The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 December 2007

CA Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata Carjacked In Oakland


Extremist California Senator Becomes Crime Victim

Were the attackers illegal aliens? After a weekend carjacking forced a well- known Californian politician out of his vehicle at gunpoint, that's the question that begs to be answered.

For California Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland), that could prove an especially embarrassing revelation, given his history of derogatory name- calling toward those who support border enforcement.

In fact, it was just last year that Perata, a Bay Area extremist, was in the news for slamming the citizens of San Diego. Using a racist slur generally associated with poor, white Southerners, he called them "a bunch of crackers."

That outburst enraged some in Southern California and had San Diego- based radio talk show hosts firing back with everything in their arsenals.

Interestingly, though Perata claims to have had a good look at the assailants in two different settings, no description of the suspects has been reported in the Bay Area media. Has he refused to supply this information, or are they covering for him in order to avoid political fallout?

Were the carjackers white, there's little doubt we would have already been alerted to this fact. With the perps still on the loose, however, the general public has been given absolutely no details regarding their appearance.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Perata said he was waiting for the traffic light to change when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a man walking up to him. The senator, who has campaigned against assault weapons and crime, said he mistook the man for a panhandler or window washer at first.

But then the man began pulling a mask over his nose and pointed an automatic handgun at him "gangster style" - holding it sideways - before tapping it on his window and bellowing at him, "Get out of the mother- car."

Perata said he told the man, "I'm outta here," and jumped out of the car, which police say might have been targeted for its 22-inch rims. The man got inside and took off in the car, which also had Perata's cell phone in it.

The carjacker was followed by an accomplice in a gold 2000 Chevrolet Camaro that was stolen in San Leandro on Friday in an incident in which shots were fired, authorities said.

Oakland police Lt. Lawrence Green said police do not believe the assailants recognized Perata on Saturday. The senator told officers that he believed he saw the men at a Union 76 gas station minutes earlier on Broadway Terrace, so it is possible that they followed him to 51st and Shattuck before carjacking him, Green said.

Perata said he was preparing to get on the freeway when he was carjacked and his was the third car waiting at the red light. The gunman was no more than 3 feet away, and at one point, Perata said, he feared that if the assailant panicked and fired a round while fumbling to get his mask over his face, "that would have been the end of me.

From the Los Angeles Times, here's another interesting nugget:

Police say there was no indication that the assailants recognized Perata, a native of the East Bay, or noticed his car's exempt license plate, which hinted that the car belonged to a state official.

Rather, police think it was the 22-inch chrome rims on the senator's vehicle that caught the carjackers' attention.

"The car is kind of sporty for a senator," said Oakland Police Lt. Lawrence Green. "When the captain called and described it, I said, 'We're talking about the suspect's car or the senator's car?' "

Perata said the chrome rims came with the car when he bought it. The car is officially owned by the Senate, and Perata said he pays for its use beyond his car allowance.

Ever the hypocrite, the gun- toting Perata (though it wasn't with him during the carjacking) still intends to continue his lifelong quest to grab yours:

(Los Angeles Times) Asked if it is a common occurrence in Oakland, Green replied, "Senators getting robbed? Not too often." Carjackings, on the other hand, happen about once a day, he said.

Perata says he doesn't anticipate any new legislation coming out of the incident.

"I've been doing gun control for 20 years, and this confirms what I've always believed," he said. "This is simply a punctuation of my long career on this issue.

Regardless of whether the carjackers are here legally or not, the fact that the incident has only caused this elected hypocrite to further dig in his heels on ill- considered legislation says a great deal about the twisted stubbornness that plagues Bay Area "progressives", no matter how badly their initiatives fail.

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Barack Obama Says Rush Limbaugh Is Unreachable


Obama Uses Limbaugh To Score Last-Minute Points

For well over a year, we've been subjected to a dippy "politics of hope" campaign by Barack Obama, one supposedly about bringing Americans together, rather than the "usual" divisiveness.

Over the weekend, however, Obama let his true feelings be known to potential Iowa caucusgoers. Though it received little attention between post- holiday sales and the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's slaying, his so- called "reality check" was caught by two reporters.

From Don Frederick of the Los Angeles Times:

Barack Obama, realist

He's promoted the "politics of hope." He pressed Americans to "turn the page" and embrace a new, less-partisan approach to grappling with the nation's problems. And, of course, Barack Obama has offered himself as just the guy with the unifying skills to make this happen.

He stresses, as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, that he does not want to "pit red America against blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America."

Outreach has its limits, however. And The Times Maria La Ganga was at an Obama rally today in Fort Madison, Iowa, when the candidate provided a reality check.

"I'm not trying to persuade Rush Limbaugh that I'm going to be a good president," he cautioned his listeners.

We doubt that even his most ardent backers thought that was in the realm of possibility.

Here, MSNBC provides a more substantial quote:

To stress its electability argument, Obama's campaign released a series of poll numbers that showed him leading Republicans in a two-way race in a general election.

But even Obama acknowledged that for a progressive Democrats to win wide margins among conservative Republicans may be a pipe dream. "I understand that there are going to be Republican operatives that don't want to know what I'm going to say. I'm not trying to persuade Rush Limbaugh that I'm going to be a good president; you know I know he's not voting for me. I'm not trying to you know persuade the chief lobbyist for Exxon mobile about why we need to free ourselves from the dependence on foreign oil. He's not going to be persuaded," Obama said.

In talking about the power of hope, Obama also stepped outside of himself to take a look at his own candidacy in which his race could be a handicap if he were to run as the first African-American president.

"I'm a black guy running for president named Barack Obama. I must be hopeful."

Though the mainstream media can't (or won't) see through Obama's transparent ploy to divide and conquer the voting public under a "realism" rubric, what he's really up to should be obvious to the rest of us.

While Limbaugh certainly isn't likely to vote for Obama, should the latter emerge victorious from upcoming primaries, there are ways to diffuse criticisms from Rush and other talk hosts.

How about defining where you stand on the issues, Mr Obama? So far, modeling your campaign after Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's vague "Together We Can" effort of 2006 has left many people, not just conservative Republicans, wondering what exactly would occur during an Obama presidency.

Though it isn't surprising to see candidates in a dead- heat match- up stoop to such divisive tactics at the last minute, the idea of Obama as a "unifier" ought to be put to rest for good.

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28 December 2007

Libtalkers Jump On Conspiracy Theories Regarding Bhutto Assassination


Libtalkers Play Kooky 'Keep Up With The Jonesers' Game

In the 36 hours since revered Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was murdered in cold blood while fighting for her country's future, our nation's liberal talk show hosts have been engaged in a battle of their own: a race to see which one can cook up the most outrageous conspiracy theory.

Which one can pin the attack most convincingly on the Bush Administration? Who can best blame our involvement in Iraq for her death? And who can tear apart the no- bullet theory?

Because the stakes are so high, there has been a big incentive to be creative. After all, the host who can best rally the nutroots just might survive into the new year!

Previously, we've covered the Blame- Bush Brigade in the Democrat Party, led by Senators Feingold and Dodd.

Leading the pack was the Reverend Al Sharpton, who went straight for Bush's throat in response to news of Bhutto's slaying: "and has the past activities of this administration helped to lead us to the brink of something deadly and dangerous and clearly a threat to even American lives?" (Thursday 1pm hour)

Hey, at least it took Sharpton away from the topic of Al Sharpton for a moment or two!

Filling in for extremist kook Lionel, Lee Rayburn also went directly for Bush:

RAYBURN: What does this mean? It means that a region on this planet, this ever- shrinking planet, that we were supposed to stabilize with our military action. The Bush Administration [wasn't] after spreading democracy. They knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. If there is an argument to be made for anything other than securing oil for the next twenty- five years, it is that they were trying to stabilize the Middle East through their incursion into Iraq and their occupation of Iraq and their war in Afghanistan. They were supposed to stabilize the Middle East, and they planned to do this at their first Cabinet meeting, [before 9/11]. They were dividing up the oil fields, according to Paul O'Neill, at their first Cabinet meeting, in the beginning of 2001. The intent of this administration from the very beginning was to occupy the Middle East, was to have our way there and the neocons -- am I wrong? -- insisted.

(LATER IN HOUR ONE) A nuclear state is destabilized, in a region that we were, with our military might and our moral right, were going to bring stability through our occupation of Iraq and spreading democracy like margarine and we have failed. I don't know how else you'd read it this morning."

Not to be left out of the party, ultra- wacky Mike "Violence" Malloy conveniently pretended al-Qaeda didn't exist:

MALLOY: Bhutto was obviously assassinated today by some arm of some intelligence agency, either ours or Pakistan's or Britain's or possible even Israel's. I don't think it would be India, I don't think it would be China. Who does that leave? These are the usual suspects.

(LATER IN HOUR): Every time (Deputy Secretary Of State John) Negroponte goes someplace - have you noticed this? - the violence that erupts behind him, well, that's just another stupid-ass conspiracy, Malloy, don't go there! (and this violence is) ...of a particular kind, of a targeted type - death squads, assassinations, removal of people who need to be removed.

Never one to be left behind, Ed "Heading To Manitoba" Schultz kicked in with his own theory on today's program:

SCHULTZ: You can make the case that both al Qaeda and Musharraf would benefit from Benazir Bhutto being offed. You can make the case that the United States, the war hawks in the United States, benefitted from her being offed because they've never seen a war they didn't love and this is a chance for more intervention.

While there's no doubt these hosts are engaged in an eleventh- hour game of career survival, shouldn't they be held accountable nonetheless for spreading conspiracy theories that lack even a shred of hard evidence? And how do they expect to build a political movement around blaming George Bush and the United States for every bit of misfortune that strikes anywhere in the world?

Desperation is no excuse for reckless behavior, on or off the air.

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27 December 2007

Chris Dodd Blasts Administration Over Bhutto Slaying


Dodd Goes Unhinged Over Bhutto Death

Making the earlier words of fellow Democrat Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sound tame by comparison, Chris Dodd took a spin on the Unhinged Expressway this afternoon, laying blame for Benazir Bhutto's death squarely on the shoulders of President Bush.

During an interview with libtalker Ed Schultz that occurred two hours after Feingold's, Dodd didn't use the slightest bit of discretion in his uber- partisan attack on Bush:

DODD: It reflects once again the misdirection in my view of the (Bush) Administration on focusing on Iraq and Iran. I've been saying for months that Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve more attention.

It's still the epicenter of international terrorism, of where Osama bin Laden is, here. And yet the administration continues to focus its efforts, its resources, its time and effort on Iraq and Iran.

Here's a YouTube video of the interview segment in question:

As was the case with Feingold earlier today, Dodd's on- air statements before a liberal audience don't match up at all with his official statement on Bhutto's passing:

Washington, DC- Senator and Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd today expressed his condolences to the family of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated earlier today in Pakistan.

Dodd, who has kept in touch with Bhutto over the past few weeks of turbulence and unrest in Pakistan, and is a 26-year member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that this is again another reminder of the experienced leadership our country needs at a time when critical regions around the world are in turmoil.

"Today's news from Pakistan is both shocking and saddening. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel to Pakistan and come to know Former Prime Minister Bhutto very well over the years. I spoke to her personally several weeks ago and have stayed in close contact with her since. She was a respected leader who played an important part in moving Pakistan toward democracy.

"As we recognize the loss of a leader today, we must also recognize the implication of today's tragedy to the security of the region and to that of the United States.

"At this critical time we must do everything in our power to help Pakistan continue the path toward democracy and full elections. Our first priority must be to ensure stability in this critical nuclear state.

"The United States should also stand ready to provide assistance in investigating this heinous act. And as Pakistan perpetrators to justice, it should also demonstrate that it will not allow such violence to derail democracy and proceed with elections in a timely manner."

These guys obviously have a playbook: sound statesmanlike in the press releases, while bashing Bush and throwing partisan slime when it seems safe to do so. Could they be any phonier?

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Senator Russ Feingold Blames Bush, Iraq For Bhutto Killing


Senator Feingold Faults Bush, Iraq Over Bhutto Killing

*** NEW: Chris Dodd Unhinged Over Bhutto ***

Descending instantly into political partisanship at a particularly sensitive moment, US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) used today's savage attack on Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto to blame President Bush and Iraq.

Given the emotional state of affairs in East Asia after an ambush that killed both a revered leader and dozens of others, isn't this a particularly reckless approach? By providing verbal ammunition for our enemies abroad, isn't Feingold pouring gasoline on an already- raging wildfire overseas?

In an interview on today's Ed Schultz Show, Feingold wasted no time taking the low road, folding his unfortunate words into what otherwise sounds like a calm and reasoned reaction.

It's one heck of a sneaky debate trick, especially how Feingold uses "in recent years" to refer to Bush, while cloaking the point slightly around the 2008 presidential race. But a close listen makes it clear he's going after Bush and Iraq.

After this many years as a senator, these kinds of rhetorical tricks are old hat to someone like Feingold.

From today's show:

FEINGOLD: The focus on Iraq has been a real disservice to focusing on this part of the world where a great, frankly somebody who had great leadership and following, has been killed.

