009 11:19am
Kirk:
What Bart said about Derb. If I want some advice on how to further my political view, my favorite British-American old-world-style conservative is about the last person I would seek advice from.

Ubu Walker, you might get me to go along with your statement "liberalism is primarily about compassion" if you could work in "veneer" or "facade" into it somewhere.
3.3.2009 11:20am
Adler Colleague:
Mr. Derbyshire's opinion is just the kind of elitist tripe that the "left" loves. Talk radio is not the catalyst of conservative intellectual discourse, but it is a medium to bring those ideas to the general population. And, it is done in a very entertaining way, which is one reason it thrives. Many of the talkers, especially Rush Limbaugh, refer to Hayek and Friedman on a regular basis. Those references and discussions have certainly lead many to read works such as Road to Serfdom and Capitalism and Freedom. That is a good thing. Jon, it sounds like you may approve of Mr. Derbyshire's analysis. If so, it is time for you to come down from the tower and rub shoulders with us commoners.
3.3.2009 11:23am
Don Meaker (mail):
We have to understand that Talk Radio became our voice because we had no voice on national media, and at best half a voice on Fox. When the most conservative voice on the NYT op ed page was George Will there was no conservative.

The problem is not the voice that we have, but the voice that we don't have.
3.3.2009 11:24am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
cboldt.
It's beginning to appear, or perhaps "beginning" is not actually the word, that public service pays extremely well, if we look beyond the W2.
It even gives you a tax break--as in you don't have to pay them.
3.3.2009 11:25am
Thief (mail) (www):
To borrow the Hulu ad campaign:

Right-wing talk radio: An evil leftist plot to destroy America. Enjoy.
3.3.2009 11:27am
flashman (mail):
I have to admit I believe Derbyshire is essentially correct. I admit that I listen to conservative talk radio on my commute to work and used to listen to Limbaugh when I was overseas. I like some (Bennett) and dislike others (Levin and Hannity). But just like the marketplace, there's something for everyone, even conservatives and libertarians who are either miffed or outright angry.

Obama has only, to the best of my knowledge, publicly taken issue with Limbaugh and probably won't do so again. Instead, he'll let his acolytes take Limbaugh on in an effort to tie all conservatives to Limbaugh's over-excited utterances. He used a similar tactic against Ryan in 2004 by distancing himself from the emerging sex scandal while keeping the rumors alive be telling everyone he didn't want to criticize Ryan for the sex scandal.

The problem is I just don't believe the "angry conservative" movement will bring in any new or responsible ideas. It will, of course, solidify a conservative political base already predisposed to see Limbaugh as many progressives see Obama, as the nation's savior. Obama just does a better job at self-promotion and marketing.
3.3.2009 11:28am
Barack John Derby Alinsky #12 Obama (mail):
Pondering the imponderable.
3.3.2009 11:29am
Jim Ison (mail):
Houston Lawyer

I guess, as a lawyer, you can afford all the unexpected medical crises your family has endured and will experience. So, no crisis for YOU. Is that it? There's still a TONE in your reply that doesn't address the question: How does small government address the needs of the poor? By saying that they CHOOSE to be poor? Do the children of the poor choose their parents? I'm not looking for compassion here, Houston etc., I'm looking for THOUGHT.
3.3.2009 11:35am
Allan Walstad (mail):

liberalism is primarily about compassion

Compassion with other people's money.

Where are the convervative sharp folks who go off to the Ivy League, then return and do grand things in their home states, in preparation for national office?

My sense of conservatism (prior to the neocon debacle) is that it's not about doing grand (political) things in preparation for national office (where one is presumably expected to do even grander things). It's mainly about keeping government out of the way sufficiently to let individuals and families successfully pursue their own dreams and goals without being robbed and hampered at every step. Granted, the movement is a mixed bag including many who would intrude coercively into the personal lifestyle choices of their neighbors, but the quote above is remarkably tone-deaf. Political power is not a very respectable aspiration.

I would be grateful for a calm and reasonable answer from the 'small government' folks regarding the health crisis.

As with other areas of economic activity, the increasing dysfunctionality of the health care system coincides with expanded government meddling. Government intervention in the market generates distortions which get blamed on the market and become the excuse for more intervention. As with so many messes the pols have gotten us into--Social Security, the housing bubble, failing schools--getting out of the mess is a lot harder than staying out would have been in the first place.
3.3.2009 11:38am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
The very first comment is typical of the what is wrong with the modern Republican Party: It is okay to have our chuckleheads because them lib'ruls have 'em too.

The Liberals do have idiot talk radio hosts. But they don't have the same influence. Name one left wing talk host who makes anywhere near Rush's 40 million a year.

As someone who likes a two party system that modulates against the extremes, I am very sad about the impact of right wing talk radio.

Rush Limbaugh has created an echo chamber on the right and made it impossible for thoughtful Republicans to change their minds.

Examples:
We are in a liquidity trap right now. People with capital aren't investing it until demand rises. Cutting taxes on the top brackets won't raise demand - it will just add to the capital held in limbo waiting for the recovery. We have to address the demand side of the equation. Unfortunately, the mantra of "Always cut taxes" has become dogma.

The public perception of gay marriage is changing. If Republicans don't accept the zeitgeist, they will lose the next generation. And since party identification can become akin to team boosterism, it will be hard to change. This bodes ill for the next forty years. Republicans who tact to the moving center are condemned by the echo chamber and fear primary challenges - so the "gays will destroy society" folks running the show.

Evolution - Bernstein posted a few days ago - the top tier of the Republican bench are creationists. I can't think of a single ranking Republican who defends evolution in public education.

Immigration - when Bush and McCain tried to ease back from the illegal bashing, they were condemned by their own side. Hispanics are a growing segment of the electorate. They will be decisive in Texas in a couple of decades. If you can draw a winning electoral map with Texas colored blue you are smarter than I. A demographic tidal wave looms.
Aside from the Hispanics themselves, the anti-immigrant mania has also quietly alienated businessmen who understand the crucial role that Mexicans play in our labor force. Farmers and contractors know that they need illegals to provide dependable labor. Even a conservative dairy farmer is likely to vote Democratic if the Republican candidate is promising to build a wall.

It is too early to count out Republicans - a friend of mine has noted that people were counting out the Democrats just a few years ago. But the Democrats were able to change their message - they do no have a potent talk/entertainment segment that dictates dogma. It will be much harder for Republicans to overcome the deadweight of talk radio.
3.3.2009 11:39am
Blue:
"The GOP made a Faustian bargain, and the reaper is here to collect."

Truly the Left exceeds the Right in knowledge and education
3.3.2009 11:40am
The Voter Formerly Known As Republican (mail):
Given Michael Steele's pathetic apology to Limbaugh I have no doubt that talk radio is hurting the Republican party and may end up destroying it. For the first time in my life I, a Goldwater conservative, voted for Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. Why? Because the Republicans now base their platform on the claptrap that is distributed on a daily basis by uneducated idiots like Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity. These people are effective entertainers interested only in making a buck (not that there is anything wrong with that per se). The problem is that such people have no principles and now that they are in charge neither does the Republican party.

If they continue on this path they're going to lose more and more voters. To the objective-minded, a well led and reasonable Democratic party is much less frightening than a Republican party that is led by demagogues and incendiary entertainers.
3.3.2009 11:40am
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

Not so well suited for depth of discussion or educating a "middlebrow" populace.


Deep discussions are not what wins votes.

The fairness doctrine myth has been dropped even by most of the conservative ideological sphere, as the lack of evidence and the appearance of new and realer targets sucks all the oxygen out of the charge.

Except that we have quotes from members of Congress publicly stating support for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.


With the economic meltdown proving once and for all the requirement for government regulation to ensure orderly financial markets

What sort of regulation would have stopped the economic meltdown?
3.3.2009 11:43am
Frog Leg (mail):
Adler Colleague:
Talk radio is not the catalyst of conservative intellectual discourse, but it is a medium to bring those ideas to the general population.

Sure, communication is important, but there has to be more than that. Where are the new ideas of conservatism? Saying that we are always on the right half of the Laffer curve doesn't cut it 30 years later. In the 80s conservative thought led to charter schools and enpowerment zones, both important new ideas. Who is working on new conservative ideas for the environment? If someone is, Limbaugh doesn't know about it, because the ideas are not being communicated.

When Limbaugh started 20 or so years ago, he attracted a lot of people in their 20s and 30s to conservatism. Limbaugh is still playing to these people; the problem is, these people are now in their 40s and 50s. Limbaugh's audience is graying. What will happen to the GOP when they're not around anymore?
3.3.2009 11:43am
Constantin:
Constantin -- I have never seen any evidence that Obama was an addict, nor that he used substances post-college. Not exactly the same as Rush's middle-age painkiller problem.

I'm not sure age is the only sliding scale when assigning levels of evil to drug use. (And keep in mind on that score, even, Barack was a legally grown man illegally snorting coke. He was older then than will be some of men and women he is commanding in harms way at present.) Furthermore, as someone else pointed out today, we've not exactly got a full accounting from Barack on the extent of his youthful indisretion, as it was off limits during the campaign.

Limbaugh was addicted to pain pills because he was in pain. At least there was a reason, if a flawed or legally irrelevant one. I'm not sure what similar ailment served as impetus for Barack's experimentation.

Then a freaking hurricane, which nobody could have really predicted two weeks before it happened, changed everything.

>>Because hurricanes in the Gulf in late August are so rare.


Surely you jest if you're claming not to get my point.
3.3.2009 11:43am
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

To the objective-minded, a well led and reasonable Democratic party is much less frightening than a Republican party that is led by demagogues and incendiary entertainers.

So Democrats won the past two elections by becoming more moderate?
3.3.2009 11:44am
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

Where are the new ideas of conservatism?

Of course, on important factor is what new ideas of liberalism are formed and how they compare with new ideas of conservatism.
3.3.2009 11:46am
David M. Nieporent (www):
With the economic meltdown proving once and for all the requirement for inability of government regulation to ensure orderly financial markets, many precepts of the GOP are DOA.
FIFY.
3.3.2009 11:46am
SeaDrive:

Commercial talk radio doesn't work, because liberalism is primarily about compassion.


Once upon a time, possibly before "talk radio", political radio was primarily liberal. Look up Barry Farber as an example.

And it's not so much about compassion as about the understanding of the social contract. It's not so much whether you have compassion for the drunk on the street as whether you accept a responsibility to help him.
3.3.2009 11:46am
Constantin:
The very first comment is typical of the what is wrong with the modern Republican Party: It is okay to have our chuckleheads because them lib'ruls have 'em too.

Derbyshire is making a claim that influence of such chuckleheads is a net negative at the polls. I disagreed, pointing out the recent electoral successes fueled in large part by the Left's internet base. I would guess that influence is at least on part, and probably surpasses, that of the talk radio on the Right.

But the Democrats were able to change their message - they do not have a potent talk/entertainment segment that dictates dogma.

No comment necessary.
3.3.2009 11:48am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
"And the big spending corrupt republican congress"

You mean the tiny, insignificant, spending of the corrupt Republican congress, don't you. They hardly ever broke a Trillion...
3.3.2009 11:49am
Jim Ison (mail):
smallholder

Well said.
3.3.2009 11:53am
cboldt (mail):
-- I, a Goldwater conservative, voted for Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. --
.
I'll make the same switch, but I insist on having the government-paid annuity, health care, heating assistance, etc. in my hands, before I deliver the vote.
.
This is what happens when politics becomes a bidding war for votes, and a majority of the public demands the government manage society. The masses, true to human nature, play the game to maximize their share of the handouts.
3.3.2009 11:54am
trad and anon (mail):
Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government
Conservatives support limited government? Since when? Conservatives spent decades cheering as Reagan-Bush-Bush dramatically expanded the scope and power of government.
fiscal prudence
ROTFL
equality under law
Oh, that explains the anti-sodomy laws, anti-marriage laws, and gay adoption bans conservatives have spent the last few decades promoting.
personal liberty
See id. See also arbitrary detention without trial, and the Kangaroo Courts Act. Conservatives supported all those things the last time I checked.
patriotism
Depends on what you think patriotism is about.
realism abroad
These days I thought conservatives were all about idealistic nation-building policies.

In essence, Derbyshire is claiming that conservatism is the opposite of the actual policies actual conservatives actually support.
3.3.2009 11:55am
Angus:
Howard Dean, who is a dullard, oversaw the Democrats (led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, two other dunces) taking back both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, by turning the party sharply left. Recall the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party" line he stole from Nader.
The main problem with this analysis is its complete and total inaccuracy.

1. Your evidence for Howard Dean being a "dullard" is what? An M.D.? Being a multiple term sucessful Governor? Committing the Democratic party to organizing itself even in deep red conservative states (with payoffs in Indiana and North Carolina)?
2. The Democratic Party won its sizable majorities in Congress by promoting and supporting conservative and moderate Democrats to run in record numbers. Hell, they even have a pro-life Democrat as Senate Majority Leader.
3. The caricature of Obama as some sort of wild-eyed socialist is, at this point, a caricature. He won because he pitched himself as a center-left pragmatist.
3.3.2009 11:56am
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

The very first comment is typical of the what is wrong with the modern Republican Party: It is okay to have our chuckleheads because them lib'ruls have 'em too.

Explain the process of how chuckleheads hurt the Republican Party but not the Democratic Party.

Also, explain what happened to those chuckleheads like Tim Mahoney and William Jefferson.

It's not so much whether you have compassion for the drunk on the street as whether you accept a responsibility to help him.

Help him for what ?

Our social contract has provisions claiming no murdering, no stealing, no raping.

It does not give us a duty to give money to people who would rather do drugs than work.
3.3.2009 11:58am
Aultimer:

Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad[...]

There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. It's energizing and fun.


If the "lowbrow conservatism" of Hannity and Limbaugh included any of the defining list OTHER than patriotism, "nothing wrong" might be credible. As it stands, all the energy of conservatism is taken up by the statism of the Religious Right, with a renewed but too-late fiscal restraint thrown in for good measure.
3.3.2009 12:01pm
Angus:
Derbyshire is making a claim that influence of such chuckleheads is a net negative at the polls. I disagreed, pointing out the recent electoral successes fueled in large part by the Left's internet base.

One of the difference is that the Left/Progressive netroots tends to embrace conservative and moderate Democrats, whereas talk radio hosts appear to want to eliminate all moderate and liberal Republicans.
3.3.2009 12:02pm
accountant ed (mail):
Wow, all these threads about Limbaugh all over the libertarian/conservative side of the internets sure are polarized. I have no idea what it will lead to. But on a side not, whenever anyone says that conservatives believe in "personal liberty" it always makes me laugh.
3.3.2009 12:05pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):

As someone who likes a two party system that modulates against the extremes, I am very sad about the impact of right wing talk radio.

Rush Limbaugh has created an echo chamber on the right and made it impossible for thoughtful Republicans to change their minds.


I started listening to Rush in '89 or '90 when I ran across him during my lunch break. I thought he was local at first and I thought he wouldn't be on the air long. You didn't say those things in public, and you sure didn't on the radio. I had no idea that people beyond me and my immediate family thought those things. If Rush has done nothing else, he turned the monolog into a dialog.

I am a thoughtful Republican and I do change my mind when I find it to be appropriate. Can't listen to Rush much anymore b/c I find myself yelling at him while I'm driving, which is counterproductive. But I still quote pithy things that he has said (feminism came about to give unattractive women access to the mainstream - yes, and thank God for it) and I'm grateful for what he's done for the country.

As to the future of the Republican party - I remember what happened to the Clinton revolution in 1994. Let's see how the Senate and House look in 2010 before we throw in the towel.
3.3.2009 12:08pm
Frog Leg (mail):
Explain the process of how chuckleheads hurt the Republican Party but not the Democratic Party.

Too easy. Because the GOP chuckleheads had the Presidency for the last 8 years.

Daniel Larison's column is worth reading:


Conservatives seem to have spent the last year rapidly regressing from cheering on lame politicians who could at least intelligently recite their platitudes (Romney) to worshipping pseudo-populists who could not even do that (Palin) to elevating random guys who didn't like taxes (the Plumber) to rallying around a radio host who makes Romney's own brand of Reagan nostalgia and three-legs-of-the-stoolism seem deep and meaningful by comparison. Of course, there isn't that much substantively different between Romney's opportunistic recitations and Limbaugh's boilerplate, but at least with Romney you knew that he was capable of saying something else and would have said it if he had thought it was to his advantage. The boilerplate is not only all Limbaugh knows how to say, but if you pressed him to elaborate on any of it he would just repeat himself.
3.3.2009 12:08pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Those commenting here and in the larger world on the News/Talk Radio format act like Rush and Sean are the only hosts.

Michael Medved (who entered Yale at 16), and Hugh Hewitt (Harvard and U Mich Law) each have more listeners than any Left talker.

Both spend a lot of time on "highbrow" subjects.
3.3.2009 12:09pm
SeaDrive:

Our social contract has provisions claiming no murdering, no stealing, no raping.

It does not give us a duty to give money to people who would rather do drugs than work.



You illustrate the point very nicely. I think most parents would feel the need to help one of their children, as least for the first offense. Some people would help a cousin. Some would help a neighbor. Some would help a coreligionist. Some would help a fellow citizen. Some would help a veteran. Some would want to help anyone.

We all have our limits. The political fights over social programs are fights over the limits. The limits depend not just on compassion, but on self-interest. Some perceive universal education as being in their self-interest. Others don't. Some perceive universal healthcare as being in their self-interest. Others don't.
3.3.2009 12:11pm
Bart (mail):
keypusher64 (mail):

BD: Derbyshire obviously does not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or he would know that they are pretty faithful Reagan conservatives rather than GOP cheerleaders like Fred Barnes. Limbaugh and Hannity criticized Bush's big government conservatism for years.

Bart, I hate to break it to you, but Reagan was a big-government conservative too. Or perhaps you could show how he shrunk the government while he was in office?


Hardly.

You can find a chart showing US government spending as a percentage of GDP between 1980 and 2008 here.

Spending as a percentage of GDP went up during the first Reagan term when GDP was stalled out during the recession and Reagan poured money into winning the Cold War. Once the Cold War was won and the economy took off, US government spending as a percentage of GDP was smaller when Reagan left office than what it was when he came into office - a first in modern history.

Indeed, apart from George I's S&L spending, US government spending as a percentage of GDP kept shrinking until George II's big government conservatism oxymoron spending spree. Of course, Obama's spending is making George II appear like a fiscal Scrooge.
3.3.2009 12:14pm
Strict:

That's why Obama and his Marxist team are letting the economy go to hell without lifting a finger - so they can take advantage of a wider crisis to create to their welfare state utopia, which will fail because it always has everywhere its been tried. But despite all of the indisputable evidence, they're going with it anyway.



Lol. Thanks for this. It's golden in so many ways.
3.3.2009 12:15pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Then there is the whole question of what "help" means. It's probably uncharitable and inaccurate of me, but I perceive liberalism to be about feeling and conservatism about thinking. So if I am a liberal I look at the wino and feel bad, and then I give him somebody else's money via taxes and then I feel better. As a conservative I wonder how he got that way, whether he should be helped out of it (might not be my business), and how best to go about helping him. Money may or may not be involved.
3.3.2009 12:16pm
byomtov (mail):
Surely you jest if you're claming not to get my point.

No. I don't get your point, actually. Is it hard to imagine that a hurricane might hit New Orleans, or other coastal areas, in late August? Isn't that why we have "something called hurricane monitoring?"
3.3.2009 12:19pm
Allan Walstad (mail):
Both major parties have their shills, and probably always will. The problem for the country is that Republicans talk small government and foreign policy restraint until they get power; then they spend and intervene militarily like crazy. The Democrats' electoral victories and Obama's ascendency reflect no shift toward left-wing collectivism in America, rather anger over the Iraq war coupled with no reason to see in the Republicans any real alternative to the Democrats' wild tax-and-spend. When the R's complain about fiscal irresponsibility, the D's can simply point to Bush.

Obama is a talented politician. One can only hope that he overplays his hand sufficiently to lose control of Congress in two years, leaving the country in the relative safety of political gridlock.

With regard to highbrow vs lowbrow: What is correct and sensible may be straightforward and simple. What is stupid and counterproductive may hide behind a veneer of elite articulation and unflappable demeanor. And hubris too often accompanies genius.
3.3.2009 12:22pm
Derrick (mail):
Then there is the whole question of what "help" means. It's probably uncharitable and inaccurate of me, but I perceive liberalism to be about feeling and conservatism about thinking. So if I am a liberal I look at the wino and feel bad, and then I give him somebody else's money via taxes and then I feel better. As a conservative I wonder how he got that way, whether he should be helped out of it (might not be my business), and how best to go about helping him. Money may or may not be involved.


And yes that was uncharitable, inaccurate and mostly about as simplistic as a 5th graders understanding of World War I.
3.3.2009 12:22pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Byomtov, it wasn't the hurricane. Don't you remember "God's got our back"? The levees broke. That was the issue. They broke partly because money that was appropriated to maintain them got reappropriated elsewhere.

Yes, there are hurricanes in coastal areas. Does the kind of destruction we saw happen with every one?
3.3.2009 12:24pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
Derrick, it comes of long years of observation.
3.3.2009 12:26pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
I would wager that the average Rush listener was quite critical of Congress's free-spending ways while Bush was in office.


If you asked them "does congress spend too much?", I'm sure they would. But when it comes to putting this into action, then I'd say not.

Just look at, for example, the one bright spot in the President's new budget: drastically cutting farm subsidies. All the farm state Republicans are vowing to fight this, even as they laud their commitment to cutting the size of government.

And even in their rhetoric, their commitment only extends to fighting the current president. No mention is made of cutting any of the spending from the last eight years.

This is the real damage talk radio has done: talk has replaced action as the defining act of conservatism. You get credit for saying you oppose big government; you don't have to actually cut anything. You get credit for criticizing the previous president; you don't have to actually prevent him from being re-elected.
3.3.2009 12:30pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I entered an Ivy League college at 16 (although, IIRC, I turned 17 on Freshman Registration Day before the beginning of classes). I guess this makes my comments especially intellectual (at least for Mr. Frissell. Given my understanding that Eugene Volokh began college at 15, I'd say the entire line of reasoning is crap, but…
3.3.2009 12:30pm
LN (mail):

Howard Dean, who is a dullard, oversaw the Democrats (led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, two other dunces) taking back both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, by turning the party sharply left. Recall the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party" line he stole from Nader.


Here's something that fascinates/irks me. Howard Dean is a moderate centrist. He balanced the state budget, he was endorsed several times by the NRA. He rose to prominence by criticizing the invasion of Iraq when it was unpopular to do so -- not on Chimpy McHalliburton grounds, or on general pacifist grounds, but on the grounds that Bush had failed to make a good case for war. See this May 2003 interview. He was 100% right about the war. His stint as chairman of the DNC was also very successful.

But for some reason this doctor is a "dullard" and a wild-eyed leftist. Why? Because he's a Democrat. No evidence necessary.
3.3.2009 12:36pm
Constantin:
One of the difference is that the Left/Progressive netroots tends to embrace conservative and moderate Democrats, whereas talk radio hosts appear to want to eliminate all moderate and liberal Republicans.

Ask Joe Lieberman what he thinks about this assertion.
3.3.2009 12:45pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Stormy Dragon:

"This is the real damage talk radio has done: talk has replaced action as the defining act of conservatism. You get credit for saying you oppose big government; you don't have to actually cut anything. You get credit for criticizing the previous president; you don't have to actually prevent him from being re-elected."


By far the most perceptive comment so far.

Conservatives are for the most part not action oriented. They like to write letters, call in to talk radio and whine a lot about big government. On the other hand, the left can get their shock troops into the public arena. They go on petition drives, shout down speakers, hold demonstrations, picket the houses of CEOs, and if necessary rough people up.

Conservative talk radio does serve the left as it provides a cathartic for a large population of frustrated people. If Obama and his thugs succeed in silencing talk radio, they might actually create a worse problem for themselves.
3.3.2009 12:46pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
To some extent, I agree with Derbyshire - talk radio has turned the right from the party of Bill Buckley to the party of Rush Limbaugh. Decades ago, before I settled on conservatism, I would marvel at Buckley's expertise as he would verbally skewer one liberal icon after another on his Crossfire show. It was fun, but it never won any elections.

Derbyshire isn't going to win any big elections either, nor are any of those intellectuals that he loves. While they are just fine at an intellectual level, they cannot reach the American public. Rush can and does.

President Obama has grabbed power and pushed government left far harder than almost anyone expected, spending trillions of dollars on every Democratic wet dream he can think of, while essentially milking the financial crisis as justification for spending money we don't have as quickly as he possibly can. Along with that, he is pulling all the troops out of Iraq, trying to reimpose the "Fairness Doctrine", dumping the missile shield, etc., all within the first six weeks of taking office.

And Rush right now is the loudest voice pointing all this out. Obama's approval ratings have dropped, and continue to drop, at a fair clip - possibly because of many of those moderate to conservative swing voters who supported him and are now having second thoughts. And why the second thoughts? Quite possibly because Rush is pointing out what is going on right now in Washington, while Derbyshire is spending his time whining about everyone listening to Rush.

Many of the liberals here appear to believe that there has been a major shift left in the American people. But that doesn't make sense. A bit more than two years ago, the Republicans had what the Democrats have now - both houses of Congress and the presidency.

I think that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. have grossly overplayed their hand, and will likely lose the House in 2010, and the Senate either then or in 2012. The "Culture of Corruption" mantra coming from them won't work any more, as there is 2X or more corruption on that side of the isle as compared to the Republicans, and that is becoming obvious to the American people, as more and more of the elites running this country turned out to have cheated on their taxes, accepted bribes for political favors, etc.

And it will be people like Rush banging on the Democrats' scandals, corruptions, wasteful squandering of our grandchildren's monies, stupid statements, etc. that will rewin Congress and maybe even the presidency for the Republicans. It won't be overnight, but it will be day in, day out, for the next four years.
3.3.2009 12:49pm
c.gray (mail):

Just look at, for example, the one bright spot in the President's new budget: drastically cutting farm subsidies. All the farm state Republicans are vowing to fight this, even as they laud their commitment to cutting the size of government.


/sigh

This is an example of how Obama really is a canny politician. Those cuts are being proposed solely in order to make the White House budget look more reasonable. Farm state senators, both Republican &Democratic, will never let them go into effect, especially in this economic climate. Obama KNOWS this.
3.3.2009 12:51pm
Constantin:
Here's something that fascinates/irks me. Howard Dean is a moderate centrist. He balanced the state budget, he was endorsed several times by the NRA. He rose to prominence by criticizing the invasion of Iraq when it was unpopular to do so -- not on Chimpy McHalliburton grounds, or on general pacifist grounds, but on the grounds that Bush had failed to make a good case for war. See this May 2003 interview. He was 100% right about the war. His stint as chairman of the DNC was also very successful.

His sprint to the Left during the presidential primary in 2004 is well-documented, in part because it so conflicted with is record in Vermont. He's never come back, and certainly didn't as head of the DNC.

For anyone to claim the left has assumed power based on anything like moderation just astounds me. A caricature of a speaker from San Francisco and [insert whichever of Barack's unsavory past associations and votes here].

Your evidence for Howard Dean being a "dullard" is what? An M.D.? Being a multiple term sucessful Governor? Committing the Democratic party to organizing itself even in deep red conservative states (with payoffs in Indiana and North Carolina)?

Evidence for George Bush being a "dullard" is what? A degree from Yale? An MBA from Harvard? Being a multiple term successful governor? Winning two presidential elections? Becoming the first president in two generations to win congressional seats in his first mid-term election?
3.3.2009 12:51pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Several commenters have made my point.

When you make arguments predicated on the idea that liberals just want power or that global warming scientists are lying because they are involved in a cabal to ruin the American economy, you have failed to address the other side's arguments. It's comforting and quick: Obama's a Marxist! Liberals use welfare to enslave black people! Liberals want to destroy marriage!

It's also inaccurate.

When Rush and Coulter (she who says Liberals are all treasonous) make the argument assuming malice, their ditto-heads unthinkingly agree.

We would all be better off if both sides of ther equation assumed that we all want what is best with America. Let's discuss the evidence instead of imputing vile motives to the opposition.

Talk radio had removed a large segment of conservatives from productive conversation. If I say that, perhaps, a greater regulation of debt ratios in the banking industry and stronger SEC audits would have minimized the collateral damage of the housing downturn, I'm not saying I want to live in Castro's workers' paradise. Calling me a Marxist doesn't help.

Duncan Frissell brings up Medved and Hewitt. Point made. But - do you really think either of these guys has the influence of Rush? There are many brilliant conservative pundits who engage on the issues - I like George Will. But - and here's the rub - when they veer from the lowest-common denominator, they are labeled apostates by the ditto-heads.

Constantin is a good example of the party line mania - he loves the "Liberals have their talk show hosts too" so much that he really can't consider that those liberals he likes to demonize aren't particularly influential. I challenge Constantin to find ONE liberal talking head who makes HALF of what Limbaugh does. The marketplace does reflect reality.

Finally, those commenters who claim that Obama ran as a far left candidate are also good examples of Rush syndrome. They are simply unable to see that the Dean/Obama Democratic party ran towards the center. They are so blinded by right wing radio that they are oblivious to what a majority of the country saw.
3.3.2009 12:54pm
DCP:

These things all go in cycles. I've heard "they just don't get it" or "such and such political party/ideology is dead" too many times to ever pay such notions lip service.

In my mind if there is a genuine threat to politically viable conservatism it is simple hard demographics. The silent base - or "lowbrow crowd" as the author might describe them - of liberalism is the urban cluster of poor blacks and Hispanics who blindly support left-wing candidates.

I know some will snark at this comment, but Republicans/ conservatives have really tried hard to make inroads with these minority groups. And to be honest, it's not illogical at all - they tend to be devoutly Christian, anti-abortion, etc. But they just can't put a dent in the automatic 90% support the Democrats enjoy. Not a dent. And you don't have to be sociologist to figure out where the reproduction and immigration trends are heading.
3.3.2009 12:55pm
Angus:
Ask Joe Lieberman what he thinks about this assertion.

You must have confused Joe Lieberman for a moderate or conservative. In fact, he is quite liberal. Dislike for him has very little to do with his liberalism, and is almost entirely about his unrelenting pro-war stance. I disagreed with the attacks on him, but they aren't of the same type as the blanket ideological attacks on moderate Republicans.

I used to be a reliable vote for the Republican party from the late 1980s until 2004. I can't do so anymore because the current Republican base wants no part of moderation and has instead embraced the religious right and ideological intolerance.
3.3.2009 12:56pm
Derrick (mail):
Ask Joe Lieberman what he thinks about this assertion.


The previous comment should have had a qualifier, such as "a**holes excepted". Both Senators Nelson and Landrieu are far more conservative than Lieberman, and no one is throwing around DINO like the Right does with Snowe and Spector who both seem to be pretty nice people from all evidence. And I doubt either of them would have the narcissism necessary to run for office as "Independent Republicans".
3.3.2009 12:58pm
rick.felt:
One of the difference is that the Left/Progressive netroots tends to embrace conservative and moderate Democrats

Yeah, like Joe Lieberman.

I do get your point, though. The Democrats have enjoyed success by running conservatives in red districts. A Montana or Oklahoma Democrat can say to voters, "I'm a Democrat, but I'm not one of those San Francisco Democrats. I love guns and hate abortions." Of course, when they get to the House, they vote for a speaker who hates guns and loves abortions.

Perhaps Republicans would do well to run more liberals in blue districts. The problem is that the Republicans' liberals always seem to have more influence on their party (Specter, Snowe) than the Democrats' conservatives have on theirs.
3.3.2009 12:59pm
rick.felt:
The previous comment should have had a qualifier, such as "a**holes excepted".

Alas, non-a**holes are in short supply.
3.3.2009 1:03pm
Derrick (mail):
The silent base - or "lowbrow crowd" as the author might describe them - of liberalism is the urban cluster of poor blacks and Hispanics who blindly support left-wing candidates.


By blindly you obviously mean, that they choose not to ignore that the Republican Party has and will use them as effective political punching bags (ie Rush, Tancredo) when the mood strikes. And yes I'll insert Republican Racial Talking Point 1-1.3d, Robert Byrd was in the KKK 50 years ago.
3.3.2009 1:03pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Ask Joe Lieberman what he thinks about this assertion.
Look, if Jim Leach, who endorsed Obama, finds himself thrown out of the Iowa Republican Party, I'll understand. That is, after all, what we did to Lieberman, the Kim Philby of the Democratic Party. What I find astonishing (and you haven't come to grips with) is the Republican circular firing squad aiming at Specter, Chaffee, and now making even Michael Steele, an unpleasant apparatchik with no evident liberal or moderate tendencies, crawl to Canossa. You might talk to Sens. Nelson, Webb, etc. to compare their treatment.
3.3.2009 1:03pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The Republicans have truly fallen on hard times. John McCain's own daughter admits she's turned off by people who voted for her father.
Here's the biggest surprise: I am not only turned off by people who voted for Barack Obama, but I am also turned off by people that voted for my dad—or more so, obsessive supporters of my dad.
Poor girl she can't find a date. Too bad I'm too old for her as I didn't vote for either candidate. She should like that.
3.3.2009 1:06pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Constantin wrote:


One of the difference is that the Left/Progressive netroots tends to embrace conservative and moderate Democrats, whereas talk radio hosts appear to want to eliminate all moderate and liberal Republicans.

Ask Joe Lieberman what he thinks about this assertion.



And yet Lieberman survived and won election.

And caucuses with the Democrats.

And didn't lose his chairmanship.


Once again Constantin models one of the problems with the dittoheads - rather than pluck the beam out of their own eye, they'd rather criticize the mote in the Democrat eye.

Constantin, I've got a quiz for you.

If a Republican gets caught saying something racist is your first reaction to:

a) Criticize the Republican and say that has no place in your party

or

b) Scream "Robert Byrd was in the Klan!

If a Republican gets caught doing something immoral, is your first reaction to:

a) Criticize the immoral act.

or

b) Scream "Ted Kennedy drowned his pregnant girlfriend.

If a Republican candidate gets caught taking kickbacks from lobbysists, is your first reaction to:

a) Call for their removal from the ballot.

or

b) Scream "William Jefferson had money in his freezer!"

If someone points out that Limbaugh is bad for the Republican party, do you:

a) Encourage Rush to be more thoughtful and discuss ways to broaden the Republican party

or

b) Claim that obscure liberal talk show hosts are just as bad?
3.3.2009 1:06pm
General Christopher Gadsden:
trad and anon - FTW
3.3.2009 1:06pm
byomtov (mail):
Yes, there are hurricanes in coastal areas. Does the kind of destruction we saw happen with every one?

Not always, but sometimes. That's the issue, which was the incompetent response to the emergency by FEMA and "heckuva job" Brownie.

Don't get me wrong. Bianco and Nagin were not exactly brilliant either, but that doesn't mitigate FEMA's failures. The degree of destruction was certainly very large, and due to the levee break, but remember that Katrina was down to a category three by the time it hit LA. Had it stayed in a higher category, and hit N.O. more directly, it would have caused terrible damage to the city even without the levee break. The failure to have any sort of plan to cope with that was sheer incompetence.
3.3.2009 1:11pm
Angus:
You might talk to Sens. Nelson, Webb, etc. to compare their treatment.
Indeed, the conservative-leaning Webb was enthusiastically supported on the internet, as were many other conservative and moderate Dems. The major difference in the approach of the two parties to its members right now seems to be:

Democrats: We share 70% of the same ideas, so let's work together on that 70% and agree to disagree on the other 30%.

Republicans: You disagree with us 30% of the time, that makes you an enemy of the people, we hate you, and you must be publicly humiliated and purged from the party!
3.3.2009 1:13pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Jim Ison:

I would be grateful for a calm and reasonable answer from the 'small government' folks regarding the health crisis.

The notion that there is a "health crisis" is misconceived and misrepresented. What is happening is that medicine is developing new treatments for conditions that were previously untreatable, but at a cost that is growing without bound. At some point that growing cost becomes unsupportable under any scenario.

In times past about all medicine could do was relieve suffering while people either got better by themselves or died. If that is all people expect of medicine then there is no "crisis", because by and large that is already being done, and it can be done at a cost that the economy can afford. But it cannot afford to treat all the conditions of everyone that have become treatable. At some point we just have to let people die. That is the brutal truth of the human predicament. The Universe is not organized for our comfort or convenience. We are incredibly lucky that it even makes possible as much life as we have.

The best we can realistically hope for comes with small government. Reaching for more will bring disaster and a worse situation than otherwise. But too many people don't want to believe that their dreams are unattainable, and will go on doing things that don't work in the hopes of getting a better outcome.
3.3.2009 1:14pm
Ramza:


"The GOP made a Faustian bargain, and the reaper is here to collect."

Truly the Left exceeds the Right in knowledge and education

Most tales (folk and literary) of Faust, such as Goethe's Faust, have the devil winning his prize when the person dies, Faust can have anything in life but in death the devil controls your soul. The reaper is an independent agent who oversees the change of property in the analogy. It is like a repo man being the person who collect your soul for the banker you owe money to, he isn't a member of the two parties who sign the contract he just oversees the chain of events that leads your car to no longer belong to you.

Any more snark?
3.3.2009 1:16pm
Fub:
Ubu Walker wrote at 3.3.2009 10:05am:
As a liberal who enjoys talk radio, I'd like to explain why people enjoy listening to conservative blowhards like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Savage: They are entertaining and they say things that people either want to hear or are appalled at hearing. People listen to the radio to either have their opinions confirmed - OR - to get angry. "What is this guy going to say next?" is what these broadcasters are going for, so that they can get you to stick around and listen to commercials.
Bingo! That is key to how radio and TV work economically. The broadcaster's business purpose and model is to deliver ears and eyeballs to advertisers. That's how the broadcaster pays the electric bill. That's why the Arbs and Nielsons are so important to broadcasters, advertisers and show producers. The ratings agencies count ears and eyeballs.

Talk show hosts, like every other program producer, bring their portfolio of Arbs to broadcasters and syndicators, and broadcasters make offers to hire or purchase their shows based upon those portfolios. It's really that simple, modulo the granularity of particular broadcasters' coverage areas and particular advertisers' perceptions of the potential market for their product in those areas.

Why did Limbaugh's 1990s venture into television fail? Low ratings. Same reason Donahue eventually failed as TV tastes changed. Why did Ophrah succeed? High ratings.

If a talk show's advertisers believe they can make money by sponsoring the show, it doesn't matter what the talk show host advocates. The only thing that matters is the ear count. For broadcasters, ratings are the proxy for potential advertising revenue. For advertisers, ratings are the proxy for potential sales. Money talks. Ideology walks.

That's not a bug. That's a feature. It's a business after all.
3.3.2009 1:21pm
Educated by Jesuits (mail):
1. Unless and until the Republicans can push to the side the people (and the candidates!) who reject the theory of evolution, &c, there is no real chance of them being a strong national party. The voters the Republicans are trying to woo are too young to remember race riots and do not give a tinker's damn whether two men want to marry.

2. One of the reasons that liberals, or better yet, "progressives", do not do well on talk radio is that it seems very difficult to find a progressive with a sense of humor. It used to be that the opposite was true (Mort Sahl, George Carlin).
Rush is very funny and a tremendously talented radio presenter; but as a thinker he is a total hack--no shock that he couldn't cut it at SE-MO. He is a star because people who are allergic to nuance think he is a philosopher.

3. Every time I see the name "Chimpy McFlightsuit" I laugh.
3.3.2009 1:27pm
MCM (mail):

Most tales (folk and literary) of Faust, such as Goethe's Faust, have the devil winning his prize when the person dies, Faust can have anything in life but in death the devil controls your soul.


Hmm, that's not consistent with the Faust I know.

In Marlowe's Faust, Faust gets a specific term of years of worldly power, then devils arrive to take Faust to hell at the end of the time-period.

The reaper doesn't enter into it.
3.3.2009 1:32pm
MQuinn:
Michael Ejercito said:

Except that we have quotes from members of Congress publicly stating support for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.

Michael, please read this:

The Senate voted Wednesday[,] [February 25, 2009,] to bar federal regulators from reimposing a policy, abandoned two decades ago, that required balanced coverage of issues on public airwaves. The pre-emptive strike against the so-called Fairness Doctrine has been actively pushed by conservative radio talk show hosts who have warned that Democrats would seek to revive the policy to ensure that liberal opinions get equal time.

The 87-11 vote added the measure as an amendment to a bill giving District of Columbia residents a vote in the Houses.
3.3.2009 1:33pm
BobDoyle (mail):

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling).
...not on Chimpy McHalliburton grounds...

Does this comport with the letter or spirit of the comment policy?
3.3.2009 1:33pm
MCM (mail):
Why did Limbaugh's 1990s venture into television fail? Low ratings. Same reason Donahue eventually failed as TV tastes changed. Why did Ophrah succeed? High ratings.


Begging the question, isn't it? Oprah succeeded because of high ratings, but why did she have high ratings? Why did Rush on TV have low ratings?
3.3.2009 1:35pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
As an occasional guest on talk radio and TV shows, and one who gets a lot of favorable comments from the audience, I offer a few observations:

1. Most talk hosts would better serve their audiences by having more and better guests and doing less of the talking themselves. Most of them get demands for that from their audience but resist responding to them.

2. The typical talk format, with its short duration and frequent commercial breaks, makes it difficult to explore any topic in depth. I have tried to reduce complex concepts to sound bites to work around that, but it is a challenge that not many potential guests can meet, especially those used to developing ideas in classroom lectures across multiple sessions.

3. The reality is that talk shows get audiences and sponsors by being entertaining rather than by being enlightening. (And that is also true of public education, which I have also practiced.) Not many people who know how to enlighten also know how to entertain.

4. Talk shows are not the vehicle for moving people in long steps toward enlightenment. The best that format allows is to move them in small steps. However, enough such events can have a cumulative impact, and have.
3.3.2009 1:37pm
Suzy (mail):
All this talk about the death of the GOP is a wild exaggeration. Their time will come again, but they will have to make some changes. What a lot of folks don't seem to understand is that people in the center are really turned off by the superficial vitriol. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh may tickle the fancy of conservatives, but I doubt they've converted many voters, especially not lately. I think the left is equally stupid to have people like Olbermann and Maddow, who play to their own diehard supporters but just seem smug and arrogant to anyone else.

When times are hard and you know a lot of real, live people who are losing jobs or can't pay for college or medicine, it's not helpful to hear that the gays are conspiring to destroy society and that Obama wasn't even born in the U.S. The reaction is eyerolling, rather than feeling that this message sounds like a good plan for the future. After what people perceive as many years of failed policy, they want to hear what sounds like a grownup solving problems that seem out of hand, and not someone fulminating into the mic, spittle flying.
3.3.2009 1:43pm
loki13 (mail):
I think that the OP has something to think about, and it might be better to entertain the ideas behind it than to reflexively crouch behind the usual ideological points.

As a person with some science and economics background, I would be low-hanging fruit for the traditional GOP. However, I also believe in the following:

1. Equal rights for gay people (whether it is in the form of "marriage" or "civil unions" or removing marriage from the sphere of government, is a matter I haven't fully decided on, but given our current status quo, I would fall in the marriage camp).

2. A robust debate over immigration. I truly believe that immigration is what made our country great; I think that our current situation (mass illegal immigration) is untenable, but there is far too little rational discourse on this issue.

3. Attempts to end racism in America. I think that it is blind to say that there is no racism in America, and I think that there should be a better dialogue about race in America and what measures are effective and what are counterproductive (cf. welfare reform in the 90s). I think there are good points to be made about how effective (if at all) government can be in this; but too often, all I see is that it either doesn't exist, Senator Byrd was a Klan member 50 years ago, or that the GOP is the party of Lincoln, while ignoring the often-racist appeals made by the local and federal office-holders.

None of these positions should be anathema to the current GOP, yet, when any are raised, you are excommunicated from the party. Moreover, the modern GOP involves elements (creationism/ID in schools for example) that are non-starters for me. Finally, there is a dislike of using evidence to help shape policy- instead of debating about the effects of a particular tax cut, we instead must swallow that all tax cuts are inherently good (even when they're just tax shifts).

In short- since 2000, I did not leave the GOP. The GOP left me. And I think that part of that can be chalked up the ideological litmus tests enforced, inter alia, by talk radio. The moderate republican is a dying breed, and it is a sad thing that the GOP would rather chase, for example, Snowe out of a safe senate seat and have her replaced by a Democratic Senator than have any moderates left.
3.3.2009 1:50pm
SeaDrive:

I think the left is equally stupid to have people like Olbermann and Maddow, who play to their own diehard supporters but just seem smug and arrogant to anyone else.


"The Left" doesn't have these guys, MSNBC has these guys. Just as Fox News et al have the other guys. The media hire and fire according to ratings.
3.3.2009 1:51pm
Ramza:

Hmm, that's not consistent with the Faust I know.

In Marlowe's Faust, Faust gets a specific term of years of worldly power, then devils arrive to take Faust to hell at the end of the time-period.

The reaper doesn't enter into it.

In Goethe's Faust, Faust gets to keep his soul until he experiences a moment where he doesn't want to end, a moment so blissful he will finally be satisfied in life. He experiences such a moment and wishes for it to continue and then is struck dead. Faust though gets to keep his soul due to a technicality of the deal, he is satisfied by the moment but doesn't claim to be satisfied instead just wanting the moment to last forever. Faust then enters Heaven.
3.3.2009 1:57pm
LN (mail):
BobDoyle writes:

Does this comport with the letter or spirit of the comment policy?


Gee, what do you think Bob? A left-winger self-consciously uses a term generally used only by facetious right-wingers attempting to summarize how dumb left-wingers attempt to insult right-wing politicians... actually I'm genuinely curious, who do you think is being insulted?
3.3.2009 1:57pm
Dave N (mail):
Since the liberals on this blog are being so helpful to the Republicans by suggesting Rush Limbaugh is the problem, I'll return the favor and note that the netroots, particularly the disingenous folks at Kos and moveon.org, are a problem the Democratic Party has, and will have to face at some point.
3.3.2009 2:00pm
Constantin:
Smallholder, I'm flattered by all the attention. The problem with what you're writing, though, is that my very first post (the very first comment here) explicitly compared Limbaugh with the Left's web leaders, not their radio or TV personalities. You've asked for a lefty "talking head" with as much influence as Limbaugh. I'd argue Kos has more, and, per my first comment, as a conservative I'd like Limbaugh's chances in a policy debate between the two.

As for your hysterics-laden quiz, I won't bother answering the questions and then throwing analogous questions right back at you. Not worth the time for either one of us.
3.3.2009 2:01pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
anon21:

Rush is helping Obama these days


This key point is being greatly overlooked. Andrew cited Frum. Here's more of what Frum said:

President Obama and Rush Limbaugh do not agree on much, but they share at least one thing: Both wish to see Rush anointed as the leader of the Republican party. …


Another conservative, Dreher, said this:

The head of the Republican Party apologized to a talk radio host for uttering a mild criticism of him. … If I'm Barack Obama, I'm opening a bottle of Champagne in the Oval Office tonight with Rahm Emanuel and toasting to Rush's long life.


It's interesting to notice how many people are failing to notice that Rush is acting in the best of interests of Rush, and against the best interests of the GOP. Rush is indeed now the de facto head of the GOP, and this is great news for Democrats.

================
keypusher:

Reagan was a big-government conservative


Indeed. He tripled the national debt, and he raised taxes repeatedly.

================
gray:

they are also getting a 30-50% tax hike


How does raising the top marginal rate from 35% to 39.6% (or, more accurately, letting it return to that rate) translate into a "a 30-50% tax hike?" You seem to be using some special GOP arithmetic.

================
constantin:

they might not want to go down the "history of drug dependency" road when comparing Limbaugh to Barack.


There is no evidence that Obama ever used more than small amounts of pot and coke.

we've not exactly got a full accounting from Barack on the extent of his youthful indisretion


I think three dozen interviews is a reasonably "full accounting:"

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.


By the way, Palin has admitted using pot. Where's her "full accounting?"

Limbaugh was addicted to pain pills because he was in pain.


The problem is not that Limbaugh is a drug addict. The problem is that Limbaugh mocked and condemned drug addicts (and made no exception for people who did it because they were "in pain"). Then later we find out he's a drug addict. In other words, one more in a long line of typical GOP hypocrites. Do as I say, not as I do.

================
ison:

How does small government address the needs of the poor? By saying that they CHOOSE to be poor?


According to Bush, yes. He said "people are poor because they're lazy."

================
duncan:

You mean the tiny, insignificant, spending of the corrupt Republican congress, don't you. They hardly ever broke a Trillion...


Under Bush, the national debt grew 86%, an increase of about $5 trillion. 77% ($8 trillion) of our national debt was accumulated under three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush. Under Reagan, the national debt almost tripled. The debt is now 11 times higher than it was when Reagan took over. Cheney told us "deficits don't matter."

Those numbers are not "tiny" and "insignificant." As I said: the GOP credo is 'do as I say, not as I do.'
3.3.2009 2:02pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Angus,

Democrats: We share 70% of the same ideas, so let's work together on that 70% and agree to disagree on the other 30%.

Republicans: You disagree with us 30% of the time, that makes you an enemy of the people, we hate you, and you must be publicly humiliated and purged from the party!

You think so? I doubt that the Republican leadership in Congress is behaving like this just now — at least, if they are, they're even bigger idiots than I thought they were.

But the general rule is that it's easy to get labeled "right-wing": You have to be wrong on any one of a gazillion points, and it doesn't matter what else you think. This is how Glenn Reynolds and Pat Buchanan are both "right-wingers," despite disagreeing on, well, pretty much everything. Being "liberal" is harder, because you generally have to nail every issue.
3.3.2009 2:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
[smallholder is awesome.]
3.3.2009 2:21pm
Constantin:
The problem is not that Limbaugh is a drug addict. The problem is that Limbaugh mocked and condemned drug addicts (and made no exception for people who did it because they were "in pain"). Then later we find out he's a drug addict. In other words, one more in a long line of typical GOP hypocrites. Do as I say, not as I do.

When is Barack commuting the sentences of everyone imprisoned for cocaine possession? I'm sure Smallholder will consider this comparison off-limits and childish, but I'll prospectively disagree.
3.3.2009 2:23pm
PersonFromPorlock:
It ought to be noted, in passing, that both the Republican and Democratic parties have 'died' and returned to life so many times since the Goldwater rout that both are over-qualified for zombies.

Hmm....
3.3.2009 2:24pm
rick.felt:
The problem is that Limbaugh mocked and condemned drug addicts (and made no exception for people who did it because they were "in pain").

When did this happen? I'm not necessarily disputing that he ever mocked drug abusers, but this does seem like one of those things that everyone assumes is correct about Limbaugh without proof. It's like when someone talks about "Limbaugh's rants." No one who listens to Limbaugh would ever think that he spends time "ranting" about anything.
3.3.2009 2:27pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
The talk radio people are mostly insufferable. Especially O'Reilly who virtually never says anything insightful. He rants about oil companies not lowering gasoline prices when the price of oil drops not realizing the problem lies at the retail level. Retail prices are almost always sticky down. Note that O'Reilly is now off the radio because of bad ratings.

In my opinion, the only one who is entertaining is Michael Savage, who to his credit, was rough on Bush. While he gets the big picture right, he's pretty bad on details. But make no mistake about it, he's in it for the money. There are a lot of angry people out there and he makes a good buck providing a cathartic. He's also willing to take on the gay Mafia, which few others are willing to do.
3.3.2009 2:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
Jon roland:" But too many people don't want to believe that their dreams are unattainable, and will go on doing things that don't work in the hopes of getting a better outcome."

Uh, Jon? we aren't talking about heroic measures. We are talking about basic health care. In 2007, 18% of the country does not have health insurance. Taht figure has surely climbed, especially with all the layoffs recently.

Is it really too much to dream of having basic health care coverage? Or are you conceding that health care is just something for the lucky few, and to hell with the rest?
3.3.2009 2:32pm
rick.felt:
Rush is indeed now the de facto head of the GOP, and this is great news for Democrats.

Be careful what you wish for...

The 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was largely Limbaugh-led. The Democrats have doubtless learned some tricks since them, but Limbaugh beat them once and he could beat them again.

Anyway, if the de facto head of the GOP is Rush Limbaugh, that means that the de jure head of the Democrats, the United States, and the free world is... someone who feels the need to argue with a talk show host.

Quick question for any Democrats who think it's "great news for the Democrats" that Obama is arguing with Limbaugh: would you have thought that it was "great news for the Republicans" if Bush starting picking fights with Markos whassisname?
3.3.2009 2:34pm
road2serfdom:
From link above:
"Tsurumi—now a professor of international business at Baruch College in the City University of New York—said he remembers the future president as scoring in the bottom 10 percent of students in the class."

