Limbaugh's Hoarse Voice, Political Frustration Fodder For Left
On Limbaugh's Importance, Pundits Keep Changing View
It was just yesterday that pundits, including a syndicated host, were openly declaring talk radio's influence over politics dead in the water, based solely on South Carolina's inconclusive GOP primary results.
One day later, however, the medium has somehow regained so much influence that even a sore throat by talk titan Rush Limbaugh is being scrutinized almost as carefully as Tom Brady's ankle:
(LA Times - Top Of The Ticket) Rush Limbaugh is in a funk and someone's gonna pay
Good news for Rush-haters.
Not only has the controversial conservative radio talk-show host got a sore throat, but he's anguishing over the inadequacy he sees in the current field of Republican presidential candidates. You can actually hear the pain, the mounting impatience, the frustration in his voice. It's kinda sad, if you believe in talk-radio.
Monday on-the-air he'd had enough of these impure candidates and enough of all these questions about his endorsement and when it would come and how he'd make his decision and he just blurted out to Jim in Kansas City and a few million others listening in: "I can see possibly not supporting a Republican nominee."
Across the country, people were dropping their coffee cups, choking on sandwiches, fainting and driving off the road. The king of conservative talk-radio not supporting the Republican nominee?
More on this at Say Anything.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes went as far as to suggest John McCain meet with Rush at his West Palm Beach estate:
The McCain campaign claims that it's only a handful of conservative luminaries who oppose him. Not true. Complaints about him are rife among grassroots Republicans, and exit polls from the two primaries he won provide unmistakable evidence. He split self-identified Republicans with Mr. Huckabee in South Carolina and Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. But he barely won "somewhat conservative" voters in those states, and lost lopsidedly with "very conservative" voters.
Mr. McCain won both primaries because of his appeal to moderates and independents, indicating that he'd be a strong general election candidate. But he's got to take the Republican nomination first. That means winning without independents in more states with Republican-only primaries.
Spotlighting his conservative positions is a start. A few gestures bound to gain national attention would help. Appearing at today's March for Life demonstration in Washington would underscore his anti-abortion voting record. As Mr. McCain campaigns in Florida before next Tuesday's primary, a visit to Rush Limbaugh's home in Palm Beach to discuss conservative issues makes sense.
During today's show, Limbaugh said he found this suggestion amusing.
Meanwhile, the left has picked up on Michael Medved's shark- jumping turn away from the talk radio medium, using his words to their advantage:
Conservative radio host Michael Medved — who got his start guest-hosting Limbaugh’s show — wrote this recently:
The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight.
For more than a month, the leading conservative talkers in the country have broadcast identical messages in an effort to demonize Mike Huckabee and John McCain. If you’ve tuned in at all to Rush, Sean, Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and two dozen others you’ve heard a consistent drum beat of hostility toward Mac and Huck. […]
In other words, the talk radio jihad against Mac and Huck hasn’t destroyed or even visibly damaged those candidates. But it has damaged, and may help destroy, talk radio.
Medved’s observation can be witnessed in Limbaugh’s recent discourse about the leading Republican presidential candidates. Yesterday, Limbaugh said, “I can see possibly not supporting a Republican nominee,” adding that “it’s gonna come down to which guy do we dislike the least. And that’s not necessarily good.”
After hearing Limbaugh recently denounce the candidates as “not true conservatives,” Tom Brokaw said, “It’s one of the few times I’ve ever heard… Rush Limbaugh kind of temporarily at a loss for words.”
Think Progress, Michael Medved and Tom Brokaw: politics never ceases to create strange bedfellows.
As of today, this debate has settled itself: talk radio has as much influence as it ever has, with many millions of listeners (a good percentage still undecided on the primary candidates) keenly interested in the views of their favorite hosts. So let's end this silliness now, especially as South Carolina moves further into the rear- view mirror.
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