The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 January 2006

Alito Hearings And Talk Radio


Tears Change Everything

Until yesterday,
US Senate confirmation hearings for Sam Alito's Supreme Court nomination didn't appear to be providing talk radio with an especially compelling topic, aside from the occasional sound bite of Sen. Ted Kennedy's jerky antics.

Clearly, public interest lies somewhere between previous grillings of John Roberts (boring) and Clarence Thomas (edge of your seat excitement).

Wednesday, however, as tears emerged from an overwhelmed Mrs. Alito, everything changed. Suddenly, Democrats who had clearly overplayed a very weak hand against the judge were exposed as mere garden-variety bullies.

Now, thanks to Teddy and his desperate friends, talk radio and the blogosphere have been handed a winning issue. And beyond sound bites, there is now an overriding theme: that Democrats are losing the battle to prove the built-in evil of every Republican nominee.

Writing for, Peggy Noonan sums it up best:

But this one is all kind of over, isn't it?

It definitively ended when Mrs. Alito walked out in tears. But to me it seemed over on day one. The Democrats on the committee seemed forlorn in a way, as if they knew deep in their hearts that nobody's listening.

Two decades ago they could make their speeches and fake their indignation and accuse a Robert Bork of being a racist chauvinist woman hater and their accusations would ring throughout the country.

But now the media they relied on have lost their monopoly. Everyone who's fired at gets to fire back, shot for shot.

It's all changed.

Other than to give talk radio and blogs a perpetual punching bag, of what use is Sen. Kennedy these days? Noonan also pegs Teddy's evolution into a cartoon caricature:

In this, in the hearings, he (Sen. Biden) is unlike Ted Kennedy in that he doesn't seem driven by some obscure malice--Uh, I, uh, cannot, uh, remembuh why I hate you, Judge Alioto, but there, uh, must be a good reason and I will, um, damn well find it.

When he peers over his glasses at Judge Alito he is like an old woman who's unfortunately senile and quite sure the teapot on the stove is plotting against her.

Next up for talk radio: watching Democrats retreat, as the backlash over heavy-handed antics threatens a significant dip in their approval ratings. Noonan's right, this ended with Mrs. Alito's tears.

More top-notch coverage (and fodder) at NRO's Media Blog. Captain Ed, who has been blogging from the scene of the crime, also provides an incredible level of detail.

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  • Biden has effectively admitted defeat, says they should no longer bother with committee hearings and send nominees straight to the floor as they did prior to 1925.

    By Blogger eLarson, at 12 January, 2006 11:56  

  • I wonder if lefty blogs have started accusing Alito's wife of staging the tears at Karl Rove's request.

    By Blogger Van Helsing, at 12 January, 2006 13:10  

  • Silly Rabbit.

    Karl didn't ASK.....

    He stomped on her toes...

    RealPro's like Karl don't take any chances.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 12 January, 2006 13:24  

  • Great post. I love Peggy Noonan and this was a good article. I loved what she said about Biden and Kennedy.

    I was doing okay putting up with the bloviating senators until they made Mrs. Alito cry and then I got mad. I don't think Middle America is impressed with Chuckie, Biden and Kennedy making a woman cry.

    By Blogger Dionne, at 12 January, 2006 13:31  

  • Yep, it's happened. The black-helicopter crowd is claiming that Lindsay Graham set the whole thing up. (Remember, he supposedly coached Alito pre-hearing.).

    By Blogger BF, at 12 January, 2006 14:27  

  • give me a break. women cry all the time for no reason. i'm sure that all of you have made women cry before. according to conservative ally pat robertson, that's what makes women the weaker sex - the fact that they are emotionally unstable. don't hate the messenger, i'm just relaying stale conservative talking points.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 12 January, 2006 14:46  

  • don't hate the messenger, i'm just relaying stale conservative talking points.

    Stale is right. Please turn in your decoder ring at the desk.

    By Blogger eLarson, at 12 January, 2006 15:09  

  • Brian!! i'm waiting for the latest talk radio ratings.the n,y, ratings came out 3 days ago, i want to see you'r analises.

    By Blogger joe, at 12 January, 2006 15:16  

  • Poor old bag. Lindsey Graham made Mrs Alito cry. I wonder if she was coached by Lindsey in their tiger team sessions.

    BTW, didn't you love how Spector give's Kennedy a lecture about the difference between sending a memo and receiving one, until Kennedy produced Spector's response. Arlen is such a dork.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 12 January, 2006 20:31  

  • Whoa there Dicky. Alito's wife is an 'old bag' and The Swimmer, Kennedy, is some type of hero to you?? Hmmmmm, best check that oxygen tank, it appears that you might be a little ...confused.....

    By Blogger wise_n_texas, at 13 January, 2006 02:18  

  • Why the people of Taxachusettes continue to elect this drunken socialist is beyond me! Then again he is a cog of the BPM--The Boston Political Machine as is Le Poodle Kerry!

    "The black-helicopter crowd is claiming that Lindsay Graham set the whole thing up."

    Saw "Your World" yesterday and Cavuto was interviewing George Schaltter, the guy who produced Laugh-In if you remember that show--sure enough that's what he said or something like it. Typical Vietnam era 60's liberal pansy!

    "Alito's wife is an 'old bag'"

    I guess this sums up the "Unhinged" left if I may quote one Michelle Malkin!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 13 January, 2006 06:31  

  • And the Republican Noise Machine very cleverly never says which Senator was talking when the crying episode began --- Lindsay Graham (R). Wouldn't want a little facts get in the way of a good spin line.

    By Blogger Robert, at 13 January, 2006 17:21  

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