The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 February 2008

Conservative Talk Hosts Begin To Openly Support Romney


Fearing McCain Super Tuesday Blowout, Talkers Back Romney


Just 10 days ago,
your Radio Equalizer caught heat from Bill O'Reilly for asserting that radio talk show hosts are generally reluctant to make outright endorsements during presidential primary season. During the O'Reilly Factor segment, he wondered why talkers would be so outspoken on any number of issues, yet draw the line at backing a particular person.

For many, yours truly essentially responded, backing the wrong horse early in the process could divide the audience and damage one's credibility should the candidate go down in flames. Were a major scandal to erupt, the talker could find himself with a lot of explaining to do.

In the last few days, however, many conservative talkers have been forced to reassess their cautious posture, as the possibility of a McCain Super Tuesday sweep sends a sudden, collective smack upside their heads.

Though this could be a sign they've waited a bit too long to join the endorsement party, it's more likely their shifting view is a reflection of the conservative core audience, which is now terrified by the thought of Arizona's angriest hothead emerging as the GOP's nominee.

That's why a number of major talkers have shifted rather quickly from speaking well of Romney to outright support for the former Massachusetts governor. From the Boston Globe earlier today, here's Mark Levin's thumbs-up:

Mitt Romney, making what could be his last stand on Super Tuesday, is counting on conservative commentators sounding the alarm about the GOP front-runner, John McCain.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been beating the drum for weeks. Today, the Romney camp sent out a column posted Thursday by the National Review, which has endorsed the former Massachusetts governor.

"The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our conservative principles is Mitt Romney," wrote conservative activist Mark R. Levin. "I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter. If conservatives don't unite behind Romney at this stage, and become vocal in their support for him, then they will get McCain as their Republican nominee and probably a Democrat president."

And from The Politico:

Talk radio hosts, in particular, are manning the broadcast barricades in a last-ditch effort to block the coronation of a man they view as little more than a Democratic collaborator.

Rush Limbaugh, of course, is the loudest voice in this opinionated chorus.

He has been joined this past week by increasingly fretful media colleagues such as Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.

Ingraham and Hannity said outright that they are supporting Romney.

“The fact that you have [these conservatives] speaking out demonstrates that people are now perceiving this as a two-man race,” said Carl Forti, Romney’s national political director.

The hope is that these high-profile figures will sound the alarm and rouse conservatives who, either out of uncertainty over whom to support or a lack of enthusiasm for any one candidate, are about to wake up and find the despised McCain as their standard-bearer.

With McCain now boldly predicting he will win the GOP nomination, expect hosts to seize up his latest cocky comments in the final hours before Super Tuesday. From CBS News:

NASHVILLE, TN -- As John McCain continues to pick up endorsements his numbers in the polls continue to remain strong, McCain sounds confident about his chances for the GOP nomination on Tuesday and at times even for the presidency.

“I know that I can win the presidency once I win your nomination,” he told an audience today at a rally in Nashville.

After the event he tried to reel back on his bold statement. “I hope I am not too confident about Tuesday. I am guardedly optimistic. I think we’re doing well,” he said.

“I sense a feeling of momentum but we’re not taking anything for granted. That’s why we’re campaigning literally 24/7 between now and Tuesday. We are taking nothing for granted.”

McCain said he’d assess the overall political situation after Tuesday, but then his confidence came through again.

“I assume that I will get the nomination of the party. I assume unifying our party is a very critical item and I believe we can do that and get everybody together and working together. And I’m confident I can do that.”

As for Romney, the question is whether talk hosts are truly behind him or merely turning that way in eleventh- hour, anti- McCain desperation. Mitt has an opportunity to rally conservatives behind him, but he needs to seal the deal once and for all, moving beyond questions about his past political positions.

UPDATE: Romney buys ads on Rush Limbaugh Show, hopes to capture Super Tuesday votes

UPDATE: conservative talk radio fans campaign for Romney

UPDATE: KSFO's Melanie Morgan on the trouble with McCain

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately purchase, help to further this site's efforts.

Support this site! Please contribute at the Honor System box to the right. Thanks again!

Technorati tags:


Post a Comment

<< Home

Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger