Sunday, June 12, 2011

Talk Radio Is Hurting Conservatism

I’m finding myself troubled by talk radio. In particular, I’m stunned at how ignorant and how pointlessly incendiary their coverage of the Republican primary field has been. Not only is talk radio doing a major disservice to the candidates (and by extension the country), but it’s doing an even bigger disservice to its listeners and to the conservative cause.

Here’s the thing. Talk radio is a resource, much like Commentarama, where conservatives and conservative-leaners can collect information that is not generally covered by the MSM. Some of these hosts (like Rush) reach millions of people each day. And if they are doing their jobs right, they will investigate the candidates in the primary and let their readers know what they have discovered. . . the goal, after all, is to promote conservatism. We’re doing that in the 2012 Contender series and we’re not even paid to do it. Nor do we have a staff who can look these things up. Nor do we have the reach to interview the candidates. Thus, if we can do it, there is no reason these radio people can’t do it.

Yet, they aren’t doing it. In the past month, I’ve heard a dozen different talk radio people, and not one of them has done any research into the candidates. Oh, they openly and vehemently opine about who the audience should support, but they have nothing to back that up.

Rush, for example, is pimping Palin, despite his claims of neutrality. Yet, unfortunately, at no point has he ever laid out a single minute of her record or explained her supposed beliefs. Instead, he just calls her a “conservative” without proof, attacks her conservative critics as gullible, somehow personally insecure or lying about being conservatives, and keeps repeating the argument that she must be a good conservative because the left attacks her so much. Yet, that is deeply flawed logic. Do we attack Joe Biden because we fear him? Hardly. We attack him because he’s an easy target because he’s stupid and gaffe prone. Do we attack Pelosi because we think she’s effective? No way. We try to associate the entire left with her because her views and personality are unpalatable to middle America and it helps us disgrace liberalism by claiming that all liberals are like her. The left attacks Palin for the same reasons: she's an easy target and she turns moderates off conservatism. But even putting that aside, my point is that Rush has yet to give a single reason why we should support Palin other than doing the opposite of what the left tells us. Was she a good governor? Did she act according to conservative principles? Does she understand conservative principles? You wouldn't know from Rush.

Some guy who sat in for Laura Ingraham (can't think of his name, don't care either) was pimping Romney because of “his business record.” Yet, he clearly didn’t know what that record was. He also categorically excused every criticism of Romney’s time as governor by saying “well, he was governor of a blue state.” Yet, he calls Pawlenty, who governed like a red-state governor in an equally blue state, a RINO without ever saying why. If anything, these labels are entirely reversed, yet this guy doesn’t know that because he's never actually looked into either candidate. Yet, he's happy to tell his listeners to trust him.

Some guy out of Denver was pimping Trump as a genuine conservative until he dropped out. Now he's jumped on the Christie bandwagon because "man, you saw all you need to know in that youtube video." Ann Coulter too keeps appearing on different shows to pimp Chris Christie and to label him as the only conservative who can keep Romney from getting the nomination. But on what issue does Ann think Christie is a conservative? She's never said. And you’ve seen the report on him, he fails the conservatism test on. . . every. . . single. . . issue. He makes Olympia Snowe look like Barry Goldwater. In fact, he went far left on issues even the Democrats would have expected him to go to the right on -- like appointments. If she had done even five minutes of research, she would have known this. But like Rush, Ann never looks into his record, yet she happily anoints him as the conservative savior.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. These people are out there making these categorical statements: “candidate X is a true conservative and everyone else is a RINO,” and not one of them has any idea what they are talking about.

This is horrible for conservatives and horrible for the Republican Party. If there is a true conservative in the race, these people not only won't find them, they will actively smear them as a RINO just to promote the RINO they think is a true conservative based on nothing more than faulty logic about things said by the MSM or youtube videos. That’s how we'll end up with a RINO sitting in the White House as all the talk radio guys scratch their heads wondering how they were fooled. . . “gee, he seemed so conservative in that ONE youtube video I watched.”

And let me tell you, I see these same "arguments" mindlessly repeated at websites like Big Government, where it's clear that a majority of the commenters not only aren't even reading the articles, but are just self-righteously repeating what they heard on the radio verbatim: it's become a slogan shouting room for the hopelessly ignorant.

This blather is destructive as it depresses conservatives who need all the enthusiasm they can gather for this next election. Right now conservatives should be looking over candidate websites, digging into records and listening to interviews to find the best candidate to represent their views. When that person is found, conservatives should volunteer their money and time to that person. But instead, conservatives are sitting at home frustrated because talk radio is blaring out every single day “there ain’t nothing but RINOs in this race!” The Democrats couldn't have paid for a better voter-suppression plan!

What's more, if you listen to talk radio, you get the impression that no one is happy with the field. Yet, a poll released the other day shows how deeply misleading that is. Take a look at this graph (right). While dissatisfaction is up slightly from 2008, 61% of Republicans are actually happy with their choices. Thus, what talk radio is doing is presenting a view held by only 11% of Republicans (or 39% if you include leaners) as if it were universally held and are using that false claim to drag down a field that 6 in 10 people like. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Because that's the same thing the MSM does to boost the 40% in polls who support liberalism -- make them out as the vast majority.

And let me be clear.... if there are no good candidates, then it is a proper role for talk radio to point that out and to seek out better candidates to enter the race. But that’s not what’s going on because these talk radio people don’t have a clue if there are good candidates or not because none of them have done the research.

I understand that talk radio is all about generating outrage and controversy, but they have a responsibility too. That responsibility comes from their claim to speak on behalf of conservatism. And that responsibility is to verify their opinions before offering them. Do the research before you speak. Stop misleading your listeners, because right now, talk radio is a worse enemy to conservatism than the Democrats, the RINOs, and the MSM combined.


Ed said...

Andrew, I love talk radio, but I am forced to agree. I get the feeling that over the years, they've gotten lazier and by now they're just putting out opinion based on whatever they heard with a quick scan of Drudge or a couple blogs. I never get the sense anymore that they really dig into what they are talking about.

Tennessee Jed said...

talk radio is like a lot of cable news commentary. I have a hard time talking some of these people down, but certainly understand (and agree) with much of what you say. Rush Limbaugh can be informative, and he was the lone voice for a long time. But, he caters to red meat partisanship.

I know I sound arrogant, but an awful lot of adults (left and right) don't seem to have the interest to really, objectively look at issues. They get all of their information from Sean Hannity or Chris Matthews. And, to be honest, issues like healthcare and the economy are big and complex and hard to digest. Then there is the issue of what information is real vs. what information is massaged.

It is sad, but the reality is, you guys (and most of the people who frequent this blog) are probably better educated and more politically astute than most of the electorate. I guess what I am saying is "don't look for this to change anytime soon."

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's the feeling I get. Even Rush, who used to be top notch in terms of understanding what he was talking about before he spoke, has said a lot of things lately that were just wrong and inflammatory -- things that he should have known better about, but didn't bother looking into. And some of them have never been careful.

Ed said...

Andrew, Here's an example of what's bothered me lately. One of the guys we get locally (though I think he comes from California) was talking about Islam. He's totally obsessed with it. He went on this rant how nothing good could come from Arab Spring because "Islam and democracy have never worked together." A caller called in and said, "what about Turkey." This threw off the guy's narrative and he started accusing the caller of being a Muslim and calling in to "lie to all my listeners about what is really going on." I am seeing a lot of this kind of knee-jerkism these days and it used to only be the true fringe guys.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't look for it change either, sadly. What bothers me though are:

1. This would be so easy to fix if they just hired a research assistant.

2. Rush used to be much better than he is today. At one point, Rush always made sure to inform himself about the things he talked about. Today, I spend half my time shaking my head saying, "no, that's not right and you should know that Rush." (Forget everything he says whenever he gets into the law, he's almost 100% wrong these days.)

3. This is doing serious damage to conservatism because we're not going to get a genuine, capable conservative -- we're going to get a RINO clown or crazed weirdo who toots their horn at the right talking head. And that pisses me off something fierce.

4. This is warping conservatism from an intelligent IDEAology that grasped concepts like limited government and free markets and into a BSology of idiot slogans that parody concepts like limited government and free markets and which are incapable of being put into policy and which turn people off just as much as the left's garbage over the past decade.

You can see the damage at places like Big Government, where there are literally hundreds of utter nonsense comments each day -- things that bear no relationship to reality.

It's very frustrating.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, This is an all around failure. These people are parroting every single rumor as if it were true -- even the obviously false ones -- because it gets them ratings to be outraged. It's pandering of the worst kind and they do it on all issues.

There was even a discussion the other day on a very reputable one where the host was advancing the theory that Obama wanted to drive up unemployment, which is about as idiotic a conspiracy theory as you can imagine. 10 seconds of thought should dispel that one, but this host wasn't going to hear logic.

CrispyRice said...

I really like listening to talk radio, but I find I don't like more and more of the guys. I've got 3 I look forward to - one is a semi-local team out of Pittsburgh named Quinn & Rose; then Rush; then Clark Howard, who is actually a consumer / financial guy, LOL.

Quinn & Rose do a really good job with giving you news stories and analysis. And I think that's where Rush is strongest, too. I like hearing the stories I may not have heard about, and I like hearing a strong conservative take on them. I don't get that with most of the hosts.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, There is definitely a difference from host to host. Some are nothing but bile and anger and others are more thoughtful. I've heard bits and pieces of Quinn & Rose and I've liked what I heard. The local guys here are whiny nuts.

Rush has always been head and shoulders above the rest, both in terms of how well prepared he's been and in terms of presentation. He's often attacked topics with humor and quality discussions whereas others just wrap themselves in a flag and start foaming ignorantly at the mouth. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, even Rush has been pushing some pretty stupid ideas and falling down on the job as information provider.

I would bet you that if we could put the 2012 Contender Series in the hands of these people (and make them read it), many of them would be horrified at the people they are supporting -- assuming of course that they didn't just choose instead to decide I was just an unreal American RINO communist who was out to destroy the American way.

DUQ said...

Andrew, People need to realize that talk radio hosts are trying to build market share first and are only conservative second. It wouldn't even surprise me if a couple of them weren't conservatives -- like Ed Schulz started as a conservative, until he realized he could make it as a liberal. So they are going to do what they need to do to get people tuned in and they have decided that means hyperbole and ranting rather than education.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I don't appreciate being shouted at, which is why I rarely listen to talk radio. The call-in shows are the worst. It is like the audio version of what we see on so many blogsites. Either the caller agrees with the host and simply tries to suck up to him (or her), or top him (or her). Alternatively, it's someone equally angry from the left who will spill vitriol and spout venom, to be followed by a dressing-down by the host. Not worth my time.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That's true and I know there's nothing we can do about it, but it still bothers me. The very people who have worked their way into a leadership role are abusing the privilege. And if we aren't careful, they will lead us to choose some "conservative" who is anything but and we're going to blow an historic opportunity to remake this country. . . and who do you think will be screaming the loudest when the person they helped put into office turns out to be a RINO?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I rarely listen these days as well, but in the past few weeks I haven't had any choice -- been blasted by it. And I agree, most of it is pure ignorance. Either you get the sycophants who just want to praise the host for showing them the light, or you get the "this is nuthin' but a communist conspiracy" callers (who usually don't even know what communism is), or you get the angry opposition calling up with retardedly stupid comments that the host then uses to make themselves sound like they are great arguers -- when all they are really doing is beating up strawmen arguments.

And lately, when they get someone reasonable and intelligent, the hosts have attacked them unfairly (usually in ad homonym ways) because they've dared to criticize something the host said.... "you must really be a leftist who is lying about your affiliations..." type stuff.

Tam said...

It is frustrating. Every time I hear Ann Coulter promoting Christie, I wonder to myself whether she knows something I don't and I start to second guess all the negative facts I've learned about him. Also, I've heard Gov. Perry called "Rush's dream candidate" but I remember Patti some months ago suggesting he's not the best guy for the job, in her Texan opinion. I don't know about Gov. Perry, but I do know about Texas, so I would certainly favor a national version of Texas if he could pull it off.'s irritating. I can hardly listen to Hannity anymore. Often his logic defies logic.

AndrewPrice said...

Tam, It's very frustrating because these are the people who are in the best position to inform everyone. They have staffs. They have the time to do the research. They have access to the candidates and they could conduct truly meaningful interviews to flesh out things I can't. Yet, they don't.

On Coulter, I honestly can't tell you why she sticks with Christie, but I can tell you it has nothing to do with his record. His record is not only almost 100% bad, but there's not even any indication that he wants to change.

I've heard Rush say that about Perry too. But let me point out the obvious again -- if this is Rush's belief (and I don't doubt that it is) then why hasn't Rush told us why? If he's the next Ronald Reagan, surely he's worth an few minutes of discussion to tell us what makes him so?

(By the way, I've done the Perry 2012 article and it will be posting Tuesday morning. He actually wouldn't be my first choice either -- not because he's not a conservative, but because I suspect he's more of a caretaker governor than a reformer and right now I think we need someone a lot bolder in the fiscal arena.)

Hannity has always rubbed me wrong, but he's really gone off the deep end lately. I think a lot of them have decided that the rise of Glenn Beck meant they needed to get wierder, more strident, more conspiratorial, and more knee-jerk. And that's just feeding this monster that is being created that is slowly eating conservatism.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

I've noticed too that the quality of talk radio has been going down, and yes--even Rush. And as you said, the assertion that the left is afraid of Palin is laughable. Any lefty I know thinks she's a joke (note that I'm not saying this, they are.) I don't dislike her, but I wouldn't vote for her in a primary either. Lately Rush has had women calling in explaining why other women hate Palin, and they've all come to the conclusion that she's too pretty and successful. Huh??? I personally keep going back to that incredibly embarrassing interview with Katie Couric. Could it be that some women saw that interview too and formed an opinion? No, it must be because she's too pretty. UGHH!!!

On Ann Coulter, I just want to say that I was rather put off last week when most of the big talkers had her on to pimp her new book, and that is what talk radio is becoming--a vehicle to sell books for the talkers and their most favored guests. It just makes me listen less.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, I've noticed that too -- the marketing has become so blatant on all of their shows. One of the things Rush does lately that really angers me is he starts these things that seem like news stories and about 1-2 minutes in you suddenly realize that he's actually delivering ad. That rubs me very wrong.

I've heard the Rush/Palin thing you're talking about and I've had a similar reaction. There are legitimate concerns being raised by genuine conservatives about Palin. But Rush is playing into the whole motif that Palin is a victim and her critics are all deranged. Thus, he's had these women call in (and keep in mind, he selects who gets through) and he steers them straight to the issue of Palin's looks. Invariably, these women end up saying, "I don't do this, but I think other women don't like her because she's sooo perfect." And then he never moves off that point.

For example, the woman on Friday said: "I love her, but she wouldn't be my choice in the primary” then she said the part he wanted: “I don’t do this, but I think other women don’t like her because she’s soooo perfect and sooo beautiful.” That’s all he wanted to talk about, and he never once asked who the woman's choice would be in the primary or why she wouldn't choose Palin despite "loving" her. That's the problem with what he's doing -- he doesn't want to get into the harder questions, so he presents her critics as simply deranged faux-conservatives who are judging her blindingly on what the MSM is saying or on shallow things like jealousy. That's an evasion tactic and that's exactly what I'm talking about. Rather than telling us why we should vote FOR Palin, he's making ad homonym attacks on her critics... just like he complains is being done to her.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, And let me be clear, this isn't about whether Palin is qualified or not. The problem is that Rush has chosen to attack her critics rather than tell us why we should actually like her. He's essentially advocating: "the enemy of my enemy will make a good leader for my cause."

It's the same thing with the others. None of them are telling us why we should be voting FOR their candidate, they are just lobbing attacks at their candidate's critics and opponents.

That's no way to choose a leader.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Andrew: I don't get Rush's behavior. You've got to wonder if he's just getting lazy and would rather spend most of his time golfing.

I noticed those faux news stories too that morph into ads. It seems like some advertisers request this kind of ad, because you'll hear this identical scenario (for example, for "Life Lock") on various shows. It's really annoying. Is the average talk radio listener that stupid? I'm afraid the answer might be, "yes".

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, Yeah, I don't mean to target Rush on the ad thing because several of them do it. What I find amazing is that the advertisers don't realize how angry this makes some people. As soon as I realize it's an ad, my first thought is "f*** you" not "gee, this is interesting and I should keep listening?"

I think advertisers have never understood the difference between good and bad publicity.

On Rush's effort, in all honesty, I've been thinking that Rush has gotten lazy. In the past, he was much more thorough, much more careful, took more time, and spent a lot more effort on being creative. I don't get the feeling that he's putting in the same level of effort today.

It could just be that after 20 years, he's getting bored. Or it could be that he's preferring to play golf. I don't know. I can only say that from my perspective, he's not nearly as interested in what he's doing as he used to be.

Also, despite my picking on Rush here, he's still easily the best. And nothing highlights that more than hearing some of the more incendiary talkers who just spit out pure BS at full volume until their time is up: "BLAH BLAH SOCIALIST BLAH BLAH DESTROY AMERICA BLAH BLAH GOD'S WILL BLAH BLAH DIRTY MUSLIMS BLAH BLAH COWARDLY EUROPEANS BLAH BLAH BLAH DIRTY ILLEGALS BLAH BLAH BLAH CONSPIRACY BLAH BLAH PLOT BLAH BLAH EVIL.... repeat!!!!!!!!!!"

T-Rav said...

Ouch! Honestly, I don't listen to talk radio that much--I have listened to Rush and to Sean Hannity in the past, and I did listen to Michael Savage for a time before I realized he wasn't really a conservative. But I do like the talk radio culture, for the most part, and I think a lot of the problems you're pointing out could easily be fixed if people would just do their research a bit better. Especially now, with the wealth of information at our fingertips thanks to blogs, this shouldn't be a problem anymore. Those sites are where I get most of my news from by now, anyway.

T-Rav said...

By the way, Andrew, how do you feel about Glenn Beck? (gets behind blastproof shield)

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, That's my point. I'm not saying shut down talk radio or anything like that. What I'm saying is: talk radio has a responsibility to its listeners, and that responsibility is to take the little bit of time it takes to investigate the candidates before they start advocating for them.

That's what they're doing wrong and the consequences are very bad for conservatism. I am worried that this will end up putting a RINO or dipsh*t into the White House.

Joel Farnham said...


A few questions if I may?

First: Do you believe that the next Republican nomination is going to be conservative?

Second: Do you believe that Palin won't enter the race?

Third: Have you actually looked through Palin's positions?

Fourth: Rush has said, "The Republican nomination is Palin's if she wants it." Do you believe that statement?

Fifth: If Palin gets the nomination are you absolutely sure she won't win?

Sixth: Is Palin a conservative?

Talk Radio, according to Rush, is an entertainment medium. By that definition, no one is supposed to take it seriously. Rush certainly doesn't.

As a resource, Talk Radio is piss poor. Commentarama is so much better that it would be comparing a McDonald's Apple pie with a steak dinner. Talk radio can't compete. Yes, some people do use it. So?

Rush is not a lawyer. He doesn't pretend to be. He does ask a lawyer, Mark Levin, about specific points. Mark Levin loves Palin and he constantly is talking about her on his radio show.

Oh, one more thing, I would rather our field gets burned up during this period and produces an alloy of conservatism that will not only win this next election but destroy liberalism. Not a false conservative like BUSH. I don't see it any other way.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Glenn Beck? My views on Beck are no secret. The guy is an idiot and a lunatic who is trying to turn himself into a cult figure.

His economic theories are garbage, his understanding of the how the government works is limited and erroneous, his grasp on how businesses work is tenuous and conspiratorial, he's prone to mega-conspiracies of all stripes, he's heavily into personal "cat fights" and he loves to paint himself as a victim (a very unconservative thing to do). His politics are best described as paranoid-populist with only an illusionary veneer of conservatism. And the guy LOVES himself.

There you go, my honest view. Don't look for him on my Christmas card list. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Talk radio should be an excellent resource, but it's not. I say that it should be because it reaches millions of people and it has become a replacement for the news. In other words, people are looking to it for information and analysis -- most do not realize its true nature as entertainment and frankly few of the hosts would admit that because their schtick is to claim gatekeeper status for the conservative movement.

I too want a genuine conservative, not a Bush "conservative" in the White House. That's why I'm doing the 2012 Contender series because I want to know the real story behind these people. For example, Pawlenty has impressed me as a much stronger conservative than I expected going in. Romney, Gingrich and Christie have proven to be far, far further to the left than I thought. Thus, I think this is a very useful exercise as it should eventually reveal who would be the best/worst candidate(s). But the short answer is that I don't want a fake conservative. I think we need a strong conservative who is not ashamed of their beliefs and is a willing and capable reformer.

Do I believe the next Republican nominee will be a conservative. Hmm. I am thinking there is a 60/40 chance, but it’s too early to tell.

On Palin, I have started my research but I have not completed it yet. So take my answers with a grain of salt as I haven't fully assessed her yet.

Do I think she will enter the race? Right now, I’d say 70/30 no. If a genuine front runner emerges, then 100% no.

No, I do not believe the nomination is Palin’s if she wants it, but that depends in part on who emerges as front runner. She would beat Romney (unpopular) or Cain (unknown), but she would lose to Perry or Christie. Also, she faces wide opposition even inside the party and her penchant for gaffes and lack of basic knowledge will hurt a lot.

Am I certain she can’t win if she gets the nomination? Absolutely -- democratic landslide.

Is she a conservative? I don’t know yet. I haven’t had a chance yet to finish my research of her record. There are many indications that she is not a conservative. But I'm still sorting through that.

Joel Farnham said...


To answer my own questions.

1:I believe the next nomination will be conservative. Talk radio will attack any weakness in the nominations.

2: Unless you are have not been reading the news, Palin has already entered the race. She just hasn't told you yet. Don't feel bad, she hasn't told the Nation yet as well.

4: It is a little arrogant for Rush to say that. I believe she will either get the nomination or play spoiler to RINOs like Romney.

5. If Palin gets the nomination, I believe she will win. Obama is that bad.

6: Palin is conservative. You betcha! :-)

3: I await your research with trepidation. I believe you will find, that except for a few bobbles on things like the Bridge to Nowhere, she has consistently stood for conservatism and smaller government. She also has no use for corruption and Ole Boy's Network aka The Republican GOP beltway elite.

As to why some women don't like Palin? Beats me. What is your opinion?

If RUSH did research and reported on all the candidates or even a select few, his audience would drop to nothing. His show is about his opinion. Period. All right wing talk radio is about the host's opinion. People who use Rush's show as research are doing themselves a disservice. It is a good place to start. He recommends all sorts of books which would lead you to all sorts of interesting concepts.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I don't know if it's as bad as you say, but I agree that they could and should be doing a better job of vetting these candidates. Talk radio and the Internet are the strongest weapons conservatives have right now; we need to use them.

Glenn Beck is a guy I used to like a great deal more than I do now. He was very effective in cases such as the Van Jones thing last year, and I give him credit for saying people need to think about the deeper issues rather than just the headlines. But I've cringed at some of his retellings of history--especially when the Enlightenment comes up--and he lost me all the way when he compared Americans celebrating OBL's overdue demise with Palestinians celebrating 9/11. His audience has clearly begun to flag in recent months because of things like this.

Don't worry, I bet you're not on his Christmas card list either :-)

T-Rav said...

Also, to provide my own unrequested and probably totally unnecessary answers to Joel's questions:

1. I'd say it's more likely than not that the candidate will be a conservative, but it depends on how long Romney lasts.

2. I thought there was a strong chance Palin would enter the race after all the attention on this bus tour of hers, but Perry's imminent entrance has given me second thoughts. Right now I'd say it's 60/40 against.

3. I haven't looked through Palin's positions either, but she strikes me as having an all-around populist bent. Who knows, that may be the most obvious observation ever.

4. I could probably give you a list of "inevitable" presidential candidates who fell short of the nomination. There is no reason why Palin should be any different, especially given her polarizing effect on the party.

5. It depends on what happens between now and November 2012. As things stand now, I think she would probably lose to Obama, but if the economy really tanks in the next year or so--and it may--voters' disaffection/disgust with TOTUS could override their distrust of Palin. Call it a "lesser of two evils" situation.

6. See number 3, but my gut feeling is that Palin is at heart one of us. I honestly like the woman, whatever qualms I have about her electability, and I'd rather have a quirky boondocks governor than a polished, smarmy Beltway elitist. But that's my personal feeling (the gut thing, I mean).

AndrewPrice said...


1. I wouldn't rely on talk radio, they are doing a very poor job of finding the conservative up to now.

2 & 4. We'll see. Time will tell.

3. She is the only Republican I think would lose to Obama. The numbers are simply against her. She will lose all the liberals and most all of the moderates and even some conservatives. That's a landslide loss.

6. We'll see, I am not so sure. There are things that concern me that I want to look into -- hence the research.

The thing about Rush is that he used to do a better job of researching his opinions before he gave them. These days he seems to just give a knee-jerk reaction based on headlines. And while I agree with you that people should not be relying on him or other talk radio people for their news/analysis, the problem is that many do rely on them and there appears to be no way to break that link.

In terms of why women (and many men) don't like Palin, I would say there are two primary causes.

First, her followers act like cultists. The slightest hint that you don't love Goddess Sarah and they pounce. What's more, she feeds this by playing the victim in every instance she can (and then some).

Secondly, many people are nervous about what kind of representative she would make for conservatism. She has demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge on many occasions and she has never shown that she's willing to fix that. Indeed, while her flop with Couric was forgivable (though it was bizarre), her conduct after the fact has cemented the problem. Rather than showing the world that she's prepared to the do the work it takes to fill in the obvious gaps in her knowledge and to learn the ideology she supposedly represents, she instead went on the Paris-Hilton celebrity tour.

These are HUGE warning signs, and I can guarantee you that if a Democrat had done this or Romney had done these, her supporters would be blasting them.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, The problem with Beck is that he is wrong at a fundamental level. So while he will occasionally hit an issue like Van Jones, most of the rest of what he says is horribly wrong and misleading. Thus, while he's managed to get some people worked up, he's also gotten them worked up over fantasy issues and got them believing in disastrous solutions.

AndrewPrice said...


I agree on 1-4. And I think Perry is the big factor. I get the feeling that if he jumps in, the nomination is his. The other problem Palin might have is if she waits too long, then Pawlenty (who is finally picking up rhetorical steam) will have solidified the religious base and the establishment base and will replace Romney as frontrunner. I don't think either group would jump to her to escape Pawlenty as they would to escape Romney.

5. I think she loses to Obama for this simple reason: she has zero non-base appeal. So the left (who will be excited to defeat her) will turn out 43%. The middle will give Obama another 7-10%. Non-conservative Republicans will add another 3-5%. That's 53/58% for Obama v. 47/42% for Palin.

3 & 6. I am concerned that she's not a conservative but is instead a populist with no ideological underpinnings who has been adept at a combination of using conservative slogans and playing the victim card to make people see her as a "true conservative" and to cover up all of her mistakes and excesses.

P.S. I don't buy the idea that it's an either or choice -- either Sarah or an establishment RINO. There are other alternatives.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Andrew, good points!

While I don't consider talk radio to be worse than the left and the MSM (but I repeat myself) I concur it has (generally speaking) gotten worse in the research dept. and that may become a more serious problem.

I don't listen to much talk radio nowadays since we don't get reception out where we live which means I only hear bits n' pieces when I go to town, the VA or Ft. Lewis.

Based on what I have heard, and the daily e-mail I get from Rush, I find myself asking WTH are these guys doing?

I don't expect them to do deep, intensive research into everything they talk about, but I do think they oughtta do at least general research before they give their opinions.

Otherwise they are merely giving uninformed opinions which ain't worth diddly squat and based on what?

Certainly this ain't always the case but it's definitely trending that way.

One notable exception I can think of off the top of my head is Dennis Prager (I would listen to him a lot more if I could).

