The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 January 2008

Medved, Mainstream Media Attack Talk Radio Over South Carolina Results


Determined To Defeat Medium, Unexpected Enemies Emerge

In the ongoing effort to Defeat Limbaugh in '08, talk radio's titan is finding enemies in places both familiar and downright unexpected.

Using South Carolina's GOP primary election results as a weapon, Rush's increasingly- outspoken foes are determined to prove both he and the entire talk radio medium have become irrelevant.

Widely cited today is the front- page Washington Post piece on McCain's Palmetto State victory:

CHARLESTON, S.C., Jan. 19 -- From Rush Limbaugh to Tom DeLay, voices that once held sway over the Republican rank and file unloaded on John McCain over the last week, trying to use a conservative electorate in South Carolina to derail the Arizona senator's quest for the Republican nomination.

But though McCain failed to persuade many of the old Republican power brokers, he wrapped up the Republican establishment where it counted most, South Carolina. His win Saturday underscored how different McCain's campaign has been this year compared with eight years ago, when a similar conservative assault effectively ended his campaign here and handed his party's presidential nomination to George W. Bush.

"I think the people of South Carolina are getting to know John McCain now, a little more than they know those folks anymore," longtime McCain aide Mark Salter said Saturday night of the senator's old nemeses.

Limbaugh led the way with a verbal blitz, not just against McCain but against his closest rival in South Carolina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

"I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it," Limbaugh fumed on his radio show Tuesday. It was a line of argument that he kept up all week long.

Also noted frequently today: how Tom Brokaw used the results to bash Rush. From Tim Graham at NewsBusters:

TOM BROKAW: Well, I think, I think if there's a big thematic issue here in this election, it's the end of dogma, which has dominated so much of our politics in the last--well, since 1980, really. And people are rejecting dogma. As I see it, there's this kind of nomadic herd of voters out there wandering the landscape, looking for solutions, looking for a water hole, if you will, in which they can kind of resupply themselves and find solutions to the issues that really trouble them. It's going on in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. I was listening to Rush Limbaugh for an hour yesterday, who is determined to not have this campaign, as he put it, redefine conservatism. And one of the ditto heads, one of his followers, called and...

JON MEACHAM: Ditto heads.

BROKAW: ...said, "Well, help me out here. What do I think now about Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich?" And it's one of the few times I've ever heard Newt--ever heard Rush Limbaugh kind of temporarily at a loss for words. And he ended up saying that they're not true conservatives. And that debate is not going to help the Republican Party, if they if they get bogged down in that. The country is hungry for solutions...

Michelle Malkin had this response:

Here are two things the liberal media desperately want to be true:

1) John McCain’s inevitable GOP presidential victory.

2) Rush Limbaugh’s demise.

Wrong on both counts, as usual.

By far the strangest (and harshest!) attack on talk radio came from syndicated Salem talk host Michael Medved, who decided to bite the hand that feeds him, surprising many (but perhaps not your Radio Equalizer):

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.

As always, led by Rush Limbaugh (who because of talent and seniority continues to dominate the medium) the talk radio herd has ridden in precisely the same direction, insisting that McCain and Huckabee deserve no support because they’re not “real conservatives.” A month ago, the angry right launched the slogan that Mike Huckabee is a “pro-life liberal.”

More recently, after McCain’s energizing victory in New Hampshire, they trotted out the mantra that the Arizona Senator (with a life-time rating for his Congressional voting record of 83% from the American Conservative Union) is a “pro-war liberal.”

Well, the two alleged “liberals,” McCain and Huckabee just swept a total of 63% of the Republican vote in deeply conservative South Carolina. Meanwhile, the two darlings of talk radio -- Mitt Romney and, to a lesser extent, Fred Thompson— combined for an anemic 31% of the vote.

The problem for Medved, Brokaw, the WaPo crowd and the rest of the MSM hacks is that they've unfairly isolated South Carolina from the rest of the results to date. In addition, they ignore the influence of a new wave of Palmetto voters, many of whom are recent transplants from New England and New York.

In addition, how do these new Florida Rasmussen poll results fit their argument:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds Mitt Romney with a slight lead in Florida’s Republican Presidential Primary.

John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are close behind in what may develop into a three-man race. It’s Romney at 25%, McCain at 20%, and Giuliani at 19%. Romney has picked up seven points over the past week while McCain and Giuliani each inched up a point.

At the National Review's Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru makes a much better point:

Romney's impressive win in Michigan didn't help him in South Carolina. There is more time between the South Carolina and Florida contests than there was between Michigan and South Carolina. In Florida, McCain faces rivals who, unlike Thompson or Huckabee, are willing to take hard shots at him. (Including Giuliani, whom I by no means count out.)

Anti-McCainiacs—e.g., Rush Limbaugh—had a limited impact in South Carolina in part because so many of them were also hostile to his leading competitor there, Huckabee. The dynamics in Florida will be different.

McCain could win the nomination. But it's not his yet, and I think he is going to have to give conservatives some more assurances, and probably suffer some setbacks, before claiming it.

Because Rush and other hosts aren't openly advocating particular candidates, it's hard to see how they can be faulted when the primary results in one state fail to reflect their perceived leanings. That's especially true in a state with a population in the midst of a remarkable cultural transition fueled by northeastern escapees.

As for Medved's shark- jumping exercise, unless he's planning to run for the US Senate in Rhode Island, it's hard to imagine what his self- defeating piece accomplished for himself or the medium that keeps a roof over his head.

UPDATE: from Rush's program today, an interesting comment you might have missed:

RUSH: You know, I have to chuckle. Are you observing here? The Washington Post piece, and even some people I thought were my friends in talk radio, are so eager for my demise. So eager. It is clear, ladies and gentlemen, that I have a lot of enemies who would like to see me flounder out there, and so when they think it's happened, they write stories that it has.

Washington Post on Sunday was trying to rip me and a few others, as the one who lost in South Carolina. Do you know what one of the big differences in 2000 and 2008 is? I remember back in the 2000 primary in South Carolina, it was basically a two-man race. In that circumstance, I violated my rule of not endorsing anybody. I had already chosen George W. Bush. For the same reasons today that I didn't support McCain, I didn't support him back then.

So back in 2000 while behind the Golden EIB Microphone talking about the presidential primaries, it was easy not only to just tell you what I thought was dangerous and wrong, flawed about Senator McCain; I was also able to articulate something positive about what the guy was for. That's not the case this time around. That is, I think a very key fact in this contest is that the Drive-Bys are having to pronounce the fact that I'm beaten. Do you know how many times I've been dead and buried and proclaimed so? After the '88 presidential election, they said I was finished.

Who do you think he was referring to? Hmm.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site. New: Boston ratings breakdowns, odd NFL playoff switcheroo baffles listeners.

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately purchase, help this site.

Support us: please contribute at the Honor System box to the right.

Technorati tags:


  • Brian,

    You write a radio blog. The vast majority of radio hosts are against McCain. You would be stupid to pour cold water on that fire. I address no credibility to your analysis on the issue of McCain. I heard Rush buckle, like never before, when asked by a caller to name Romney's Conservative Bona Fides today on his show. He couldn't answer the question, nor can you. Carry on if you have the balls to run this post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 January, 2008 23:55  

  • McCain won on the independent cross-over vote in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. The fact is that he never won the republican / conservative in either state. Hopefully, Romney wins here in Florida next Tuesday. His so-called credentials are that he is a brillant financial whiz and America needs that today.
    I guess if Democrats can disengage their morality and their brains to have the Clintons sullying the White House again, I think Republicans can deal with a President Romney's decency.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 January, 2008 21:08  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger