Rush Limbaugh Becomes Scapegoat For Michigan City's Decline
Can Talk Radio Take The Blame For Michigan's Problems?
Can a city shift the blame for its long term decline to a radio talk show host? In Flint, Michigan, that appears to be the goal of an entrenched political and media establishment.
While turning outsiders into scapegoats for civic decline wasn't invented in Flint, its leaders deserve credit for both their creativity in exaggeration and sheer determination to make the charges stick.
With their campaign to blame Rush Limbaugh for the economically-depressed city's negative press coverage underway for two full weeks, there's still no end in sight. In a region with few remaining Republican leaders to blame for its downfall, El Rushbo provides a suitable substitute for desperate Democratic Party rulers.
RUSH: They're gonna bulldoze 40% of Flint, Michigan. The era of Obama has settled in. Forty percent of Flint, Michigan, is boarded-up homes. They're now using gravel to make roads in Michigan rather than concrete and asphalt. They don't have any money. Forty percent! They're going to have to bulldoze 40% of Flint, Michigan, to reduce the size because it no longer works the way it is. This is unthinkable in the United States of America. Unthinkable.
It's the era of Obama. I'm seeing things happen in this country that I thought I would never, ever see. These are the kind of things that happen in totalitarian regimes.
CALLER: Well, I don't think they're going to move back. I think there are nice suburbs of Flint where people are much happier and they can be there with their families. Probably some of the schools are better than what's in the city of Flint.
RUSH: Look, if you're going to bulldoze 40% of Flint and bulldozing 40% of Flint will not cause people to return and have it grow, why bulldoze it all? If everybody prefers to live in cities close to it?
CALLER: Well, there's people that probably enjoy living in the city. They've been there for years and I'm sure they would want to see the city improve. They probably wouldn't be against this plan. I mean, no one wants to see a bunch of people be forced out of their homes because of this, you know. But if it can eventually improve things to where people want to move there then by all means. You know?
RUSH: Now, wait. This is a new twist because the story I read said that 40% of the town needs to be bulldozed because 40% of the homes and other structures are unoccupied. Now you're talking about bulldozing homes that are occupied as well.
CALLER: Well, the areas that you're speaking of... Okay, now, I mentioned the northern part of the city, okay? There's areas where I grew up in when I was a child that now are much worse. Like I took my children into an area where I grew up when I was a baby just a couple months ago, and I want to tell you what, Rush. I was scared. I drove down that street...
RUSH: Okay, fine. Now, we can say, "Okay, it needs to be bulldozed," but nobody is going to go back there precisely because no changes will be made that led to the fact that 40% of the town is a ghost town or what have you. What bothers me about this is that this is a country that has always prided itself on growth, economic growth and economic opportunity. Now, I understand. We hear of hurricanes wiping out towns. There was a Kansas town wiped out by a tornado, and they rebuilt it. It's amazing to listen to Democrats say, "We don't have any interest in rebuilding Flint. We want to bulldoze it," and then the guy come up with the idea. Obama says, "Hey, apply your theory to 50 of our cities."
RUSH: All right, folks, I have thought about it, I've given this considerable thought. I've given this more thought in the last ten minutes than most people think about anything in their life. And I am ready to change my mind on bulldozing Flint. I say go for it. Let's just bulldoze it. Well, what made me think of this was my answer to the guy's question on bankruptcy. By the way, the first purpose of the TARP bailout was to buy up all the toxic assets, and then it was to get credit going. We haven't done either with the money. But now I'm sort of looking at bulldozing these cities as bankruptcy. They should have been let go long ago. They were down the tubes long ago. We tried propping them up with urban renewal and it didn't work. We were hoodwinked into being called names if we just let these cities go. So we kept pumping money in there, we kept pumping welfare, food stamps, all these things 'cause we loved 'em and we cared for them, but the proof that a government can't revive anything is Flint, Michigan.
What really sent Flint south was when GM shut down there and moved or left. Well, I better check. I better check if there's still GM operations in Flint. If there are, they've really been downsized. But whatever, if GM's not involved in it, whatever is the problem in Flint, Michigan, what have we done to try to save it? Every government program under the sun, and what's happened? We got boarded-up houses that now the leaders of the town say need to be bulldozed, forty percent of the town. Now, this is probably what needs to happen to a lot of California, folks, and other places where we're going in debt propping up failure. It is what it is. We can't keep pumping all this federal and state money in because we have proven that pumping federal and state money doesn't spur growth in cities or anything else. GM, I mean, if $50 billion in bailout or 20 can't save 'em, let it go. And then if Flint rises out of its own ashes, fine and dandy. There's another added benefit. Every damn one of these cities is a blue city, I'll guaran-damn-tee you, meaning mostly Democrats, so you bulldoze it and you disburse a bunch of Obama voters, it has great political future ramifications for the Republicans. Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee.
From that point, politicians and media outlets seized upon Rush's position change, immediately rewriting history to make it appear Limbaugh had proposed razing Flint, rather than the Obama-supporting Democrats who've proposed it.
Limbaugh, discussing the potential for shrinking Flint to better concentrate city services, said Tuesday he would rather wipe out parts of the city than force taxpayers to continue maintaining it.
"All right, folks, I have thought about it, I've given this considerable thought. I've given this more thought in the last ten minutes than most people think about anything in their life. And I am ready to change my mind on bulldozing Flint. I say go for it. Let's just bulldoze it," Limbaugh said in a transcript on his Web site.
Limbaugh also said cities like Flint were "down the tubes long ago."
"We tried propping them up with urban renewal and it didn't work. We were hoodwinked into being called names if we just let these cities go," he said. "So we kept pumping money in there, we kept pumping welfare, food stamps, all these things 'cause we loved 'em and we cared for them, but the proof that a government can't revive anything is Flint, Michigan."
Genesee County Treasurer Daniel Kildee said today that Limbaugh relied on bad information in making his comments about the idea of shrinking the city.
"I shouldn't be surprised but I'm disappointed with the cavalier treatment he is giving it," Kildee said. "To me, that shows he doesn't take any issue seriously."
In Flint, temporary Mayor Michael Brown, Genesee County Treasurer and County Land Bank Chief Dan Kildee and others believe that "shrinking" the city may be a solution.
"Bulldoze" the city is how Limbaugh put it. He blasted Kildee for talking with the Barack Obama administration about how the concept might play in other distressed American cities.
As we understand it, the bulldozers might move in, but they'd target derelict structures.
Here's how the city would "shrink" under the plan:
Flint has some of the nation's most vacant neighborhoods. It's largely the result of people moving out of the city, even out of the area, after more than 70,000 General Motors jobs evaporated over the years.
Some of the property was abandoned, reverted to the local or state governments for nonpayment of property taxes and ended up in the hands of the Land Bank.
With some blocks of town almost devoid of inhabitants, it might be cheaper to offer the few people left some Land Bank property in a more populated part of the city. Then, the city would be free to declare the cleared area a green zone of sorts, cut sewer service and stop maintaining the streets.
That's the "shrinking:" The city's populated footprint, the area that street crews, utility crews and police officers and firefighters must service, would shrink. Flint would save money, and the land would be open and ready for whatever development the future would bring.
Bulldozers? Yes, in a few places.
Bulldoze the city and walk away from Flint as a lost cause?
While the paper's editorial board does admit it wasn't Limbaugh's idea, attempting to justify the crusade against him because he used words like "bulldoze" is weak at best. Facing overwhelmingly difficult choices ahead, Flint should focus on upgrading local leadership rather than attacking talk show hosts who dare to comment on its problems.
Leftists Complain About Jackson Coverage, But See Smear Potential
Lefties Angry, Opportunistic Over Michael Jackson's Death
It's not generally in dispute that Michael Jackson was exploited as a child for his immense talent. Later, it was Jackson himself who was accused of predatory behavior. Now, his death provides potential opportunities to score cheap political points through false associations and unfounded smears.
Over the past several hours, many have focused on how the world has changed since Jackson's career peak in 1983-1984. One key difference today is the way nearly every key news event, especially the celebrity obit, quickly becomes politicized.
The King Of Pop's unexpected passing is clearly no different: from Al Sharpton to TMZ to left wing smear sites, many are making irrelevant "connections" that elevate liberals and slander conservatives.
And within the next 24 hours, it is a certainty that conservative talk hosts and political figures will somehow fall prey to the "gotcha" game that now surrounds these news events. The only variable will be the nature of the faux "controversy" over their reaction.