I did not think professors were supposed to talk about a student's grades without permission? I wonder of such an unethical professor might also lie? He seems to have a pretty good 'memory' of a lot of conversations with 1 of his 80 students in a class decades ago. Alough being lazy certailny can lead to poverty, not sure why that is considered controversial.
3.3.2009 2:35pm
hawkins:

When is Barack commuting the sentences of everyone imprisoned for cocaine possession? I'm sure Smallholder will consider this comparison off-limits and childish, but I'll prospectively disagree.


This is the best you can do? What an awful analogy. By your standard, we could never have a president who had previously broken the law.
3.3.2009 2:36pm
Angus:
It's like when someone talks about "Limbaugh's rants." No one who listens to Limbaugh would ever think that he spends time "ranting" about anything.
I used to listen to Rush's show at least once a week for more than a decade. Just about all of his shticks qualified as ranting.
3.3.2009 2:37pm
road2serfdom:
Randy R,

You seem to be conflating the terms "health insurance" and "health care".
3.3.2009 2:40pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Randy R.,

OT, but I'm curious: When the likes of WalMart set up clinics where the uninsured can get medical advice and on-the-spot basic treatment for a smallish fee, rather than bringing their colds, abcesses, cuts, whatever to the emergency room, is your first reaction gratitude or outrage?
3.3.2009 2:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Zarkov: "He's also willing to take on the gay Mafia, which few others are willing to do."

Yes, because we are so powerful, we get anything that we want. That's why gay marriage is forced on everyone in every state in the union. And I love how he 'takes us on' primarily by calling us fags and getting angry. Oh, boy, that's really gonna put us in our place!

Thanks, Zarkov, for proving the point of many commentators here about the inanity of talk radio. Good job, whipping up hysteria about gays destroying America.

MY point about talk radio,and especially blowhards like O'Reilly, is that they are entertaining because they whip up anger and discontent. They are the heirs of Howard Beale, who shouted, "I'm angry as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"

People like O'Reilly aren't interested in discussion or analysis; they are primarily movitated by putdowns. They want to get a guy who scammed the judicial system to get on the air, and then figureatively beat him up. Why? Because it makes us feel good. They want the guy who advocates something really bizarre or silly, make him defend his position, then hammer him home on his idiocy.

There is a certain cathartic sense when you see the 'perp walk'. You think, 'good, they got the bastards.' So O'Reilly takes it a step further and puts on people he thinks are idiots, and yells at them and tries to show them as idiots, and you think, 'good, he got that bastard.'

People like Limbaugh and Savage don't even have the courage to put people on their show. They just attack from the sidelines. Apparently, it works, because people still think, 'good, they nailed those bastards,' when they tune in.
3.3.2009 2:42pm
road2serfdom:
"By your standard, we could never have a president who had previously broken the law."

Not true. It is just that most or all presidents would be hypocrites.
3.3.2009 2:42pm
hawkins:

When the likes of WalMart set up clinics where the uninsured can get medical advice and on-the-spot basic treatment for a smallish fee, rather than bringing their colds, abcesses, cuts, whatever to the emergency room, is your first reaction gratitude or outrage?


Outrage?
3.3.2009 2:43pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
hawkins,

Why?
3.3.2009 2:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
"You seem to be conflating the terms "health insurance" and "health care".

I believe it was Jon who was confused. If he was merely making the point that unlimited health care is unattainable, then I would certianly agree. however, no one that I know of has ever argued for unlimited health care costs. When we debate the debacle that is health care, it is about the high costs, and those high costs are pushing people into bankruptsy, and preventing them access to even minimal care if they can't afford basic coverage.


Michelle: "When the likes of WalMart set up clinics where the uninsured can get medical advice and on-the-spot basic treatment for a smallish fee, rather than bringing their colds, abcesses, cuts, whatever to the emergency room, is your first reaction gratitude or outrage?"

Neither. I'm happy that people can get basic care for a reasonable fee, so certainly no outrage. Gratitude? Only if Walmart were doing this as a charity, which I don't believe they are. If they can provide basic care at a cheaper price, then more power to them, and I'll cheer on their rising stock price.
3.3.2009 2:49pm
hawkins:

hawkins,

Why?


I have no idea how someone could be outraged by Walmart providing cheap health care.
3.3.2009 2:49pm
Randy R. (mail):
Hawkins:"I have no idea how someone could be outraged by Walmart providing cheap health care."

Neither do I. And if you were thinking that you could speak for me, you are wrong. Got it?
3.3.2009 2:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
The problem is that Limbaugh mocked and condemned drug addicts (and made no exception for people who did it because they were "in pain").


When did this happen? I'm not necessarily disputing that he ever mocked drug abusers, but this does seem like one of those things that everyone assumes is correct about Limbaugh without proof.


I don't think he did it either but I'm willing to be corrected if the poster can provide a cite. Barring that, a retraction would also be acceptable.
3.3.2009 2:54pm
Dave_M_USU (mail):
I think it's valuable in a discussion of the virtues of talk radio to distinguish between the likes of Sean Hannity, who adopts the Republican Party platform to promote the party and then refuse to acknowledge or discuss political shortcomings of individuals in the party, and Rush Limbaugh, who adopts the Republican Party platform because it most closely resembles his own political views and then is quick to point out when the party diverges from those views. For the purposes of the claims of this article, I would say that Sean Hannity does have the effect of "dumbing down" the conservative base, whereas Rush has the effect of encouraging discussion of the issues.
3.3.2009 2:57pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Randy R.,

But if you say that 18% of Americans are "without health care," you are confusing "health care" and "health insurance." The indigent uninsured have health care — sucky, overpriced, last-minute health care, yes, but if you're desperately ill or hurt, you are not going to go untreated for lack of money. Meanwhile, the problem of healthy young people not buying insurance because they don't feel they need it is big enough that most serious plans for universal coverage resort to forcing them to buy it.

OK, you needn't be grateful to WalMart for improving the lot of the uninsured to its own profit. Are you pleased, though? Shouldn't you be? I assure you that a lot of people aren't.
3.3.2009 2:59pm
Alchemist:

...it seems very difficult to find a progressive with a sense of humor.


Two words: John Stewart

(ok; I'll add others;Stephen Colbert, the onion, Lewis Black, Tina Fey, etc).

Maybe you and I don't just agree on what constitutes 'funny'. On the other hand I've heard very few 'conservative comedians'. Shows such as Fox's 'Red Eye' has been dying the death of no ratings for months now. There's lots of 'redkneck' humor, but I don't think Larry's gig is political.


Rush is very funny and a tremendously talented radio presenter; but as a thinker he is a total hack--


See I never heard Rush say anything that was funny. He taunts like a school bully. Rush is incredibly smart, but he is not clever, which is why all of his 'jokes' are the adult equivalent of 'poopy-face', and it gets old quick.
3.3.2009 2:59pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
When the likes of WalMart set up clinics where the uninsured can get medical advice and on-the-spot basic treatment for a smallish fee, rather than bringing their colds, abcesses, cuts, whatever to the emergency room, is your first reaction gratitude or outrage?
I'm not sure I feel gratitude towards Wal-mart in general, given their other sins, but such a clinic is a great idea. It isn't really an answer to America's health needs, though, until there's a plan for the conversation with the uninsured customer that starts, "I'm afraid this is malignant," that doesn't involve buying a discounted version of Willmaker in the software aisle.
3.3.2009 3:00pm
Putting Two and Two...:

But for some reason this doctor is a "dullard" and a wild-eyed leftist. Why?


Because the likes of Dear Entertainer have replaced criticism with ridicule.

It fits the bit|commercial|bit|commercial format better.
3.3.2009 3:03pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Randy R.

"Thanks, Zarkov, for proving the point of many commentators here about the inanity of talk radio. Good job, whipping up hysteria about gays destroying America."

I guess the phrase "gay Mafia" set you off, although it doesn't take much. Despite your protests to the contrary, gays do constitute a highly influential pressure group. Otherwise we would not have propositions, court cases, "don't ask don't tell" presidential directives etc.
3.3.2009 3:08pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Derbyshire obviously does not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity or he would know that they are pretty faithful Reagan conservatives rather than GOP cheerleaders like Fred Barnes.

Hannity is one of the most ardent hagiographers of Reagan around, amongst those that want to slap Reagan's name on anything that doesn't move (and one or two things that do), as if naming something after Reagan actually does anything to prove the validity of his policies and politics. Revisionism is in order here (much as it is amongst some of the more ardent Dubya adherents), pretending that Reagan's record is exemplary of anything we should applaud (see, e.g., Beirut, "arms [to Iran] for hostages", covert wars (and war crimes) in Latin America, support for dictators around the world, the Iran-Contra illegalities, and doubling the national debt).

Now that "conservatism" has blown up in spectacular fashion, showing its bankruptcy (even literally, in grand fashion, the Republican party is trying to pretend that its ideals were subverted by the Dubya maladministration and corrupted from the "true and proper 'real' conservatism" by Dubya (and, tellingly, his coterie of Nixon/Reagan retreads). Nonsense, of course, not to mention that the present rewriters of history are all the very same people that insisted, when Dubya was flying high (so to speak), that Dubya was the Second Coming of Sir Ronnie and applauding him every step of the way (from tax cuts to the military excesses to deregulation to illegal wars anonanon....). But in bad times ... under the bus with Dubya, and let's not speak his name any more.

And now people like Limbaugh and the even-more-dishonest Hannity (both full-throated defenders of Dubya's "Republicanism" back when) are the champions of the Republican party ... a party intellectually bankrupt and bereft of any ideas other than loud hollering and obstructionism.

That's the score, folks, no matter what RW talk show gasbags try to con you with. But most of us sapient people know this. And Robert Altemeyer has the number of the ones that don't.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:10pm
hawkins:

Neither do I. And if you were thinking that you could speak for me, you are wrong. Got it?


A little sensitive here, arent we? I wasnt presuming to "speak for you." I was pointing out the ridiculousness of the "outrage" option -- it was directed at the person asking the question.
3.3.2009 3:10pm
loki13 (mail):
Thorley,

I guess it depends on your definition of "mock". I think it is well-known that Rush had a different standard for other people using drugs illegally than he had for himself. It takes about (oh) two seconds with the google to find numerous examples, but here's one:

There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods, which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.

What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.

...We are becoming too tolerant as a society, folks, especially of crime, in too many parts of the country.... This country certainly appears to be tolerant, forgive and forget. I mean, you know as well as I do, you go out and commit the worst murder in the world and you just say you're sorry, people go, "Oh, OK. A little contrition."... People say, "I feel better. He said he's sorry for it." We're becoming too tolerant, folks.


Anyway, none of this is very relevant. Should it be shocking that any public figure does things in their personal lives that, for political reasons, they're required to speak out against? I think the correct response is not to deny the existence of Rush's inconsistencies, but rather respond with a hearty, "So what?"
3.3.2009 3:11pm
keypusher64 (mail):
Bart

You can find a chart showing US government spending as a percentage of GDP between 1980 and 2008 here.

Spending as a percentage of GDP went up during the first Reagan term when GDP was stalled out during the recession and Reagan poured money into winning the Cold War. Once the Cold War was won and the economy took off, US government spending as a percentage of GDP was smaller when Reagan left office than what it was when he came into office - a first in modern history.


That's great, Bart. I guess shrinking the government doesn't actually mean making it smaller, but just having it consume a smaller percentage of GDP...eying your chart and using your criteria, it looks like Bill Clinton is a much superior government-shrinker to Ronald Reagan. How about that?

It probably says a lot about our species that people prefer "victory" to truth even in anonymous internet debates. Derbyshire is no doubt chuckling somewhere about that.
3.3.2009 3:14pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Bart:
If conservative talk radio was actually leading the conservative movement into the political wilderness, the left would be cheering it on rather than seeking to censor it through a renewed "Fairness Doctrine."
Bart needs to get out more. We're pretty much all saying "put on some popcorn; this is fun!", and encouraging the ascendency of the likes of Limbaugh, Palin, and Joe the Plumber as the 'intellectual' roots of the Republican party. And he needs to listen to his Hannity dose with a grain of salt; no one's calling for a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. That's just today's "flouride in the water!" dog-whistle..... ;-)

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:14pm
Putting Two and Two...:

Do as I say, not as I do.


I can't bear to listen to Rush, but I'm curious, does he talk about drug-related issues anymore?
3.3.2009 3:15pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracomm:
The left owns the mainstream media...
... such as Murdoch, ClearChannel, GE, Scaife, etc.....

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:18pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Derbyshire advocates a race based anti-immigration policy. That is more damaging to conservatism than any talker, though far too many talkers share his obsession.

As for Limbaugh being the de facto head of the GOP, it is probably not the best idea for the GOP since his general reputation with the overall population is shaky but does anyone really think that it will make the difference in 2010 or 2012. As Clinton use to say, it's the economy* stupid. It's not personalities that will determine the success of the GOP in the near future, its events.

If the economy does not turn around by November 2010, in January 2011 the new speaker of the House or new Senate majority leader will be the de facto head of the GOP. Its not 1934 anymore, we don't give our leaders as much rope.


*[and Afganistan to a lesser extent]
3.3.2009 3:19pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
hawkins,

Sorry to have provoked Randy into jumping on you like that!

Seriously, though, there are people who are furious about the proliferation of fee-for-service, for-profit clinics. I wasn't able to find the (anti-) article that was the first I'd heard of the development, but there's this one from a year ago (URL too long to paste here w/o line breaks, I think):

http://www.examiner.com/a-1206209~Dr__David_Gratzer__
Health_care_innovation__and_its_enemies.html

The rationale, as the mayor of Baltimore is quoted as saying, is that "allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong." I gather that allowing individual doctors and nurses, or wholesale suppliers of medical equipment, to "make money off of sick people" remains OK.
3.3.2009 3:21pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Bart:
Low brow?

This epithet further demonstrated that Derbyshire and many here have no real idea who listens to conservative talk radio (or TV). The most knowledgeable media audiences according to repeated Pew studies are consumers of Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Colbert, Daily Show, The News Hour and NPR.
One out of five ain't bad (Limbaugh being the only talk show foamer here).

And then there's the fact that TDS/Colbert, NewsHour, readers of major newspaper websites, and listeners of NPR all come out ahead of Limbots on knowledge. FauxSnooze channel (home of Hannity) comes in second to last, beating only those that get their news from the network morning shows. ;-)

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:29pm
hawkins:
Michelle - Thanks for the link. I agree that its absurd.
3.3.2009 3:30pm
zuch (mail) (www):
The Langsetmo Revised Dictionary of Contemporary Political Argument definition of:

"straw man" (n):
[geokstr]: And get rid of "supply side" economics (especially the left's caricature of what that is)? Why don't we just nationalize everything and get it over with, eh?
Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:32pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
COnstantin wrote:


As for your hysterics-laden quiz, I won't bother answering the questions and then throwing analogous questions right back at you. Not worth the time for either one of us.


I suspect the real reason you won't answer is because you'd choose the attack every time - you even want to throw analagous questions back.

That is the problem.

Intentionally or not, you're making my point.

And I'll answer for you: I'd choose "c," - condemn the pecadillos of both sides. And then I'd work to make my side better. The problem you are so aptly demonstrating is the bunker mentality where all fire must be directed out and no internal criticism is tolerated.

Dude, I'm not a liberal - if anything I'm a Libertarian or a Bull Mooser (not that those exist anymore). But I recognize that the world is a messy place that can't be distilled into a five word slogan. I WANT the Republican party to recover - I certainly don't want the Dems in the Senate to be filibuster proof. They are very close because the Republican Party has gone off the rails and you and Rush want to "stay the course."

You also wrote:

When is Barack commuting the sentences of everyone imprisoned for cocaine possession? I'm sure Smallholder will consider this comparison off-limits and childish, but I'll prospectively disagree.

Um, I wasn't party to the whole drug debate - I don't find it very enlightening. Perhaps you think I was involved because I got under your skin? Dude, my goal is not to wrangle one-upsmanship with you. I want to convince as many Republicans as possible to get their stuff together so they don't take another drubbing in 2010 (see the Senate above).

But since you asked, I don't think that your analogy is apt. Rush and the Conservatives have made zero tolerance a major theme - but then Rush gets a pass. Democrats are much more inclined to treat the causes of drug addiction than to only focus on punitive measures. Plus, in your demands for full accounting, you are simply parroting the amnesiac Rush ditto-heads who wanted to know all about Obama's admitted drug use but were willing to give Bush a pass when he refused to answer questions. It reminds me of how draft dodging was awful in 1992 and 1996, but suddenly avoiding real service was perfectly okay in 2000.

See, most people are willing to say either:

a) Clinton and Cheney were both tools for using academic deferments and Bush was a tool for using family connections to get a Guard sinecure.

or

b) No one should be blamed for legally avoiding a war they didn't support.

The ditto-head choice is to condemn Clinton and give Bush and Cheney a pass - the inconsistency never occurs to them. Real people value consistency - which is why the Republican brand has suffered so mightily as of late - it is s not that Demcorats' ideas have become more attractive - it is that Democrats have moved to the middle and the Republicans ideas have become repugnant for their hypocrisy.

Let me say it again: I'm not trying to score partisan points here. I'm trying to help. Please pull out of the "us vs. them" mentality and see that consistency and moderation can actually help the idea of small government and individual freedom.
3.3.2009 3:35pm
zuch (mail) (www):
PersonFromPorlock:
Nuts to that. Liberalism is primarily about compulsion. As I've said elsewhere, it's the old Puritan itch to march the sinners to virtue at bayonet's point.
Sorry, the CRW is your tar baby.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:37pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
A paraphrase of several comments:

"The Daily Kos and Netroots are as influential in Democratic thought as Rush is on Republican thought."

Really?

Really?

No, really?


I just don't see it. I can name at least half a dozen blindly partisan Republican talking heads and can only think of one blindly partisan Democrat talking head - The Ragin' Cajun. It's not that the Daily Kos and Netroots don't aspire to that level of influence. It's that they aren't that good as entertainers.
3.3.2009 3:37pm
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Sarcastro wrote:


Smallholder is awesome.


Um, thanks, I think. But with a name like Sarcastro, perhaps you are being sarcastic. Heh.
3.3.2009 3:39pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Constantin:
Limbaugh was addicted to pain pills because he was in pain.
Come off it. You're really not that ignorant of addiction, are you? It wasn't the pain that kept him taking (more and more) drugs, it was the high. He was in such great pain from his back that he was out on the friggin' golf course. Not to mention, while I have some compassion for those who do end up addicted to painkillers (unlike myself, who had the remains of my only bottle of Vicodin for over a year after my surgery), what I really hate is the damn hypocrites that spew about how drug abuser ought to be locked up while abusing drugs themselves.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 3:48pm
Constantin:
Perhaps you think I was involved because I got under your skin?

Smallholder, let us compare who has spent more words on the other's thoughts, and then conclude who is under whose skin.

Until then, I'll close by submitting that your thesis is that conservatives spend too much time criticising liberals rather than owning up to their own shortcomings, rather than possessing your level-headed pragmatism and fair-mindedness. For support, you've spent a few thousand words, maybe, hysterically criticizing every strawman and stereotype related to American conservatives.

That's a fascinating level of cognitive dissonance. I have no doubt that Sarcastro truly finds you awesome.
3.3.2009 3:49pm
c.gray (mail):

How does raising the top marginal rate from 35% to 39.6% (or, more accurately, letting it return to that rate) translate into a "a 30-50% tax hike?" You seem to be using some special GOP arithmetic.


It doesn't. That's just a ~13% marginal increase. If I had trusted Obama to only go that far, I'd have voted for him myself.

But when you throw in slashing the tax credit value of itemized deductions by 30%, then lift the income cap on social security "contributions", and add a hefty increase in the capital gains tax, the effective tax increase _really_ starts to add up. All these ideas were presaged in Obama's campaign rhetoric, and actually proposed by the White House this week,

So yes, marginal 30-50% tax hike, depending on where ones income comes from and how many deductions one has. Unless, of course, you're using some kind of strange, "Progressive" arithmetic. Or, more likely, don't bother with actual math at all.
3.3.2009 3:52pm
Suzy (mail):

"The Left" doesn't have these guys, MSNBC has these guys. Just as Fox News et al have the other guys. The media hire and fire according to ratings.


Sure, "The Right" doesn't "have" Limbaugh either, but apparently the Republican party leadership has to kiss his ring. I don't see any similar parallel on the left. Sure, Limbaugh's audience gives him a power that's useful, but it's also driving away a lot of voters in the middle who are turned off by his message. If he speaks for the Republicans these days, it's not a good sign.

Several years ago, I would hear Limbaugh's show at work all day, courtesy of my co-workers. Granted, it has been a long time since I listened to him regularly, but at that time "Rant" would have been a polite way to describe his style. Has it changed a lot since then?
3.3.2009 3:52pm
Allan Walstad (mail):
It does seem to be the case, as has been mentioned earlier, that conservative Republicans are more apt to turn on members of their own party for siding with Dems on some issues than Dems are in analogous cases of Dem officeholders siding with conservatives. This may be because conservatives see themselves as trying to hold the line against ongoing government expansion, whereas left-liberal Dems feel the tide is more in their favor, so they can tolerate straying on some issues in order to push the ball forward on others. Where things are going the other way, though, the Dems can be pretty nasty to their own--witness all the flak over the appointment of Hillary Clinton's successor, who was rated highly by the NRA.
3.3.2009 3:54pm
glangston (mail):
Rush would attempt to dumb down the left but that's impossible.
3.3.2009 3:58pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Bart, as he commonly does, links to a page that shows the opposite of what he thinks:
[keypusher64]: Bart, I hate to break it to you, but Reagan was a big-government conservative too. Or perhaps you could show how he shrunk the government while he was in office?

Hardly.

You can find a chart showing US government spending as a percentage of GDP between 1980 and 2008 here.
Ummmm... The highest rates were under the Reagan/Bush I years. The only sustained drop came during the Clinton administration, and since Dubya came in office, it's been going up, up, up..... Thanks for the -- uhhh, "lesson" -- Bart.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 4:01pm
Alex84:
I disagree, Rush types keep the base together. Ask an average joe (or better yet, joe the plumber) in middle america if he listens to Rush and/or agrees with him, you will get a lot of "yes" answers.

"I hate them stinkin commis" rhetoric works - unfortunately
3.3.2009 4:03pm
David Larsomn (mail):
Right, and the dumbing-down of the American left has been so devastating to THEIR electoral fortunes. It has become quite obvious that ONLY by dumbing-down the message to the lowest-common denominator ("Obama's going to fill my gas tank. He's going to pay my mortgage") does a party have any hope of gaining/retaining power in this country, tragically enough....
3.3.2009 4:09pm
rick.felt:
loki13:

I assume that's the best you can do as far as showing that Limbaugh is a hypocrite regarding prescription drug abuse. You concede that there's no mockery. That's a good start. You should also recognize that Limbaugh was talking not about those who become hooked on prescription painkillers that they start taking to manage pain.
3.3.2009 4:19pm
Dave!:
Pish-posh. As if "fiscal prudence" has been on the table in the last 8 years! Puh-lease.
3.3.2009 4:21pm
DCP:
Suzy:

Sure, Limbaugh's audience gives him a power that's useful, but it's also driving away a lot of voters in the middle who are turned off by his message. If he speaks for the Republicans these days, it's not a good sign.


Why are people talking about Rush Limbaugh like he's some odd political caricature who just emerged from the swamp in the past month. This is Rush Limbaugh. He has been the dominant voice in radio broadcasting for over 20 years now. And to whatever extent you want to correlate his on-air popularity with that of the Republican Party, I don't think it's been a terrible 20 years for them either. Both are licking their wounds at this moment, but suspect they will be back with a vengeance...if history is any indicator in such matters.

Political, philosophical and social movements don't exactly suffer the quick demises that we see with fashion trends and music.

Some of these comments remind me of Conan O'Brien's last show, which aired recently. His old sidekick, Andy Richter, who left after two or three seasons, made a return appearance (after 12 years of absence, and before Conan takes over for Leno) and joked "see, I told them this show would never last without me".
3.3.2009 4:35pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Smallholder:

When Sarcastro puts his comments in brackets, as he did referencing you, he is signaling that he is being sincere and not sarcastic in his comment. So take it as a compliment.
3.3.2009 4:43pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
A Zarkov:


Conservatives are for the most part not action oriented. They like to write letters, call in to talk radio and whine a lot about big government. On the other hand, the left can get their shock troops into the public arena. They go on petition drives, shout down speakers, hold demonstrations, picket the houses of CEOs, and if necessary rough people up.


Do you think the left's shock troop tactics helped Obama in 2008? At best it was a wash because the MSM covered up their activities. I think if more swing voters knew what the left was doing to suppress Republican voting as well as the ACORN-stuff, Obama would not have won due to disgust with the Democrats.
3.3.2009 4:44pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Joseph Slater - Sarcastro is a left wing troll. Has he ever mocked leftist talking points or ideology? He doesn't deserve any respect.
3.3.2009 4:47pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Well, the Dems are sure enjoying this. Robert Gibbs, today at a press conference:

I was a little surprised at the speed in which Mr. Steele, the head of the RNC, apologized to the head of the Republican Party.
3.3.2009 4:49pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
EIDE-Interface:

Sarcastro is one of the best things going on this blog.
3.3.2009 4:49pm
SeaDrive:

The 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was largely Limbaugh-led.


Did you get that tidbit straight from Newt?
3.3.2009 4:53pm
Desiderius:
Savage is a demagogue who cares little for party (or anything else save his pocketbook, for that matter), Hannity a one-shot wonder (the novelty of a 9/11 conservative New Yorker having long since worn thin), and Ingraham a nice enough small-time player.

Rush is the only real game in town, and Rush thrives in opposition. As such, his interests are in direct opposition to the Republican Party, and in some tension with the conservative movement itself (that movement likely being best served by spending at least the majority of the time in power). That party and movement would do well to keep this fact in mind.

That said, he has the popularity he does due the the utter dominance of the left among the cultural elite. The left isn't even a majority there, but all the rest are relatively apolitical careerists or greater good types like myself. The left has successfully purged those who directly oppose them. Would-be conservative intellectuals might better spend their time rectifying this situation than wasting time knocking down Limbaugh.
3.3.2009 4:54pm
Brian Garst (www):
<blockquote>
Right now, the GOP is in desperate need of a makeover -- it desperately needs to get rid of "supply side" as an economic philosophy, and knee-jerk opposition to social programs, and concentrate on "fiscal responsibility" -- demanding "paygo" that includes tax increases when Democrats insist on funding social programs. (In other words, the GOP's stance should be "we oppose these programs on principle, but will allow them to pass as long as their supporters vote for tax increases to pay for them.)
</blockquote>


Another leftist offers us conservatives "honest" advice about how we need to move to the left. Been there, done that. Becoming another party of socialists won't help the GOP. We tried that already. Offering a real alternative to massive new domestic welfare programs and runaway government is the solution to returning to power, not the problem.
3.3.2009 4:59pm
Brian Garst (www):
Rush is the only real game in town, and Rush thrives in opposition. As such, his interests are in direct opposition to the Republican Party, and in some tension with the conservative movement itself (that movement likely being best served by spending at least the majority of the time in power). That party and movement would do well to keep this fact in mind.


This is a bit of liberal conventional wisdom that has never been support by fact. How much money did Rush make under Bush, again? His program has grown steadily under both parties.
3.3.2009 5:01pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Nate Silver has a very interesting analysis here, arguing that the point of Gibbs, etc. encouraging the Rush issue is to help Obama with moderate Republican Senators.

Also, Desiderius is exactly right in saying: Rush thrives in opposition. As such, his interests are in direct opposition to the Republican Party, and in some tension with the conservative movement itself
3.3.2009 5:04pm
Some Dude:

Is Talk Radio Bad for the Right?


Why is this even a question anymore? Rush admitted he was full of crap during the Bush years as the Republican water-carrier.
3.3.2009 5:05pm
Michael B (mail):
Derbyshire, plumbing the depths of White House talking points and misdirection, and in an atmosphere where the beatific was vouchsafed to us by an enamored MSM, yet we're on the receiving end of this and this, perhaps this as well, given two or three indicators of note, merely six weeks into this admin.

If it weren't for gnostic knowers and chin pullers such as the Derbyshires of the world, where would we, the unwashed, be?
3.3.2009 5:13pm
dr:
When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks.

--Rush Limbaugh radio show (quoted in the L.A. Times, 8/20/95)

When you strip it all away, Rush Limbaugh destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Right here on this blog! Your priorities are out of whack, folks.
3.3.2009 5:19pm
Angus:
At best it was a wash because the MSM covered up their activities. I think if more swing voters knew what the left was doing to suppress Republican voting as well as the ACORN-stuff, Obama would not have won due to disgust with the Democrats.
Talk radio feeds the whole "ACORN" national domination conspiracy theory, the only problem with which is the total lack of evidence for it. Which of course is proof that it exists!
3.3.2009 5:21pm
Derrick (mail):
Talk radio feeds the whole "ACORN" national domination conspiracy theory, the only problem with which is the total lack of evidence for it. Which of course is proof that it exists!


The whole "ACORN" meme always brings a good chuckle!
3.3.2009 5:29pm
Seattle Law Student (mail):
Joke/

What's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?

....One of them is a flaming nazi gasbag, and the other one was an airship. [rimshot]

/joke

the debate on this thread has deteriorated, so an injection of good old fashioned humor seemed appropos
3.3.2009 5:29pm
Anon1111:

Michael Ejercito said:


Except that we have quotes from members of Congress publicly stating support for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.


Michael, please read this:


The Senate voted Wednesday[,] [February 25, 2009,] to bar federal regulators from reimposing a policy, abandoned two decades ago, that required balanced coverage of issues on public airwaves. The pre-emptive strike against the so-called Fairness Doctrine has been actively pushed by conservative radio talk show hosts who have warned that Democrats would seek to revive the policy to ensure that liberal opinions get equal time.

The 87-11 vote added the measure as an amendment to a bill giving District of Columbia residents a vote in the Houses.


Perhaps you should have read all the way to the end of the AP article you quote, where it says:

"...the Senate approved by 57-41 a parallel amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., restating existing law that federal regulators would work to promote diversity in media ownership and that the DeMint provision would not take away FCC authority to ensure that broadcasters meet their obligations to operate in the public interest.

It's easy to vote against the Fairness Doctrine when you impose it under a different name.
3.3.2009 5:38pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

The "Culture of Corruption" mantra coming from them won't work any more, as there is 2X or more corruption on that side of the isle as compared to the Republicans, and that is becoming obvious to the American people, as more and more of the elites running this country turned out to have cheated on their taxes, accepted bribes for political favors, etc.

The culture of corruption on the D side became apparent with Eliot Spitzer.


covert wars (and war crimes) in Latin America

What were these war crimes?


Right, and the dumbing-down of the American left has been so devastating to THEIR electoral fortunes. It has become quite obvious that ONLY by dumbing-down the message to the lowest-common denominator ("Obama's going to fill my gas tank. He's going to pay my mortgage") does a party have any hope of gaining/retaining power in this country, tragically enough....

This is true.

Bill Levinson at IsraPundit makes a point of using images in propoganda.
But when you throw in slashing the tax credit value of itemized deductions by 30%, then lift the income cap on social security "contributions", and add a hefty increase in the capital gains tax, the effective tax increase _really_ starts to add up. All these ideas were presaged in Obama's campaign rhetoric, and actually proposed by the White House this week,

Do not forget the carbon taxes Obama is proposing.
It reminds me of how draft dodging was awful in 1992 and 1996, but suddenly avoiding real service was perfectly okay in 2000.

Draft dodging refers to using covert, illegal means to avoid military service.

I have not criticized Richard Gephardt for serving in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, and I can not recall anyone on the right who did or who called Gephardt a draft dodger.
3.3.2009 5:41pm
Nick056:
The way a lot of netroots sites are set up allows for more facts, more careful argumentation, and more dialogue than talk radio. In general. That's not to say the netroots have a sterling record. Bob Somerby, a liberal and Gore defender, does a wonderful job pointing out the occassional excess and dumbness in the liberal netroots. But -- in general -- the blog and commentary format is more conducive to informed debate than the talk radio format, regardless of idealogy. You can watch that in play on the VC itself sometimes.

I'm not sure about this, but I think this distinction may explain why there are fewer people who reflexively defend the big names on the netroots in their every utterance -- people like Kos, Atrios, Digby, JM Marshmall, and Hilzoy. These people have created sites that serve more as communities and townhalls, of which they're the leader; Rush, Hannity et all are I believe indisputably more focused on themselves than Matt Yglesias or Josh Marshall or even Kos focus on themselves. I think most of them would avoid quite the kind of spotlight Rush seeks, and they are criticized on their own websites far more than the talkers are criticized on their own show.

I'm thinking aloud, here. And there are counter examples. But this may go towards explaining why the netroots don't risk ossifying debate the same way talk radio can ossify debate.

Oh, and then there's Franken, liberal talk radio guy who, when he wanted more influence, up and ran for Congress. But Rush doesn't need to leave the mic to get more influence. Telling, perhaps. Not to mention, let me know when Barack Obama has to apologize to a netroots founder for a criticism. Watching the Republicans apologize serially for speaking against Rush is ... Well, all I'll say is, nothing like it is going on with the Dems.

Party leaders apologizing to a talk show host?
3.3.2009 5:44pm
Mike Keenan:
Very surprised to see a post about Rush with >200 comments be so relatively tame. Enjoyed the Walmart discussion above.

Is picking a fight with Rush really the hope and change we need?
3.3.2009 5:47pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Angus,

OT nattering:

Talk radio feeds the whole "ACORN" national domination conspiracy theory, the only problem with which is the total lack of evidence for it. Which of course is proof that it exists!

Yep, I wouldn't give ACORN that much credit. That said, why, in the frantic search for shovel- (or anyway warm-body-) ready projects did no one think of trying to make the voter rolls sorta-kinda up to date — purged of dead people, people who have moved to other states, and the like? God knows it needs doing — and it's the sort of project that anyone in need of work could participate in, with a little training, whereas retrofitting bridges and the like takes, at minimum, rather more training and a certain amount of physical strength.

For that matter, shouldn't we have used the need to spend a lot of money immediately to clean up the Social Security database? Whenever someone proposes requiring an E-Verify match for hiring, we're told that the Social Security database is full of errors. But, quite apart from the issue of telling citizens from noncitizens, oughtn't we to be alarmed at being told that the Social Security database is full of errors? Or are we supposed to assume that, mysteriously, none of these errors will prevent anyone entitled to SS benefits from getting all his/her checks, on time, in the right amount, sent to the right address? If the thing is actually riddled with mistakes, shouldn't we be, um, trying to fix it? Before too many people don't get the money they're due? I we're desperate for problems to throw money at pronto, that would seem to be a good one.

/OT nattering
3.3.2009 5:57pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Michael B. asks, If it weren't for gnostic knowers and chin pullers such as the Derbyshires of the world, where would we, the unwashed, be?