Of course, Prager also discusses psychological/cultural/philosophical/religious issues more than political (although he does do that too).

However, we ain't just fighting a political war either, and Prager has far deeper discussions about important issues than than any radio hosts I have heard.
He definitely isn't more concerned about entertainment than he is content, and no way is he a populist.

Prager is also more humble and less egotistical than most which means he spends less time tooting his own horn.

Not that there's anything wrong with being entertaining. Rush has shown, at least in the past (or more so, anyway) that a host can make informed opinions and still be entertaining.

Regardless, these guys can do a much better job and they should.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Thanks! I think we're seeing the same things. In the past, talk radio was much more informative, but today it's almost entirely unsupported opinion. And that's not really worth listening to. Sadly, too many people don't realize how unsupported the opinion is because they don't have the time or inclination to do the research themselves and see how wrong much of this opinion ultimately is.

I don't need them reading research papers on candidates, but at the very least they should have a cursory understanding of who they are endorsing.

And you're right, there's no reason they can't be both entertaining and informative. That's an art Rush mastered early in his career when he was a master at telling you everything you needed to know while also entertaining the heck out of you. In fact, I still remember many of his early skits and songs and some of the things he did to get your attention. He doesn't do much of that anymore.

The name Dennis Prager is familiar to me, but I can't quite place him. But it sounds like he's pretty good if he actually talks about more than just headlines.

Koshcat said...

I sometime have Rush on for background noise but agree not as good as the past. The two I like to listen to are local: Mike Rosen and Peter Boyels. Rosen is not a social conservative but for free markets and often has great guests. He does occasionally get annoyed at Steve the Socialist. Peter really likes to annoy those in power and is one of the few in Denver not afraid to air out the elites dirty laundry. While everyone else was focusing on Weinergate, he was looking into allegations about the new Denver's mayors history with visiting whorehouses. And this was the guy he endorsed before he knew about then. Awesomely entertaining!

Koshcat said...

As for candidates, I favor Bachmann (I like how she takes on and annoys Matthews and the MSNBC gang), but I am watching Pawlenty closer.

AndrewPrice said...

Kosh, I actually find it hard to work with the radio on, but strangely not the television -- so I tend to use the tv for background noise.

We get Rosen down here too. He's definitely got some good guests. I think we get Boyel, but I haven't listened to him. There are so many by now that I can't even keep the names straight. I know we also get Ingraham, Rush, Hannity, Medved, a couple more I can't think of, some financial people, a psychic, a local lawn guy, a local lawyer, and some pet people. It all becomes a blur after a while.

In terms of candidates, I can honestly say that I haven't made up my mind yet. At this point it's more a matter of who I've ruled out and there are only a couple of those -- Christie, Romney, Trump and Newt. Beside those, I've warmed a lot to Pawlenty, who I never thought about before. I like Cain and Bachmann a good deal. I like a lot of the non-runners, like Ryan, Rubio, Allen West. But all in all, I'm still sorting through them all and I have to say that many of them are surprising me -- some good, some bad.

CrispyRice said...

Andrew, this is my concern with Palin, too -

"I am concerned that she's not a conservative but is instead a populist with no ideological underpinnings who has been adept at ... using conservative slogans..."

I think her instincts truly are conservative and correct, but she doesn't know WHY conservatism is better. Without that knowledge, it's unclear how she can lead.

That's something that made Reagan really shine - he could boil down the theory and make it simple for everyone. I think we need that in a leader - someone who truly believes in conservatism, knows WHY they believe, and can make the country understand why it's better. That's a tall order, I know. :D

Wait, maybe I'm just not crazy about her because she can kill a moose and her hair still looks perfect??

And on topic - my favorite talk show? Coast to Coast AM! LOL! Yes, they're an awful lot of fringe kooks with conspiracy theories, but boy are they interesting, hee hee. Plus, you gotta hand it to them - when George Noory has a guest, that guest generally gets at least 2 hours to make his case or dig his own hole. They really do delve into a topic in depth. I'd LOVE a political show that did that, just with fewer nutjobs. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, My mom loves Coast to Coast as well. LOL! I like the idea of actually letting guests speak when you bring them on. The news and much of talk radio seems to have perfected the non-interview interview where the guest is given 20-30 seconds to make soundbytes and the host does the rest. That's pretty useless actually.

On Reagan/Palin, that's something that is becoming so rare because so many politicians (and Palin is a prime example) think that they are ready to be President two weeks after being elected to their first political job. Reagan spent decades giving speeches about his views and honing his beliefs before he was ready to be Governor and then President. So by the time he was on the scene, he not only understood exactly what he believed, but he understood how to explain it to people. That's what's missing from the party today because the people with longevity tend to be technocrats and too many of the conservatives are too impatient to move up and don't bother learning the craft.