Initially, comments left at several liberal blog sites expressed anger that Jackson's death would almost certainly bump the Sanford affair off of the front pages. Here's one from TVNewser:
pinkpinkbear - 10 minutes ago
Enough of Michael Jackson.
Let's see what Gov. Sanford is up to. Nothing like getting the news off himself.
Thu Jun-25-09 07:12 PM 195. Great news for Mark Sanford
But as the evening went on, it became clear there were more appealing opportunities to both smear conservatives and use Jackson's death to reinforce the idea of Barack Obama as The Gloved One's rightful heir. As a result, Sanford was no longer the primary talking point.
In the moments following Michael Jackson's death -- so many people rushed to the Internet, that it practically stopped the entire WWW in its tracks.
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, AIM -- just a few of the scores of major web sites bombed by a tidal wave of traffic. Most of the sites still worked, but the epically high traffic numbers caused them all to move at a snail's pace.
The last time the 'net had this kind of traffic -- Obama's inauguration.
It's hard to believe there's any comparison, however: while slowdowns were generally not seen on that January day, many sites (including our own) have been inaccessible since the Jackson news first hit.
But the mission has been accomplished nonetheless: tying Michael's legacy to that of Obama.
And while some lefty sites have been carefully moderating comments that could lead to a potential backlash, others have been sloppy. Your Radio Equalizer found these smears at HuffPo, the Washington Post and the blog site of Alan Colmes:
Oh please - far be it for me to speak ill of the dead, but he was only 'king of pop' because he insisted MTV call him so to get his videos. Anyone calling him a great dancer has never seen a good broadway musical. The 'moonwalk' is just basic pantomime walking that any high school drama student can do. There is nothing in his music that was as good as the Clash, Patty Smith, the B52s or many other groups in the late 70s and early 80s. Like Rush Limbaugh, Jackson was the king of self promotion, and once he was wealthy we squandered his millions on plastic surgery and a little boy seduction park. Sadly he won't live long enough to redeem himself, but please, in the world of music jackson was a minor talent who's music will be long forgotten.
Counting All Votes Could Become Nightmare For Al Franken
AL'S DARKEST FEAR
Now, Counting Ballots Is 'Conservative'
At any time over the next several days, Minnesota's Supreme Court is expected to rule in Democrat Al Franken's favor, potentially putting an end to a challenge by Norm Coleman over disputed ballot counts that suspiciously placed the former Air America host over the top.
Within moments of that decision, Democrats are expected to push to seat Franken in the US Senate, regardless of whether Coleman, the previous incumbent, presses on with his case.
With the Minnesota Supreme Court about to rule on the U.S. Senate race, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is asking to examine more than 10,000 rejected absentee ballots.
Along with Hubbard Television stations in Duluth and Austin, the stations requested from election officials around the state access to the disputed ballots and the envelopes they were sent in on Monday.
In the letter, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS assured election officials that, "We fully respect the sanctity of the private ballot, and the importance of voter confidentiality in the electoral process."
As part of the project, we want to count the ballots and try to determine how different counties decide to reject absentee ballots.
Though this unofficial, independent analysis won't affect the outcome and if it occurs at all, the count would be well after the state's high court ruling. What it does offer voters, however, is a fresh reminder that a highly arbitrary process has potentially placed an election day loser in the US Senate.
Franken's apologists clearly aren't interested in a full accounting of the approximately 10,000 disputed ballots, they want their candidate quickly seated, with no questions asked. That's why the left's talking pointsfocus on Hubbard's motivations, rather than the need for a complete account:
About 10,000 ballots were rejected and not counted for one reason or another during the statewide hand recount and election contest trial.
The request, filed under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) by TV stations KSTP, KSTC, WDIO, KSAX and KAAL, comes as an order is expected at any time in Coleman’s appeal of his election-contest defeat to the state Supreme Court.
It also comes only days after rightwing blogger Michael Brodkorb filed similar requests with several cities and counties. Brodkorb is soon to drop his blogging to assume the position of deputy chairman with the Republican Party of Minnesota.