If by "unwashed" you mean "real Republicans" or "real conservatives" or some such, let's see. I guess you could be in a world where the Republicans have lost two straight elections fairly badly, where the Dems not only have the Presidency and the House but also will soon be one Senate vote away from a filibuster-proof majority (and thus where conservatives need to rely on all three of Specter, Snowe, and Collins), where polls show double-digit leads for Dems in party affiliation nationally, where polls show much greater approval ratings for Congressional Dems than Congressional Repubs, where the Republican presidential candidate has lost the popular vote to the Democratic Presidential candidate in four of the past five elections. . . .

I could go on, but obviously, if that all were the case, then maybe some introspection would be in order. So yeah, gosh, what could Derbyshire be thinking?
3.3.2009 5:59pm
Randy R. (mail):
Zarkov: "I guess the phrase "gay Mafia" set you off, although it doesn't take much. Despite your protests to the contrary, gays do constitute a highly influential pressure group. Otherwise we would not have propositions, court cases, "don't ask don't tell" presidential directives etc."

There are plenty of other 'pressure groups' in America, like the blacks, jews, disabled, senior citizens and so on. When you refer to them as the Black Mafia, or the Jewish Mafia, then I won't assume you are singling out gays for special approbriation. But usually, labeling a group a "mafia" is a pergorative, don't you agree?

My apologies Hawkins -- the question from Michelle was directed specifically at me, and I should have realized that of course anyone can answer it regardless. And sure, I'm cheering on Walmart for their cheap clinics, assuming they have real doctors and abide by all the same rules any other clinic does. If they make money off it, so what? That's capitalism.
3.3.2009 6:15pm
Fub:
MCM wrote at 3.3.2009 1:35pm:
Begging the question, isn't it? Oprah succeeded because of high ratings, but why did she have high ratings? Why did Rush on TV have low ratings?
That question is secondary to the simple point I was describing: broadcasters pay talent based on ratings, not ideology. Low ratings, no hire. Why various talent had low ratings in various media markets is interesting, but secondary to that point.
3.3.2009 6:24pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Anon1111:
Perhaps you should have read all the way to the end of the AP article you quote, where it says:

"...the Senate approved by 57-41 a parallel amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., restating existing law that federal regulators would work to promote diversity in media ownership and that the DeMint provision would not take away FCC authority to ensure that broadcasters meet their obligations to operate in the public interest.

It's easy to vote against the Fairness Doctrine when you impose it under a different name.


What's the problem with ensuring that a public "commons" be in the public interest? FWIW, this cuts both ways; the CRW used to troll radio stations searching for any admission of Carlin's Top Seven, and screech at license renewal time should any such be found (I worked 3 years at one station, and the GM said that managers would report a spate of letters coming in, "I was riding with my son in the car and flippng through the radio dial when...", all boilerplate complaints, and you know they were assigning people to monitor stations just waiting for the first hint of profanity, ready to put that in the file for license renewal time ... hope they enjoyed the shows; I for one put on Leon Rosselson's "Stand Up For Judas" one day and a fellow DJ called and said I ought to expect a few letters on that).

As for equating the Fairness Doctrine with diversity of ownership of different stations, this is simply ignorant.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 6:30pm
PersonFromPorlock:
zuch:

Sorry, the CRW is your tar baby.

I have no brief for the Christian Right Wing (I assume that's who you mean). But do you really think it's a coincidence that the formerly most Puritan state, Massachusetts, is now the most Liberal?

Yes, the Christian Right is an heir to the Puritans, but not the only one. The crimes of 'blasphemy' and 'hate speech' are sisters under the skin.
3.3.2009 6:31pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Randy R.

"There are plenty of other 'pressure groups' in America, like the blacks, jews, disabled, senior citizens and so on. When you refer to them as the Black Mafia, or the Jewish Mafia, then I won't assume you are singling out gays for special approbriation. But usually, labeling a group a "mafia" is a pergorative, don't you agree?"

I actually used that term because that's the way Savage talks about the gay pressure groups. Had I expressed myself more carefully I might have used quotes and something like "what Savage calls." In any case I think you are overly sensitive. I know lots of gay people and the term "Mafia" does not upset them in the slightest. People call me all sorts of names and it doesn't bother me a bit.
3.3.2009 6:33pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Michael Ejercito:
[Arne]: ... covert wars (and war crimes) in Latin America ...

What were these war crimes?
Mining the harbor in Nicaragua, for one. But there's tons of other "dirty" actions that were done there, including terrorizing civilians, rape, murder, disappearances, condoned and abetted by the Reagan administration (not to mention support for Pinochet's regime).

Cheers,
3.3.2009 6:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
constantin:

When is Barack commuting the sentences of everyone imprisoned for cocaine possession?


If he was standing on a soapbox right now defending the WOD, you would have a point. But he's not. On the contrary.

And I guess your point is that Bush and Cheney are hypocrites because they didn't commute "the sentences of everyone imprisoned" for DUI. After all, they were both arrested for DUI.

==================
felt:

When did this happen [Limbaugh mocked and condemned drug addicts]? … this does seem like one of those things that everyone assumes is correct about Limbaugh without proof


See here and here. One more example:

we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. ... And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up


These statements are not hard to find.

You concede that there's no mockery.


I don't concede that there's no mockery. The word means "to treat with ridicule or contempt; deride." Many of his statements qualify.

Limbaugh was talking not about those who become hooked on prescription painkillers that they start taking to manage pain.


He was talking about people who used drugs illegally. He used drugs illegally. I don't recall him ever saying 'but it's OK if you have a medical excuse.'

if the de facto head of the GOP is Rush Limbaugh, that means that the de jure head of the Democrats, the United States, and the free world is... someone who feels the need to argue with a talk show host.


It's not that Obama "feels the need to argue with a talk show host." It's that Obama sees the advantage in helping Rush meet his goal: be seen as the leader of the GOP. Dreher and Frum are both smart conservatives, and they understand this. If you don't, I think you're in denial.

would you have thought that it was "great news for the Republicans" if Bush starting picking fights with Markos whassisname?


If Democratic leaders were groveling to Markos, even though he had low approval ratings among non-Democrats, yes. Bush would have been giving Markos a bigger platform to make those leaders look weak and irrelevant. Which is how Steele looks like right now.

You can wish that the situation is symmetrical, but it's not.

==================
serf:

I did not think professors were supposed to talk about a student's grades without permission?


Bush himself brags about being a C student. So it's hard to figure that it's a secret when Bush treats it as a non-secret.

I wonder of such an unethical professor might also lie?


Bush has a track record of making statements that turned out to be false. Tsurumi does not. But I realize you're inclined to smear him even though you have no evidence that he deserves to be smeared.

He seems to have a pretty good 'memory' of a lot of conversations with 1 of his 80 students in a class decades ago.


There's nothing surprising about being able to remember if the son of a famous person made a surprising and remarkable statement, and then you had occasion to recall that remark over the years as the son became more and more famous himself.

Alough being lazy certailny can lead to poverty, not sure why that is considered controversial.


If you don't think what Bush said is controversial, then it's hard to understand why you're suggesting that Tsurumi made it up.

==================
zuch:

pretending that Reagan's record is exemplary of anything we should applaud (see, e.g., … doubling the national debt).


Correction: Saint Ronnie tripled the national debt.

==================
loki:

Should it be shocking that any public figure does things in their personal lives that, for political reasons, they're required to speak out against?


I don't think Rush was "required" to slam drug users. I think he did it to make a buck.

==================
bart:

US government spending as a percentage of GDP was smaller when Reagan left office


Why does the government need to grow just because GDP grows? If the government's main job is to defend me, does it need bigger guns because I put an addition on my house?

==================
putting:

I can't bear to listen to Rush, but I'm curious, does he talk about drug-related issues anymore?


I don't really know. My guess is that he generally avoids it like the plague, now that he's been outed.

==================
gray:

So yes, marginal 30-50% tax hike, depending on where ones income comes from and how many deductions one has.


Prove it.

And I think you think no one notices the subtle way you backpedaled. Before you said this:

But they are also getting a 30-50% tax hike and a permanent doubling of the structural federal budget deficit. They hadn't really counted on that.


The word "marginal" makes a big difference. You didn't use it before. You're using it now. Why?

==================
eide:

what the left was doing to suppress Republican voting


Please show evidence of "what the left was doing to suppress Republican voting."

==================
dude:

Rush admitted he was full of crap during the Bush years as the Republican water-carrier.


Exactly. Surprising that this hasn't been mentioned yet. Here:

On the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed to "feel liberated" by Democratic victories in the House and Senate on November 7 because he is "no longer going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried."


==================
michael:

gnostic knowers and chin pullers


When you're ready to take a break from pulling your chin, maybe you'll finally explain your long track record of promoting misinformation.

==================
anon1111:

It's easy to vote against the Fairness Doctrine when you impose it under a different name.


The text you cited was about existing law, not about imposing something new.

==================
ejercito:

Draft dodging refers to using covert, illegal means to avoid military service.


What's the proper word to describe how Dick Cheney avoided the draft by using his dick?
3.3.2009 6:41pm
Michael B (mail):
jukebox_sneer_and_metasneer,

Boo.
3.3.2009 6:47pm
zuch (mail) (www):
PersonFromPorlock:
I have no brief for the Christian Right Wing (I assume that's who you mean). But do you really think it's a coincidence that the formerly most Puritan state, Massachusetts, is now the most Liberal?
Care to tell me how many Puritans you can find in Massachusetts nowadays? Then Unitarianism (in the U.S.) started there in New England too. Then there's Pilgrims, Shakers, Quakers, Calvinists, Baptists, Anabaptists, etc. Yes, I think that Massachusetts' Puritan heritage has little to do with current Massachusetts politics (except perhaps as a dim reflection of the backlash against the "Great Awakening").
Yes, the Christian Right is an heir to the Puritans, but not the only one. The crimes of 'blasphemy' and 'hate speech' are sisters under the skin.
Blasphemy is hardly the most prominent concern of the CRW when they go about making stuff illegal. And by far the least successful one (which also applies to "hate speech").

Cheers,
3.3.2009 6:54pm
Bart (mail):
keypusher64:

Bart You can find a chart showing US government spending as a percentage of GDP between 1980 and 2008 here.

Spending as a percentage of GDP went up during the first Reagan term when GDP was stalled out during the recession and Reagan poured money into winning the Cold War. Once the Cold War was won and the economy took off, US government spending as a percentage of GDP was smaller when Reagan left office than what it was when he came into office - a first in modern history.

kp: That's great, Bart. I guess shrinking the government doesn't actually mean making it smaller, but just having it consume a smaller percentage of GDP

That is correct. So long as the government is taking a smaller percentage of our income, it is getting smaller.

...eying your chart and using your criteria, it looks like Bill Clinton is a much superior government-shrinker to Ronald Reagan. How about that?

Clinton was an unprincipled power seeker who would blow with the political wins to stay popular, and political winds starting in 1994 definitely shifted right. As a result, Clinton and Gingrich completed the fiscal and trade Reagan Revolution between 1995 and 2000.

I was fairly hopeful about the Obama Administration when he nominated a series of Clinton retreads for his economic team. But apparently, without Gingrich as a check, they reverted to form borrowing and spending with abandon.
3.3.2009 7:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bart:

So long as the government is taking a smaller percentage of our income, it is getting smaller.


Really? In year 1 my income was $100, and the government took 10%. So the size of the government was $10. In year 2, my income was $150, and the government took 8%. So the size of the government in year 2 was $12.

In year 2, "the government is taking a smaller percentage" of my income. But if the size of the government is going from $10 to $12, how does that mean "it is getting smaller?"

I obviously need an education in GOP math.
3.3.2009 7:33pm
rick.felt:
If Democratic leaders were groveling to Markos, even though he had low approval ratings among non-Democrats, yes. Bush would have been giving Markos a bigger platform to make those leaders look weak and irrelevant. Which is how Steele looks like right now.

They were groveling. Plenty of prominent Dems showed up at YearlyKos. And the moonbats aren't exactly loved outside their circles.

You can wish that the situation is symmetrical, but it's not.

You can wish that the situation were not symmetrical, but it is.

See, I can play this game too. Yee haw.
3.3.2009 7:34pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
felt:

They were groveling. Plenty of prominent Dems showed up at YearlyKos.


Showing up at an event is not "groveling."

In the last few days, three different Republican politicians made comments critical of Rush, and then quickly apologized to Rush for making those comments. Please show a single example of any D politician ever apologizing to Markos, for anything.

By the way, DLC chair Harold Ford made remarks critical of what WSJ called "the far left," and this definitely did not result in Ford apologizing to anyone. It led to several healthy debates, literally.

Can you imagine Steele and Limbaugh working out their differences in the form of an open, public debate? Limbaugh never debates anyone he can't instantly silence via a mute button. So that's the last thing that's ever likely to happen.

If you're not able to learn anything from this very big difference between how the two parties operate, that's your problem.

the moonbats aren't exactly loved outside their circles.


Are you sure? The candidate of "the moonbats" just kicked your ass in a landslide.
3.3.2009 7:58pm
RPT (mail):
rick.felt:

Showing up at a netroots convention during campaign season is not quite the same as personal and coerced worldwide apology. There really is no comparison.

The term "moonbat" is one of those pejorative slang terms which, like the "n word" and other ethnic slurs in an earlier era, and "MSM" and "Democrat Party" today, has no purpose other than to show derision and disqualifies the user from civil discourse. You can vehemently disagree but still show respect.
3.3.2009 8:05pm
LN (mail):

Clinton was an unprincipled power seeker who would blow with the political wins to stay popular, and political winds starting in 1994 definitely shifted right. As a result, Clinton and Gingrich completed the fiscal and trade Reagan Revolution between 1995 and 2000.


So Reagan and the Bushes occupied the White House for 20 years between 1980 and 2008, but the "Reagan Revolution" achieved all of its success when Clinton was President, because that's when the political winds were really shifting to the right.

How does one even argue with that?
3.3.2009 8:19pm
Anon1111:
Zuch said:



What's the problem with ensuring that a public "commons" be in the public interest? FWIW, this cuts both ways; the CRW used to troll radio stations searching for any admission of Carlin's Top Seven, and screech at license renewal time should any such be found (I worked 3 years at one station, and the GM said that managers would report a spate of letters coming in, "I was riding with my son in the car and flippng through the radio dial when...", all boilerplate complaints, and you know they were assigning people to monitor stations just waiting for the first hint of profanity, ready to put that in the file for license renewal time ... hope they enjoyed the shows; I for one put on Leon Rosselson's "Stand Up For Judas" one day and a fellow DJ called and said I ought to expect a few letters on that).

As for equating the Fairness Doctrine with diversity of ownership of different stations, this is simply ignorant.

Cheers,



What does regulation of obscenity have to do with the Democrats imposing the fairness doctrine through the back door? Because the FCC regulates obscenity it therefore is ok to regulate political speech? I'm not even sure how to make out your point.

Let me recap in short form:

1. Conservative above says that the Democrats want to re- institute the fairness doctrine.
2. Liberal says no, that's not true.
3. Conservative says we have them on record as saying they want to do just that.
4. Liberal says senate just voted 87 - 11 against re-instituting the fairness doctrine.
5. I say, big deal, they also voted to ensure that not re-instituting the fairness doctrine would not strip the FCC of its responsibility to ensure broadcasters operate in the "public interest."
6. You say something I don't get about obscenities on the air, and that I'm ignorant in equating Durbin's amendment with the fairness doctrine.

OK, then, if it is ignorant to believe the following, then I'm ignorant:

A. Dick Durbin has said on multiple occasions that he wants to bring back the fairness doctrine (though he no longer claims that he does - however a cynic and/or realist might think that he abandoned that position out of political expediency, knowing what I lay out below).
B. The Senate votes to do away with the fairness doctrine, but Durbin offers an amendment stating that stations had to still operate in the "public interest", and the FCC could ensure that, even in the absence of the fairness doctrine.
C. Therefore, there must be some relationship between the two amendments.
D. "Public Interest" is a nebulous term that can mean many things to many people.
E. The Center for American Progress wrote a report/paper specifically outlining that:
1. There is a "structural imbalance" in talk radio; read: too many right-wing shows and not enough left-wing shows.
2. The way to fix this is putting ownership limits on local and national stations.
F. The fairness doctrine overcame its 1st amendment hurdles based on "public interest" arguments.
G. The Democrats have a majority of the FCC commissioners. The majority of the non-political regulators are left of center.
I. Regulators interpret nebulous and non-specific regulatory language in line with their own views.

So, when lefties explicitly state that you can shut down/cub right wing radio by limiting station ownership and a Senator who used to publicly support the fairness doctrine gives the FCC the ability to use nebulous regulatory language to limit ownership, is it really that ignorant to say that Durbin's amendment is a way to backdoor a version of the fairness doctrine, in fact if not in name?

OK, so I'm ignorant.

Cheers!
3.3.2009 8:23pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

What's the proper word to describe how Dick Cheney avoided the draft by using his dick?

Who cares if he served in Vietnam, aside from some leftist loons?

I never criticized Richard Gephardt for refusing to serve in Vietnam. (You can look up the archives in Google Groups to confirm it.)
But there's tons of other "dirty" actions that were done there, including terrorizing civilians, rape, murder, disappearances, condoned and abetted by the Reagan administration (not to mention support for Pinochet's regime).

Any proof American troops were involved?
3.3.2009 8:24pm
Anon1111:

Are you sure? The candidate of "the moonbats" just kicked your ass in a landslide.


Only by pretending not to be just that. He did a fine job of it too. Must give credit where credit is due.

Er, and aren't we defining landslide down a bit? If Obama's win was a landslide, then there isn't much room left between "landslide" and "squeaker" for "comfortable margin of victory" or even "solid win."