I also think that's why conservatives are so short of ideas today -- because they aren't taking the time to understand their views and how they would be applied. Instead, they just stick to well worn slogans, which don't lend themselves to becoming actual policies.

StanH said...

I’m a firm believer in Reagan’s “11th commandment” and firmly believe we all have our part to play. I think we all agree Barry must be defeated, to do so, we must close ranks when the nominee is picked, whoever it is. That being said, Rush is protecting one of our own, Sarah Palin. We may not agree with her, or even believe she is a moron, but as a man it pisses me off. Please excuse my Southern sensibilities, this is a mother of five who has been pilloried like no other person I can remember, it’s simply despicable. So for my part I’m glad he’s standing up for her as is Mark Levine. As far as Rush being ill informed, I would bet he can read, and comprehend as well as you or I, this man is connected to the pulse of the conservative heartbeat like no other, and can claim friends that most read about in books (Reagan, Thatcher, Buckley) to name a few, sometimes this works to his detriment, but, perhaps he has a point of view that we cannot possibly see. We should keep our powder dry and continue the search for the best candidate, and remember the wise man once said, “perfect is the enemy of good.”

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, It bothers me too that they are attacking her, BUT that does not make her a leader or a conservative.

As for Rush, I have no doubt that he knows a good deal, but he's not sharing any of that knowledge. And I will not accept "trust me on this" from anyone.

Also, let me point out that Reagan's 11th Commandment works both ways -- that means people need to stop attacking people like McCain and Snowe and other RINOs. Nor is it a suicide pact that says we need to accept someone's flaws without comment or without looking for better alternatives.

StanH said...

The converse is also true, it doesn’t make her a follower or a liberal. Even the Great Reagan had a come to Jesus moment and became a Goldwater conservative and famously stated, “I didn’t leave the democratic party, it left me.” So in regard to her conservative credentials those are still being defined. She already is a leader, and has a devout following, whether or not this makes her presidential, or Jim Jones, “if” she runs we’ll see.

Rush is an entertainer, a political satirist, if he delved into minutia to deeply, Joe down at Joe’s Garage, eye’s would glaze over leaving political wonks as his listeners. I take the time to research what anyone says, including Rush.

When McCain became our nominee, Rush lined up with the establishment and supported McCain with zeal, after all what was the alternative. As far as the attack on RINO’s that’s were we come in, vote them the hell out. I believe this will happen in time.

StanH said...

Anecdote: I was watching Jeremiah Johnson for umpteenth time, and there was a scene where, and Indian was yelling at Jeremiah, and he asked the bald headed mountain man, “why is he yelling at me,” bald mountain man, “because she’s sacred of you.” This is how liberals and the MSM are handling Sarah Palin. They tell us she’s a dunce, but send armies of reporters to scour 24,000 emails. All the talking heads that supposedly represent conservatives, also call her stupid, like George Will supported Howard Baker against Reagan in 1980, and Charles Krauthammer, who was a speech writer for Walter Mondale, yet he’s the intellectual sage of the right. What Sarah represents is a threat to establishment Washington right and left, and she must be defeated. This to me is why I believe Rush has a point about the establishment fear.

I’m sorry I missed this thread yesterday, a good debate.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I'm not saying Rush should issue detailed reports on candidates, but he should be giving people reasons why they are conservatives and why they should be supporting them. That's what talk radio is not doing at the moment. Instead, they all seem to champion one candidate or another and then run with them without ever laying out for their listeners why they should support the person. That's my beef with talk radio.

In terms of Palin being a liberal/conservative or other, that's why we need to look at her record. And that means looking at the good and the bad -- just like we're doing with the rest.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Yeah, it was a good debate -- it always is around here. We've got very thoughtful readers.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT populism:

I think many conservatives (and republican politicians) literally can't tell the difference.

I blame public "education" which has increasingly gone off the rails in teaching accurate US history.
Specifically when it concerns WHY our Founding Fathers set up our Reupublic the way it is and the reasons/purposes for it.

I used to be a pop-conservative too until I was fortunate enough to get to know a few folks that actually had read and understand important stuff like the Federalist Papers, our Constitution, etc..

It's stunning and sad how much propaganda most of our public schools and loonyversities teach about our history or the rewriting of it!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think that's true. I think a lot of conservatives don't know the difference and I think that's intentional on the part of the populists. I think they've adopted verbiage that sounds like conservatism when they talk about the Constitution and the Founders and the such. But they twist it away from conservative ideas like limited government and individual rights into strange theories about destroying society to remake it in the image of the "reel Amerikans," which is eerily close to "workers of the world."

I've tried to warn conservatives about that several times, but it's hard to fight someone who wraps themselves in the flag, who uses all the right slogans, and who hides their real intent except in the briefest of hints. I've seen a lot of these people at BH and I've tried to expose them whenever possible, but that's usually not a popular discussion.

Post a Comment