Hubbard Broadcasting owner Stanley Hubbard is a major contributor to the Republican Party and its candidates, including Coleman. He used the airwaves for which he holds a license to editorialize in favor of the conduct of law enforcement agencies’ conduct during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Indications are he lent his 125-foot yacht for a “Coleman for Senate Donor Appreciation Cruise.”
How is counting all of the ballots suddenly "rightwing" (sic)?
One lesson that will be taken from the race, regardless of its final outcome, is that conservative activists can be more easily worn down than their liberal counterparts.
Most on the right abandoned this cause months ago, not because they were convinced Franken won the race, but as a result of lower court decisions and hardball tactics by the left. Many bloggers no longer cover developments in the case, though the state court decision will prove impossible to ignore.
That said, some remain in the fight, according to NewsMax:
Embattled former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman has at least one diehard advocate in his corner: Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who says he'd be happy to support a further Coleman appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
That assumes, of course, that the Minnesota Supreme Court rejects Coleman's current appeal of an earlier panel's ruling that declared Democrat Al Franken the winner by 312 votes out of about 3 million ballots cast.
"We'll do everything we can to support Norm as long as he has appellate remedies to purse," said Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
A ruling by the state's highest court could come any day now. Most legal experts expect the justices to announce their decision before the July 4 recess.
"I'm not suggesting Norm has this plan in mind," Cornyn hastened to add, "because frankly I think he's hopeful it turns out well at the state Supreme Court."
As it stands today, not many believe Norm Coleman will be able to reclaim his seat, or that Franken can be stopped. Conservatives can still learn from this potentially-failed effort, however: next time, toughen up and truly gear up for a long, ugly fight.
For "Morning Joe", the backstabbing has officially backfired.
Over the past several weeks, this site has been tracking the attempt by MSNBC's Joe Scarborough to make money bashing his former friends in any and every available public venue. With a new book to peddle, could attacking onetime colleagues from his conservative days fuel sales? New data from the publishing world, as well as radio and TV, provide the answer.
But in new data released late this week, Scarborough has struck out in every category: TV, radio and publishing. His widely-touted The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise has bombed, selling just 6432 copies since its 9 June release, according to new Bookscan figures. At Amazon, it has already dropped out of the top 100, currently ranked 166.
By contrast, conservative author Mark Levin remained in first place after three full months, according to Bookscan, selling another 35,595 units to push closer to a possible one million sales mark in the weeks and months to come.
In radio and TV, the news for Scarborough wasn't any better: in newly-released Arbitron PPM data for the month of May, Joe's radio talk show generated a mere 1.6 share in the key 25-54 demographic. With that number including one hour of Don Imus's morning show, it reveals a huge gap between WABC's more liberal morning programming and its highly-successful conservative afternoon lineup featuring Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Levin.
Finally, Morning Joe's MSNBC ratings aren't exactly something to crow about, either: on Wednesday of this week, the most recent Nielsen ratings your Radio Equalizer could obtain, Scarborough turned in a weak 0.3 household rating, which translates to an average of 277,000 average viewers and just 93,000 in the 25-54 demo.
These numbers don't lie and the lesson for any budding Morning Joe-types out there is clear: the audience isn't stupid. They can sniff out a backstabbing weasel with remarkable speed, putting an early end to Scarborough's transparent get-rich-quick scheme.
"They’re driving this kind of hatred," Kennedy, co-host of the Ring of Fire radio show, said in a brief session with reporters Friday after his speech.
"If you listen to right-wing radio, including so-called Christian channels, there is little to do with Jesus Christ’s values," he said.
Kennedy had been asked what he thought was the reason for the increase in killings such as Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and last month’s killing of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kan.
Kennedy was Friday night’s keynote speaker for a longstanding annual memorial to Evers, the Mississippi NAACP leader who was killed outside his home in Jackson on June 12, 1963, during Robert F. Kennedy’s term as attorney general.
What Kennedy fails to point out, however, is that his own network has long been a bastion of hate, much of it born out of ratings desperation, a need to tear down successful political opponents and just plain mean-spiritedness.
Here at the Radio Equalizer, we've spent years documenting examples of hate speech from "progressive" radio. On any given day, a simple listen to their programming reveals personal attacks, slurs and sleazy misrepresentations.
In fact, on the very day Kennedy was pumping up the rhetoric in Jackson, two Air America hosts were providing what sadly is just another day in the warped world of libtalk.
Yes, at one point, Montel tries to weasel out of the bestiality accusation, but quickly backtracks right back to his original point.
Also on Friday, fellow Air America talker Ron Reagan continued his recent trend of trying to break free from his reputation as a notoriously boring host with a (scripted?) personal tirade against Rush Limbaugh.
Again, here's the exclusive Radio Equalizer clip and transcript:
REAGAN: Right, what America really needs now is health advice from a guy whose weight fluctuates between Michelin Tire Man and the Fuji Blimp.
Exercisers are straining, straining the healthcare system? Are you sure you’re not confusing that with cigar-chomping, Oxycontin-abusing hypertenses of the body mass index of Madison Square Garden, straining the furniture they’re sitting on?
(Then plays audio clip of Limbaugh talking about exercise and weight control).
REAGAN: Don’t tell me about weight relatively under control! You’ve got man-boobs you can spin in other directions! If you don’t know your doctor’s name, it is because Oedipus Fat has gummed up your brain cells!
While personal attacks against Limbaugh from the left are a daily occurrence, too numerous even to mention here, Reagan's childish rant smacks of a particular brand of desperation. As a supposed "intellectual" who has always held himself above others, even in the face of relentless career failure, Ron Jr is clearly demanding our attention.
Does Kennedy believe Air America's own content should be held up as the right tone for public discourse in this country? When he's busy pointing fingers, they sure do appear to pointing right back at himself.
Gallup Data, Conservative Book Sales, Ratings Underscore Talk Radio's Potential
FIGHTING THE TIDE
When Will Some Radio Execs Finally Grasp Talk's Power?
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, why are some radio executives still fighting conservative talk radio's success?
Returning from a break today, Rush Limbaugh made a crack about industry holdouts, twenty years after his show reshaped broadcasting:
RUSH: The views expressed by the host on this program documented to be almost always right 99.1% of the time. However, the views expressed by the host on this program may not represent the staff nor management of this station. Even after 20 years, there are holdouts. But soon we'll have them all in the fold.
Though simply meant as a joke unrelated to the topic at hand, it couldn't have been more relevant and timely. Somehow, despite years of solid ratings for conservative talk, it faces constant pressure from within by those who wish to water it down:
In New York City, for example, ailing Citadel Communications has undermined WABC's blockbuster noon-9pm programming bloc featuring Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin with a weak morning lineup including fading establishment suck-up Don Imus and sleazy MSNBC squishmeister Joe Scarborough.
A DCRTVer tells us that this morning on "Imus," Senator John Kerry, during his guest spot, told Don Imus that his show in DC via WJZW gets interrupted for "local and stuff." A local radio listener tells DCRTV: "I think those were the senator's words. I expected him to say 'for music,' but he seemed more upset by the ABC/Citadel news breaks. He asked Imus to look into that so-called problem, and Imus said he wasn't aware of it." Several months ago, WJZW started mixing-in oldies tunes with Imus talk segments, rather than carrying the NYC-based Imus's talk uninterrupted, in hopes of improving the station's poor morning drive ratings.....
And in Boston, WTKK-FM management has repeatedly and actively engaged in a campaign of on-air host censorship, culminating in the temporary removal of afternoon drive talker Jay Severin after he made comments considered derogatory toward Mexican-Americans. Though generally known as a libertarian rather than conservative, Severin has been especially critical of Obama, which could have been one of the triggers for his recent public scolding.
WTKK's lineup, which includes Imus, is increasingly non-conservative in nature. Despite its big budget for local talk, owner Greater Media's programming malpractice has resulted in disappointingly low overall ratings.
We don't need to make the case for conservative talk's large audience, that is commonly understood. Where we can add fuel to the fire, however, is with new data that underscores its huge potential listenership base:
RUSH: This is why the left is afraid of Sarah Palin, folks, this is why they're trying to destroy her. Nobody else on the Republican side excites the Republican base like she does. I don't mean to insult anybody out there. Some great people on our side, but this ought to have specific impact here on our conservative media which is wandering off the reservation continually saying we gotta get rid of Reagan.
If I were Dick Cheney I would think about suing Leon Panetta for defamation. Panetta says it's almost as if former Vice President Cheney would like to see another attack on the United States. That's patently absurd.
RUSH: You know, back to that poll, the Gallup poll. Conservatives are the single largest ideological group in the country. Liberals are 21% and independents are 35%. If I were running the Republican Party, you know what it would tell me? And if I were in the conservative media, and if I really wanted to win the next series of elections, as Randall Hoven here of the American Thinker says, "Here is how you do it: get 40% of the vote by being genuinely conservative, without apology," and that's where you get your (quote, unquote) "Reagan Democrats." Just be pedal-to-the-metal conservative and don't apologize for it. "Then go after one third of the 'moderates' (thus getting another 12% of the vote, for a 52% majority) by pushing responsibility, competence and integrity.
"Heck, maybe you'll get half the moderates, for a total of 58%, almost what Reagan got in 1984." Forty percent of the people of this country identify themselves as "conservative." Twenty-one percent identify themselves as liberal. This is why I closed the program on Friday telling you I still have faith.
I still have faith in the people of this country -- and if you look at the campaign of 2008, the 40% of the American people who were conservative had nobody to vote for! And if the Republican Party keeps up, they're not going to offer anybody to vote for. And that's why the left is so scared to death of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin excites this 40% of Americans that are conservatives. Of course, the blue-blood, country club, Rockefeller Republicans and the media and the Democrats make fun of her and say that she's a dunce and she doesn't have any experience, she's uninformed and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But all you have to do...
Which approach resonates with the public? The results speak for themselves.
As conservative viewpoints fuel book sales, polls, radio and TV ratings, one would imagine radio executives would be eager to grab their share of this loyal constituency. But some corporate suits just can't get past their own personal ideology, leading to a self-destructive urge to fight successful programming from within.
Perhaps, as Rush joked today, they will finally get it. But will that epiphany come too late to save their respective companies and careers?
On yesterday's radio program, however, Big Eddie managed to sink to a new low. Calling conservative host / blogger / author Hugh Hewitt "un-American", he laid out how he would treat him as a guest in Schultz's own home.
Here's the exclusive Radio Equalizerclip, followed by a transcript:
SCHULTZ (16:22): They worship money. They don't value human life the way they claim they do. That's a hoodwink.
SCHULTZ: So I guess Hugh Hewitt has never taken out a loan in his life. He's never had to depend on anybody else. He's probably the worst neighbor in the neighborhood. That's just a guess, I don't know that.
But I'd bring him over for a cocktail party. Sure, then I'd urinate on him, 'cause that's all he's worth.
Anybody who talks like that about the American worker is not an American, is anti-American and wants to see this country fail.
Does this kind of language at all trouble our friends at the state-run NBC network? Without a hint of irony, Schultz features a nightly segment called "Psycho Talk".
So far, the corporate suits have been willing to overlook an awful lot. Will that continue indefinitely?
Libtalker Roseanne Barr Denounces Obama On Leftist Radio Program
NO HOLDS BARR-ED
Roseanne: 'Everybody's On The (Obama) Kool-Aid'
Now that he's in office, should dedicated Obamists support the president even as key campaign promises are broken and empty rhetoric becomes the order of the day? While many liberal talk hosts may be willing to do so, Roseanne Barr isn't one of them.
The Southern California-based libtalker / actress / blogger shocked fellow lefty Stephanie Miller during the latter's Friday show with a blunt assessment of hopeandchange.
Here's the exclusiveRadio Equalizer clip and transcript:
MILLER (28:35): How are you liking the new Obama Presidency?
BARR: I don’t at all. I just don’t at all. If you want to know what I think, go to read my blog, rosanneworld.com. And I don’t at all. Basically his speech, his you know joke of a speech.
BARR: Huh? Because it’s just Bush Doc... continuing, Bush Doctine with absolutely no change at all. It’s very frightening.
MILLER: How do you figure? I thought the tone was completely different.
BARR: He said nothing.
MILLER: He said nothing?
BARR: He said absolutely nothing. No, he didn’t.
MILLER: What were you hoping for?
BARR: I was hoping for you know some change. Remember the reason why the guy got voted in? I was hoping for some change and for it to start there in the Middle East because that’s why everything in the world is screwed up including our economy. Instead, he said from here we’re going to grandfather in all of these old settlements. They’ll stay in place. But, you know in the future maybe we won’t allow anymore settlements. This is after what they just did in Gaza over there. They’re (Israel) never held responsible for you know war crimes and this government backs and it makes me sick.
MILLER: But yeah. He’s (Obama) clearly taking a lot stronger line with Israel then previous administrations.
BARR: No he’s isn’t! He hasn’t demanded one. He uses strong rhetoric. He talks harsh and carries the smallest stick in the world. He doesn’t do anything. He hasn’t even you know, don’t get me started.
MILLER: Well, who knew we were going to get into a spat this early in the conversation.
BARR: I’m just very upset about it and I…(Miller interrupts)
MILLER: Well, obviously he you know is getting us out of Iraq, he’s closing Gitmo. You can’t do either of those overnight. How can you say he’s the same as Bush?
BARR: He’s not doing that!
MILLER: What do you mean, he’s not doing that?
BARR: He’s not going to close Gitmo.
MILLER: Look at, he’s trying.
BARR: Well, he’s not doing it dude.
MILLER: Well, he can’t do it alone. We’ve got a bunch of.
BARR: Come on, everybody’s on the Kool Aid.
MILLER: We’ve got a bunch of...
BARR: Come on, everybody’s on the Kool Aid. I just, you know. Let’s not even go into it then. Just go to my blog and read what Noam Chomsky said about it. There’s some truth there. There might be a glimpse of truth in the U.S. media there.
MILLER: You’re cranky this morning, but I still love you.
Miller was clearly caught off-guard by the idea that anyone from the left would want to hold Obama accountable for his promises and rhetoric.
Last year, Air America Radio considered hiring Barr, but passed, leaving her with a local program in California. But they may have made a big mistake: as Obama's popularity inevitably fades, an independent left-wing voice probably has a much greater chance of success than the others with their partisan talking points.
Hoping to ride the wave of mega-book sales is another "conservative", MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, but the reaction from our mainstream media friends is quite different this time: the notorious, shifty-eyed squish is enjoying generous helpings of press attention for The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise.
But that's not the only weapon in "Morning Joe's" arsenal: by attacking onetime allies, Scarborough is hoping to shift attention away from his own lack of base-building core principles. An added benefit to the rampant back-stabbing is further laudatory media coverage, especially when it is seen as damaging key conservative leaders.
At the same time, Scarborough nominally pretends to remain a conservative and Republican, while utilizing rhetoric commonly associated with liberals and Democrats. Joe believes he's the smartest guy in the room and has therefore fooled us all.
But can Rush-bashing from the "right" actually sell books? Scarborough seems to believe so. Just take a look at his interview with the New York Post, which ran in Sunday's edition:
What do you make of the party's response to Sonia Sotomayor?
It's absolute insanity. Most Americans saw a picture of an African-American president and a Hispanic-American as his nominee and were cheered by that. It doesn't help the party to have some of its thought leaders going out there calling her a racist. Right now, there is a cultural problem with a party whose faces have been Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, George Bush and Rush Limbaugh.
Who is the party's thought leader?
I don't know. I would say the one conservative voice is Charles Krauthammer.
What do think is animating Dick Cheney's sudden visibility?
I think he was extremely frustrated serving eight years under a president who could not express himself articulately. But the party won't regenerate itself if it looks backward. It can't be run by those who dismantled Reagan's conservative coalition.
Rush Limbaugh—entertainer or a serious voice of American conservatism? And "both" is an unacceptable answer.
I consider him to be a lot like Jon Stewart. He has a show and gets paid well to do that show. They're both entertainers who get paid to comment on political happenings in a way that reinforces the views of their audiences in an entertaining way. That being said, in 1994 when I ran for Congress, Rush Limbaugh had a very significant impact on a lot of congressional elections like mine. I think he's become more of an entertainer since then.
To those who find Joe's answers inconsistent and baffling (see the Cheney question above), it may be that the real Joe Scarborough just isn't terribly bright.
Since he shares the medium (and even the station, WABC in New York) with Limbaugh, what does that make him? Another mere "entertainer"?
Whether actual conservatives will be gullible enough to purchase Scarborough's book is anyone's guess. Between cable television, radio and publishing, however, Morning Joe had better quickly find success somewhere, or his career will have all of the potential of that dead intern once found in his office.