Now I shall sit back and await the patented jbg fisking, along with several score of cites to carefully selected references found through the prodigious use of google or some other search engine found among the various internets.
3.3.2009 8:32pm
zuch (mail) (www):
LN:
So Reagan and the Bushes occupied the White House for 20 years between 1980 and 2008, but the "Reagan Revolution" achieved all of its success when Clinton was President, because that's when the political winds were really shifting to the right.

How does one even argue with that?
You don't. Believe me, I've tried, and it just doesn't work. It's the unassailable Republican Logic™.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 8:32pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):
Here is a link to my Usenet post where I wrote about National Guard service during the Vietnam War.

> I have read many postings, not to mention numerous so-called "news" stories,
> discussing the possibility of GWB having avoided active duty military service
> by serving in the national guard. Seems the liberals love to run this
one into
> the ground, with the implication being that GWB used his father's stroke to
> avoid Viet Nam.
>
> Well, being the nosy SOB that I am, I decided to do a little snooping of my
> own, and guess what???? Glory be, but it seems that both John Conyers (D-MI)
> and Dick Gephardt (D-MO) did THEIR time in the national guard. And you know
> what else? They were in the NG during the Viet Nam war! I wonder...
>
> Nah, must be pure coincidence.
>
> MF Ogilvie
Well,all three of them served in a capacity acceptable to the Pentagon.
None of them used fraud to avoid military service or to get into the
Guard.


Michael
3.3.2009 8:37pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Anon1111:
What does regulation of obscenity have to do with the Democrats imposing the fairness doctrine through the back door? Because the FCC regulates obscenity it therefore is ok to regulate political speech? I'm not even sure how to make out your point.
It is you hat equated the Fairness Doctrine with "public interest". I was pointing out one of the things that actually do enter into considerations of "public interest" (in the form of listener comments and complaints WRT station programming, which have been used to attempt to deny stations license renewal, for that purported reason). Just explaining how things work. One other thing you'll see (as we did extensively, seeing as we were a non-commercial station) is the airing of "public service" spots such as community announcements, and information as to public services and programs. Being in the "public interest", these show good stewardship of the public trust grated through the broadcast license. Did you really think that stations air the "Just Say No!" stuff [mainly in the hours of 12AM-6AM for some strange reason] simply out of the goodness of their hearts?
Let me recap in short form:

1. Conservative above says that the Democrats want to re- institute the fairness doctrine.
2. Liberal says no, that's not true.
3. Conservative says we have them on record as saying they want to do just that.
4. Liberal says senate just voted 87 - 11 against re-instituting the fairness doctrine.
End of discussion, I'd say. But....
5. I say, big deal, they also voted to ensure that not re-instituting the fairness doctrine would not strip the FCC of its responsibility to ensure broadcasters operate in the "public interest."
6. You say something I don't get about obscenities on the air, and that I'm ignorant in equating Durbin's amendment with the fairness doctrine.

OK, then, if it is ignorant to believe the following, then I'm ignorant:
No. I said you were ignorant in equating "diversity of ownership" among stations with the requirements of the Fairness Doctrine. I don't sugggest you were ignorant about "public interest" (although that may explain your comment). It is possible you just didn't understand what I was saying, and that led to your confusion. If so, I apologise, and hope I've cleared it up. I'd note also the comment by another poster above to the effect that the substantive law is not changed by reaffirming the principles suggested.
A. Dick Durbin has said on multiple occasions that he wants to bring back the fairness doctrine (though he no longer claims that he does - however a cynic and/or realist might think that he abandoned that position out of political expediency, knowing what I lay out below).
B. The Senate votes to do away with the fairness doctrine, but Durbin offers an amendment stating that stations had to still operate in the "public interest", and the FCC could ensure that, even in the absence of the fairness doctrine.
C. Therefore, there must be some relationship between the two amendments.
Perhaps. Or it might mean that Durbin is satisfied (or willing to let it slide) if his concerns are addressed by that reaffirmation.
D. "Public Interest" is a nebulous term that can mean many things to many people.
This is true. I've tried to point out some of the ways it works out in practise.
E. The Center for American Progress wrote a report/paper specifically outlining that:
1. There is a "structural imbalance" in talk radio; read: too many right-wing shows and not enough left-wing shows.
2. The way to fix this is putting ownership limits on local and national stations.
This does indeed further the aims of getting multiple POVs expressed. But it hardly requires anyone to give up their own airtime to viewpoints that they do not agree with (which is [at least for some] the gravamen of the complain concerning the unfairness of the Fairness Doctrine).
F. The fairness doctrine overcame its 1st amendment hurdles based on "public interest" arguments.
No, it succeeded (as well as it did) because the "public commons" can be subject to rules; rules based on rational basis gummint interests, such as diversity of viewpoint. No one is forced to be a broadcaster. When they do, they are subject to many rules for various reasons. Another rule is that broadcasters have to make campaign commercials available to all on a non-preferential basis, and that broadcasters cannot control or regulate the content of such. This resulted in Barry Commoner (IIRC) running a commercial that started out with an emphatic "Bullsh*t!"; something that would otherwise have piqued the interest of the FCC, but in this case was mandated instead.
G. The Democrats have a majority of the FCC commissioners. The majority of the non-political regulators are left of center.
I. Regulators interpret nebulous and non-specific regulatory language in line with their own views.
Nonsense and balderdash. Two of the five are currently Democratic. There is currently one Republican. There are two vacancies because two Republicans stepped down in January of this year, and they haven't been filled yet by Obama. Only three of the five can be members of the same political party, in part to keep a partisan bunch from riding roughshod over what ought to be politically neutral regulation.
So, when lefties explicitly state that you can shut down/cub right wing radio by limiting station ownership and a Senator who used to publicly support the fairness doctrine gives the FCC the ability to use nebulous regulatory language to limit ownership, is it really that ignorant to say that Durbin's amendment is a way to backdoor a version of the fairness doctrine, in fact if not in name?
Yes.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 9:10pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Michael Ejercito:
[Arne]But there's tons of other "dirty" actions that were done there, including terrorizing civilians, rape, murder, disappearances, condoned and abetted by the Reagan administration (not to mention support for Pinochet's regime).

Any proof American troops were involved?
The School of the Americas. One of the course materials was the reworked Phoenix stuff, telling our "friends" how to torture people correctly.

And then there was the CIA, U.S. officers all, who were in the "dirty" stuff up to their eyeballs. See, e.g., Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow, or Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 9:16pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Zuch is too polite to point out that he is responding to a commenter who simply doesn't know what the Fairness Doctrine is (or was) and is regurgitating the latest talking points. It must be so hard to live, as American conservatives try to, in a state of constant paranoiac panic.

I do want to mention that the roots of the Fairness Doctrine are also related to the government's natural regulation of broadcast frequencies, which, before we had cable TV (much less podcasts, the Web, etc.) meant that there were, for technical reasons, only a few licenses available in any community. Now we have at most one newspaper and a zillion radio/TV/web stations. When the FD started, it was the other way around.
3.3.2009 9:18pm
Duracomm:
Replying to my statement that "The left owns the mainstream media" zuch said

... such as Murdoch, ClearChannel, GE, Scaife, etc.....
Obviously I missed the fact that GE owned NBC host Chris "Obama sends a thrill in my leg" Mathews and Keith Obermann were right wingers.

Thanks for updating me on that fact.
3.3.2009 9:48pm
Duracomm:
Left wing:

MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek.

Right wing:

Fox news, Washington Times, US news, most talk radio and ??

Note that fox news is cable only and fox and talk radios audience is swamped by audience for the broadcast networks.

From this Zuch's conclusion is right wingers rule the media.
3.3.2009 10:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zuch:

"dirty" actions that were done … by the Reagan administration


You forgot to mention how Reagan and Rummy assisted Saddam with lots of useful goodies, like cluster bombs, anthrax, bubonic plague and deadly pesticides (deadly against humans, that is). And of course they did this right around the same time that Saddam was gassing civilians. We were helping a war criminal, but that was OK, because he was our war criminal.

===============
anon1111:

FCC [now has] the ability to use nebulous regulatory language to limit ownership


The FCC has always had the ability to "limit ownership."

Give us a buzz when Obama's stormtroopers are dragging Rush off to the dungeon. As it is, you're making a big fuss about something that hasn't happened.

The candidate of "the moonbats" just kicked your ass in a landslide.

Only by pretending not to be just that.


My head is spinning. This is very confusing. Could you and the rest of the group get together and agree on one narrative? Because lots of people are saying that he netroots are so powerful that D leaders have been "groveling" to them. And that Markos is just as powerful as Rush. But that can't be true if Obama was able to win while dissing them. So which is it?

More specifically: Obama appeared at YearlyKos. According to felt, that means Obama was "groveling" to Markos. How is the idea that he was "groveling" at YearlyKos compatible with the idea that he was pretending to be something other than the candidate of "the moonbats?"

aren't we defining landslide down a bit?


My mistake. I actually meant to use the word "mandate." Because Cheney and others used that word in 2004, when Bush won a much narrower victory. Bush's victory margin in 2004 was 2.4%. Obama's victory margin was 6.8%.

Obama winning 52.7% as a non-incumbent is a very strong performance. Since FDR, Bush I and Ike are the only candidates who managed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent). All the following failed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent): Bush II, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, JFK, and Truman. And Bush II failed to beat that number even when running as an incumbent (unlike FDR, Ike, LBJ, Nixon, and Reagan).

So "the moonbats" might be more numerous and popular than some people would like to think.

===============
ejercito:

Who cares if he [cheney] served in Vietnam


I do. A man who dodged combat should be in much less of a hurry to push other men into combat.

it seems that both John Conyers (D-MI) and Dick Gephardt (D-MO) did THEIR time in the national guard


Let me know when they vote for an unnecessary war.

The problem is not that Bush served stateside while less privileged men came home in a box. The problem is that Bush dodged combat and then was in a big hurry to send other men into combat, for not very good reasons.

===============
duracomm:

Obviously I missed the fact that GE owned NBC host Chris "Obama sends a thrill in my leg" Mathews and Keith Obermann were right wingers.


Obviously you forgot about the way Matthews drooled when he saw Dubya in a flight suit. Matthews is a bipartisan drooler.

By the way, Murdoch employed Alan Colmes. So what? There is such a thing as tokenism.

Something else you obviously missed is the way Judith Miller shilled for Bush.
3.3.2009 10:04pm
Sarcastro (www):
I would like to apologize preemptively to Rush Limbaugh for anything I may do or say that offends Him in the future, or has offended Him in the past.

I was inarticulate, speaking without thinking, and wasn't even speaking about him anyway. I'm sure we can all come together now concentrate on what's important - not letting Obama try any of his ideas at all.

Please don't smite me with your Microphone of Power!
3.3.2009 10:25pm
LN (mail):

I missed the fact that GE owned NBC host Chris "Obama sends a thrill in my leg" Mathews


Do you remember how outraged you were when Matthews was masturbating to the sight of Bush in a flightsuit? "He won the war," Matthews said. "Look at this guy! Look at this guy!"

What's that, you don't remember?

Chris Matthews is a stupid twit:


What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?
3.3.2009 10:25pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracom:
Obviously I missed the fact that GE owned NBC host Chris "Obama sends a thrill in my leg" Mathews and Keith Obermann were right wingers.
I'd note that I responded to your original claim (conveniently snipped):
[Duracomm]: "The left owns the mainstream media..."
But FWIW, Tweety was likewise enamoured of Dubya's manly codpiece in the carrier photo-op. Tweety's simply a twit. And then there's NBC's canning of Phil Donahue while Donahue was the most popular host on MSNBC.,,,,

Cheers,
3.3.2009 10:26pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracomm:
Left wing:

MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek.

Right wing:

Fox news, Washington Times, US news, most talk radio and ??
... from where you sit. YMMV.

Cheers,
3.3.2009 10:28pm
Anon1111:
zuch:


No. I said you were ignorant in equating "diversity of ownership" among stations with the requirements of the Fairness Doctrine.

Okey dokey then. Liberal groups have outlined how to use diversity of ownership requirements to reduce the number of conservative AM radio shows and increase the number of liberal AM radio talk shows. The fairness doctrine would do basically the same thing.

Therefore, I fail to see how equating diversity of ownership requirements proposed by the very same senator Durbin who has supported the fairness doctrine is ignorant. I would rather suggest that you are either (1) in favor of limiting right-wing AM radio shows, or (2) willfully blind.


I'd note also the comment by another poster above to the effect that the substantive law is not changed by reaffirming the principles suggested.


Even if it does not change the substantive law, it does suggest intent. If substantive law is not changed, why bring it up? To give the FCC the cover or courage to use "public interest" regulation to reproduce the results of the fairness doctrine, i.e.; to shut down right wing radio.

A. Dick Durbin has said on multiple occasions that he wants to bring back the fairness doctrine (though he no longer claims that he does - however a cynic and/or realist might think that he abandoned that position out of political expediency, knowing what I lay out below).
B. The Senate votes to do away with the fairness doctrine, but Durbin offers an amendment stating that stations had to still operate in the "public interest", and the FCC could ensure that, even in the absence of the fairness doctrine.
C. Therefore, there must be some relationship between the two amendments.


Perhaps. Or it might mean that Durbin is satisfied (or willing to let it slide) if his concerns are addressed by that reaffirmation.

OK, if that's what you believe. But Durbin seemed to think they were connected, because his amendment was in specific response to Demint's.

D. "Public Interest" is a nebulous term that can mean many things to many people.

This is true. I've tried to point out some of the ways it works out in practice.

Agreed. My later point is that regulators use nebulous terms to foster their own agenda. That's not a left/right issue, it's a human issue. People interpret inexact things to fit their own worldview.

E. The Center for American Progress wrote a report/paper specifically outlining that:
1. There is a "structural imbalance" in talk radio; read: too many right-wing shows and not enough left-wing shows.
2. The way to fix this is putting ownership limits on local and national stations.


This does indeed further the aims of getting multiple POVs expressed. But it hardly requires anyone to give up their own airtime to viewpoints that they do not agree with (which is [at least for some] the gravamen of the complain concerning the unfairness of the Fairness Doctrine).

Unless the ownership diversity requirements simply result in more AM radio stations going on the air to carry liberal shows, then ownership diversity would indeed reduce conservative views.

In other words, if diversity of ownership puts new shows on the airwaves (the CAP and your view), then those new shows will need airtime to be broadcast. Where is that airtime going to come from? If it comes from reducing the airtime of existing shows, then, indeed, the ownership diversity requirements are approximating the effect the fairness doctrine would have - reducing conservative shows and increasing liberal shows. If, however, the airtime comes from putting new stations on the air, then we must ask why aren't those stations on the air now? I would submit that if liberal AM talk shows were profitable, they would already be on the air without the need for further regulation. Of course, given the dismal track record of such shows (with a couple of notable exceptions, Bill Press, Ed Shultz, and (sort of) Jay Marvin, off the top of my head)

F. The fairness doctrine overcame its 1st amendment hurdles based on "public interest" arguments.

No, it succeeded (as well as it did) because the "public commons" can be subject to rules; rules based on rational basis gummint interests, such as diversity of viewpoint. No one is forced to be a broadcaster. When they do, they are subject to many rules for various reasons.

Huh? We just said the same thing. I said "fairness doctrine was justified on public interest grounds." You said ""public commons" can be subject to rules; rules based on rational basis gummint interests, such as diversity of viewpoint," or in other words, the government finds that it is in the public interest to have diverse viewpoints. Saying that "the fairness doctrine was constitutional because its restrictions on free speech were justified because the government found them to be in the public interest" or "the fairness doctrine was constitutional because the government believed that the inherent restrictions on free speech were rational" is the same thing. If the government did not believe the restrictions were in the public interest, would they be rational? No. You're making a hyper-legal argument that in the real world is a distinction without a difference, especially since you already agreed that we're dealing with nebulous and inexact regulatory language that can mean a whole bunch of different things.


G. The Democrats have a majority of the FCC commissioners. The majority of the non-political regulators are left of center.
I. Regulators interpret nebulous and non-specific regulatory language in line with their own views.

Nonsense and balderdash. Two of the five are currently Democratic. There is currently one Republican. There are two vacancies because two Republicans stepped down in January of this year, and they haven't been filled yet by Obama. Only three of the five can be members of the same political party, in part to keep a partisan bunch from riding roughshod over what ought to be politically neutral regulation.

I said that the Democrats have a majority of the FCC Commissioners. You said "Nonsense and balderdash, they only have two of the three and the right to three of the five." Um, last I checked, two of three and three of five are majorities. I am aware that no more than three of the five of the commissioners can be of one party, but I am also aware that three of five is a majority, and that on a party line vote the Democrats win right now. So how exactly do we come up with Nonsense and Balderdash?

So, when lefties explicitly state that you can shut down/cub right wing radio by limiting station ownership and a Senator who used to publicly support the fairness doctrine gives the FCC the ability to use nebulous regulatory language to limit ownership, is it really that ignorant to say that Durbin's amendment is a way to backdoor a version of the fairness doctrine, in fact if not in name?

Yes.

Cheers,


So, you're saying that the liberals have (1) means (nebulous regulatory language and control of the FCC bureaucracy), (2) motive (shutting down the only conservative dominated media and a demonstrated advocacy of doing that) and (3) opportunity (for the next two years, at least) to interfere with talk radio, but (4) concluding that conservatives should be worried about that happening is ignorant?

We must have different definitions of ignorant.


No one is forced to be a broadcaster. When they do, they are subject to many rules for various reasons.

Yes, and the left wants to impose rules that make it harder for right-wing AM radio to operate. That was the whole point of the argument. Durbin, Shumer, Reid, Pelosi have all supported the fairness doctrine. Durbin introduced and the senate passed legislation that has the capability to mimic the fairness doctrine in that it can easily be used impede right-wing radio. AM talk radio is the _only_ medium of communication in America that conservatives dominate. Liberals have TV and newspapers, conservatives have radio. Why should conservatives believe them (or the liberal posters here) when they say "don't worry, we mean you no harm", when shutting down talk radio as it exists now would be to the political benefit of liberals.

Clearly, our differences are outlined, and I don't see much point continuing this any further. We have no common reference to continue anything productive.
3.3.2009 10:39pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Andrew J. Lazarus,

All the same, there are certainly people who would revive the Fairness Doctrine if they could, yes? Things don't come up for a vote in Congress without someone proposing them.

Yes, the scarcity of slots on the spectrum was the original reason for the FD. But the more recent line turns the old one nearly inside out: It's that now we have so many choices of media that we're all in danger of finding the stations/channels/Web sites congenial to us and blithely bypassing all contrary opinions.

To oversimplify, the old worry was that people would turn on the radio and find nothing but Rush. The new worry is that people will skim through a gazillion choices, decide that they like Rush, and never even check out AirAmerica or NPR.

I'm trying to remember who it was who proposed, some time ago (I'm thinking early- to mid-90s), that there be a virtual equivalent of a public sidewalk that you had to travel before getting to any Web site — a place where there would be a variety of "messages," political or otherwise, that you had to view before you could reach the place you actually wanted to go. It has a Michael Walzer-ish feel to it, but I'm not sure it was his idea.
3.3.2009 10:41pm
Anon1111:
Andrew J. said

Zuch is too polite to point out that he is responding to a commenter who simply doesn't know what the Fairness Doctrine is (or was) and is regurgitating the latest talking points. It must be so hard to live, as American conservatives try to, in a state of constant paranoiac panic.


I assume that was directed at me. Perhaps I missed the posts where I misstated the fairness doctrine? Or, perhaps not, since I never stated what it was. What I base my position on is the practical result of the re-institution of the fairness doctrine, which is that it would effectively shut-down large segments of talk radio. Having to broadcast a contrary view to Rush, as the fairness doctrine would require, would make his show less popular and less profitable. (If it made it more popular and more profitable, he would already be doing it). It would damage his show, take time away from the conservative angle, and give time to the liberal angle.

Prior to the suspension of the fairness doctrine, there was, essentially, no political talk radio. Oh, there were a few folks, like Michael Jackson on the old (real old) KABC, who was semi-political, but he wasn't really partisan in any meaningful way.

So, if you'd like to explain how I'm wrong about the fairness doctrine, please go ahead. But make sure to explain why, if it were re-instituted, it would in no way change the content or amount of conservative talk radio on the AM dial. I'd like to hear it.
3.3.2009 10:50pm
Duracomm:
Zuch said

I'd note that I responded to your original claim (conveniently snipped):

[Duracomm]: "The left owns the mainstream media..."
Conveniently snipped from where? I included my original quote in my reply to you.

Replying to my statement that "The left owns the mainstream media" zuch said
3.3.2009 10:52pm
Desiderius:
"How does one even argue with that?"

Why argue? It's true. Nixon going to China and all that. Although I think that labeling successful efforts to limit government and be fiscally responsible "right" are vaguely obscene (they should properly be labeled "liberal", but that label was already taken at the time by folks concerned about anything but).

As for the "liberal" media, the folks who actually vote (those over 40) still overwhelmingly get their information from traditional sources which are often labeled "liberal" but are in fact wedded to nothing so much as the status quo, though at times more of it.

Given the status of the Boomers presently, that means loads of statism, but there is nothing ultimately "liberal" about that, or even progressive, if that means one who seeks progress. It will take the passing of those Boomers, it seems, to ever get those questions even seriously asked.
3.3.2009 10:53pm
Duracomm:
LN said,
Do you remember how outraged you were when Matthews was masturbating to the sight of Bush in a flightsuit? "He won the war," Matthews said. "Look at this guy! Look at this guy!"
Missed that one. Given the controversy over janet jackson's superbowl garment failure I assumed if matthew's had behaved that way it would have gotten a lot more coverage.
3.3.2009 11:02pm
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):


I do. A man who dodged combat should be in much less of a hurry to push other men into combat.

So he should not have been SecDef?

Let me know when they vote for an unnecessary war.

The problem is not that Bush served stateside while less privileged men came home in a box. The problem is that Bush dodged combat and then was in a big hurry to send other men into combat, for not very good reasons.

Would you write the same about President Clinton?

After all, as Chris Morton pointed out fourteen years ago, he was only "against war" when there was a danger that he might have to go. When he's safe in
DC, it's ok to bomb Iraq, send Rangers to die underarmed in Somalia, and
invade Haiti.


You forgot to mention how Reagan and Rummy assisted Saddam with lots of useful goodies, like cluster bombs, anthrax, bubonic plague and deadly pesticides (deadly against humans, that is). And of course they did this right around the same time that Saddam was gassing civilians. We were helping a war criminal, but that was OK, because he was our war criminal.

FDR assisted the Soviets.

Who was it that did the Katyn Massacre?
3.3.2009 11:07pm
Duracomm:
Zuch,

You got me I'm busted

MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek are all avidly right wing maybe even libertarian sources of information.

Who can forget all of the pro Iraq war movies hollywood has churned out over the years.

All of the anti drug war articles and stories the above sources have done over the years. The never ending stories on how well connected corporations use regulations to drive their smaller competitors out of business.

I'm joking and I assume you were too.
3.3.2009 11:12pm
Anon1111:
jukey-g wrote:


anon1111:

FCC [now has] the ability to use nebulous regulatory language to limit ownership



The FCC has always had the ability to "limit ownership."

Um, I was referring the Durbin amendment, so the "always had" part isn't really that relevant. I'm talking about the current intent of the current congress, the leaders of which have all previously expressed a desire to bring back the fairness doctrine.

Give us a buzz when Obama's stormtroopers are dragging Rush off to the dungeon.

Jukey-g, meet Mr. Strawman. Mr. Strawman, meet jukey-g.

As it is, you're making a big fuss about something that hasn't happened.

You advise to wait until legislation has passed congress and been signed into law before saying anything. Roger that.

The candidate of "the moonbats" just kicked your ass in a landslide.


Only by pretending not to be just that.



My head is spinning. This is very confusing. Could you and the rest of the group get together and agree on one narrative? Because lots of people are saying that he netroots are so powerful that D leaders have been "groveling" to them. And that Markos is just as powerful as Rush. But that can't be true if Obama was able to win while dissing them. So which is it?

More specifically: Obama appeared at YearlyKos. According to felt, that means Obama was "groveling" to Markos. How is the idea that he was "groveling" at YearlyKos compatible with the idea that he was pretending to be something other than the candidate of "the moonbats?"


I'm sorry, I've had the flu recently and missed the monthly meeting of the vast right-wing conspiracy. I hear there was a nice cheese log and a jell-o mold in the shape of the Gipper and the Iron Lady dancing on Lennin's grave.

Um, let's see, Obama tacks to the left in the primary, and then tacks to the center in the general. I think, wait, yeah, I'm pretty sure that this is a fairly common tactic in politics. In fact, it may (though I haven't googled it so I can't give you a cite) have been used successfully before in a presidential race.

Off the top of my head, in the last week, Jim Cramer, David Brooks, and Chris Buckley have all expressed regrets over supporting/voting/not opposing Obama that follow a "oh my, I didn't think he was such a lefty" pattern. I really don't think they'll be the last to do so.

aren't we defining landslide down a bit?



My mistake. I actually meant to use the word "mandate." Because Cheney and others used that word in 2004, when Bush won a much narrower victory. Bush's victory margin in 2004 was 2.4%. Obama's victory margin was 6.8%.

I'm unclear how Bush plays into the current thread, unless it's just reflex on you part, like making jokes about Bill Clinton's wee-wee is for the right wing.

Obama winning 52.7% as a non-incumbent is a very strong performance. Since FDR, Bush I and Ike are the only candidates who managed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent). All the following failed to beat that number (when running as a non-incumbent): Bush II, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, JFK, and Truman. And Bush II failed to beat that number even when running as an incumbent (unlike FDR, Ike, LBJ, Nixon, and Reagan).


This reminds me of an old baseball trivia question:

Q: Who is the only basebal player in MLB history with at least eight consecutive seasons of 38 HR and 100 RBI?

A: Raphael Palmeiro.

Q: Why did I choose eight seasons of 38 HR and 100 RBI as my criteria?

A: Because I wanted the answer to by Raphael Palmeiro


As to your example, Reagan had a 9%+ margin in the popular vote and a 440 electoral vote margin. He, of course, only got 51ish% of the popular vote because another Republican was running as a third party candidate.

Similarly, Bill Clinton had Perot sucking up almost 20% of the vote. I'd lay dollars to doughnuts that absent Perot, Clinton would have pulled 53% of the popular vote.

George Wallace pulled almost 15% vs. Nixon and Humphrey. I wouldn't make a strong statement either way what would have happened if he weren't in it.

So, one could just as easily say that Obama was less impressive than: FDR, Ike, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton and more impressive than: Truman, JFK and Carter. And any moderately tasty piece of cheese is more impressive than Jimmy Carter.


So "the moonbats" might be more numerous and popular than some people would like to think.


Possibly, but not real likely.
3.3.2009 11:26pm
LN (mail):

Why argue? It's true. Nixon going to China and all that. Although I think that labeling successful efforts to limit government and be fiscally responsible "right" are vaguely obscene (they should properly be labeled "liberal", but that label was already taken at the time by folks concerned about anything but).


So the Reagan Revolution culminated with Clinton raising the top marginal rate to 39.6%? Really?

I was actually alive at the time. I don't remember conservatives celebrating Reagan's success when Clinton raised taxes. In fact, I'm pretty sure they said Clinton would ruin the economy with his socialist policies.

Hmm, why does that sound familiar...
3.3.2009 11:28pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracomm:

[Arne]: I'd note that I responded to your original claim (conveniently snipped):

[Duracomm]: "The left owns the mainstream media..."
Conveniently snipped from where? I included my original quote in my reply to you.

So you did. My sincere apologies; the quotation form for prior quotes wasn't in the form I'm used to, and I overlooked it. I added emphasis there. Care to respond? Oh, yeah, you did:You got me I'm busted

MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek are all avidly right wing maybe even libertarian sources of information.


Cheers,
3.3.2009 11:51pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracomm:

[Arne]: I'd note that I responded to your original claim (conveniently snipped):

[Duracomm]: "The left owns the mainstream media..."
Conveniently snipped from where? I included my original quote in my reply to you.

So you did. My sincere apologies; the quotation form for prior quotes wasn't in the form I'm used to, and I overlooked it. I added emphasis there. Care to respond? Oh, yeah, you did:You got me I'm busted

MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek are all avidly right wing maybe even libertarian sources of information.


Cheers,
3.3.2009 11:51pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Ooops. Don't tab, don't tab!!! I'm a moron tonight. What I was going to follow that quote with was: Of course I made such an assertion that "MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Hollywood, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Time, Newsweek are all avidly right wing maybe even libertarian sources of information." You got me, I'm busted.... ;-)

Cheers,
3.3.2009 11:54pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Michael Ejercito:
[JBG]: The problem is not that Bush served stateside while less privileged men came home in a box. The problem is that Bush dodged combat and then was in a big hurry to send other men into combat, for not very good reasons.

[Michael]: Would you write the same about President Clinton?
Every soldier that Clinton sent into combat came back alive.

I'm not happy with all his military actions, but he did take care that we didn't suffer more casualties avenging an attack (by attacking someone who didn't attack) than were killed in the actual attack. You have to give him that.

Cheers,
3.4.2009 12:00am
zuch (mail) (www):
Duracomm:
Who can forget all of the pro Iraq war movies hollywood has churned out over the years.

All of the anti drug war articles and stories the above sources have done over the years. The never ending stories on how well connected corporations use regulations to drive their smaller competitors out of business.
No one is stopping anyone from making movies with whatever message you think should be said ... well, except maybe they won't make any money. If you disagree, there's a business opportunity out there for you ... maybe just the ticket in this sucky economy and job situation.....

Cheers,
3.4.2009 12:04am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejercito:

So he should not have been SecDef?


I think you forgot that the SecDef reports to the Commander-in-Chief.

Would you write the same about President Clinton?


Clinton sent four thousand Americans to die in an unnecessary war? I hadn't heard.

FDR assisted the Soviets.


Are you trying to say that Iran in 1984 posed a threat to us comparable to the threat posed to us by Hitler in 1944? Something else I didn't know.

And if Iran is such a terrible threat, what a darn shame that we have solved one of their biggest problems.

===================
anon:

You advise to wait until legislation has passed congress and been signed into law before saying anything.


I advise that you should say whatever you like, but I'm not going to be terribly concerned until you can demonstrate that someone's rights have been infringed.

I'm unclear how Bush plays into the current thread


felt said "the moonbats aren't exactly loved outside their circle." I'm pointing out that the candidate of "the moonbats" won a victory much stronger than what was called a "mandate" four years ago. Which suggests that felt's claim might be wrong.

He [Reagan], of course, only got 51ish% of the popular vote because another Republican was running as a third party candidate.


Exit polls show that Anderson took more votes from Carter than from Reagan.

I'd lay dollars to doughnuts that absent Perot, Clinton would have pulled 53% of the popular vote.


That's a little bit of a stretch, because it implies Clinton getting a little more than half of the Perot votes.

George Wallace pulled almost 15% vs. Nixon and Humphrey.


I wouldn't say 13.5 is "almost 15."

Even if you make reasonable adjustments for the effect of the third-party in those races, Obama's performance is very impressive.
3.4.2009 12:15am
Michael Ejercito (mail) (www):

(by attacking someone who didn't attack)

So when Clinton ordered Operation Desert Fox, it was in retaliation for Iraq attacking America when ?

Clinton sent four thousand Americans to die in an unnecessary war?

Clinton ordered the invasion of Haiti.

When did Haiti attack America?
3.4.2009 1:34am
Baseballhead (mail):
Q: Who is the only basebal player in MLB history with at least eight consecutive seasons of 38 HR and 100 RBI?

A: Raphael Palmeiro.

Q: Why did I choose eight seasons of 38 HR and 100 RBI as my criteria?

A: Because I wanted the answer to by Raphael Palmeiro


Raphfael Palmeiro. I am compelled to make that correction.
3.4.2009 4:20am
whit:

And any moderately tasty piece of cheese is more impressive than Jimmy Carter.


the cheese WRAPPER is more impressive than jimmy carter.
3.4.2009 5:20am
Desiderius:
LN,

"I was actually alive at the time. I don't remember conservatives celebrating Reagan's success when Clinton raised taxes. In fact, I'm pretty sure they said Clinton would ruin the economy with his socialist policies."

Maybe if you tore your unceasing gaze from conservatives for a minute, you come up with a more interesting perspective. The Clinton/Gingrich/Armey government could have used more intelligent support for all quarters. Unfortunately, like yourself evidently, most were content to act like five-year-olds.
3.4.2009 6:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Clinton ordered the invasion of Haiti.


And that led to the death of 4,000 Americans? Actually, this is the correct number: one.

And when did I say I supported Clinton's Haiti policy? Or when did I say that I supported Clinton? I voted for him this many times: zero.
3.4.2009 9:03am
Crust (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

That's a little bit of a stretch, because it implies Clinton getting a little more than half of the Perot votes.
But that's exactly what exit polls found:

The Voter Research and Surveys poll, a joint project of the four major television networks, found 38 percent of Perot voters would have voted for Clinton and 37 percent would have voted for Bush if Perot had not been on the ballot.

There's this urban legend out there that Perot won the 1992 election for Clinton (I realize you're asserting something much milder than that), but it's just false.
3.4.2009 9:34am
Crust (mail):
Oops, jukeboxgrad, I'm wrong and you're right. At the same link, it says that 6% of Perot voters would have voted for some other third candidate (the balance wouldn't have voted). So according to the exit polls for a race without Perot, Clinton would have gotten 47% (38/(38+37+6)) of the extra votes vs. 46% for Bush. Clinton would have ended up beating Bush 52-46 or so.
3.4.2009 9:44am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

Come on, you're better than that to be making the comment in the manner you did about Cheney's draft deferment.

=====

Some general comments on talk radio. Talk radio is not a liability to the right, any more than other forms of media being bad for the left. Folks should consider listening and reading a wide variety of viewpoints, if only to be better informed on the issues. Being able to think critically and defend one's viewpoints means that people should listen to views that are not in concert with their own. Anyone that is using talk radio as the sole source for news and opinion needs to expand their horizons a bit.
3.4.2009 9:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
crust:

There's this urban legend out there that Perot won the 1992 election for Clinton


You're right, and the urban legend has popped up here a couple of times. And then I've posted the exit poll numbers you're talking about.

Clinton would have gotten a lot of the Perot votes, but probably not quite enough to get him to the level that Obama achieved (52.9%).

==============
fury:

you're better than that to be making the comment in the manner you did about Cheney's draft deferment


At least I didn't say what Cheney said.
3.4.2009 10:05am
Mangina (mail):
As if the effete snob John Derbyshire is an expert regarding American Conservative. for a better perspective read this John Lewis piece from the American Thinker:
http://www.americanthinker.com
3.4.2009 10:11am
Fury:
jukeboxgrad:

"At least I didn't say what Cheney said."

Right, but I was not referring to what Cheney, but what to you said. Just a little disappointed, as you're better than that.
3.4.2009 10:13am
Desiderius:
No more comments first thing in the morning, the typos are reaching an embarrassing level.

If one truly wishes to understand conservatives, see Gran Torino. If you think I'm talking about Kowalski, see it twice. Conservatives love the very imperfect Rush for the same reason the Hmong loved the very imperfect Kowalski - he defends them against those who hate them. I would be pleasantly surprised, however, if Rush turned out to be the man Kowalski proved himself to be in the flick.
3.4.2009 4:24pm

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