And here's a YouTube clip of his full response, which will make it clear that his words are not being taken out of context. In fact, his rush to blame the Bush Administration, even if not by name, couldn't be more obvious:

Interestingly, his official statement in response to the attacks leaves out any such criticism:

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
On the Assassination of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto

December 27, 2007

“The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is terrible news for those who support a stabilized democracy in Pakistan, both in that country and around the world. Bhutto was a brave leader who was beloved by millions in Pakistan. The questions surrounding her assassination should have direct bearing on both the future of democracy in Pakistan and the relationship we will have with a country that is so critical in the fight against global terrorism.”

Once again, we're seeing the difference between what an elected official wants the world to think he means, as opposed to his true feelings, which are revealed only in the "safe" setting of a liberal talk show interview.

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26 December 2007

Leftists Use Huckabee - Limbaugh Conflict Against Host


'Progressives' Use Flap To Attack Rush

To the rest of us, 2008's Republican presidential primary is a contest between US Senators, former mayors and governors. Our so- called "progressive" friends, however, see another name, this one right at the top of the ballot: that of Rush Limbaugh.

While that might seem odd, from their perspective, it's quite simple: El Rushbo's continued dominance of the talk radio medium represents far more of a threat than anyone in the GOP's relatively weak field of candidates possibly could. If there's a chance to make Rush look bad, they're going to take it.

That's why the ongoing (and frankly bizarre) flap between Republican come- from- behind Mike Huckabee and the talk titan himself has the left siding with the former Arkansas governor. Obviously, it's all about taking down the more important target.

Besides, since Democrats think Huckabee can be easily beaten as the GOP's nominee, they aren't going to do anything that would interfere with his recent rise in the polls.

Given this background, it's easy to see why "progressive" bloggers and others would be pleased with the Huckabee campaign's recent harsh words for Limbaugh, as it serves their agenda well.

For Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher, their row was much too tempting to pass up. That led to a post featured not only at her own site, but also at the widely- read Huffington Post and a number of other lefty blogs:

Huckabee Pwns Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh has a self-awareness problem.

It's one you commonly see in celebrities -- they form their self-image based on what those around them think, but those people are frequently responding to some combination of factors that may have nothing at all to do with who they are.

Take, for example, supermodels. When you meet them you're usually struck with the impression that something's not quite right about them, and after a while it dawns on you that you've never met anyone quite this stupid who is so convinced that every word they utter is dripping with peerless insight. You can kind of cobble together a mental image of a lifetime spent with men nodding their heads in apparent fascination and listening to hours of endless drivel trying to figure out when and how to get their pants off and draw some conclusions as to why this might be, but let's just say that intellectual humility and celebrity beauty don't often go hand-in-hand.

Chris Rock has a whole routine about "model smart," which basically means being smart enough not to walk out in the middle of traffic and get hit by a car. Which pretty much sums it up.

Anyway, now we have Rush Limbaugh. He's been putting out the message on behalf of the GOP to millions of the AM radio faithful so long he thinks he's one of them, a "man of the people," or as he likes to say, "part of the Cape Girardeau [Missouri]-Middle America axis."

But Rush is no such thing. Unless his audience is composed of a lot more people making $35 million a year than I'm aware of, he's an ugly weld spot between the corporatists and the rank-and-file within the party. Huckabee knows that audience rather better than Rush does, at least the Southern contingent, and given the fact that the GOP has become largely a regional party, that's a significant portion of Rush's base.

Because "pwns" is unfamiliar to most non- geeks out there, your Radio Equalizer looked it up:

Pwn is a slang term that implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet gaming culture to taunt an opponent that has just been soundly defeated. For example: I pwn noobs on World of Warcraft. Pwn may have sprung from the similar term "owned". Examples include "pwnage" or "you just got pwned". It can also be used, especially by non-gamers, in the context of getting "pwned" by The Man.

Beyond the peculiar use of nerd- based language, Hamsher's assertion that Huckabee is tapping into anti- Rush anger inside the GOP is absurd. And if this is the Republican hopeful's real strategy, he will be sorry come election day.

Next year's election is likely to go down in history as the first one where liberals imagined who they wanted their opponents to be (Rush, Bush, etc) and campaigned accordingly. Your Radio Equalizer can't wait to see how this strategy works out on election day!

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23 December 2007

Limbaugh - Huckabee Row Continues In Former's Absence


Bizarre Mike Vs Rush 'Battle' Continues Into Holidays

*** UPDATE: Limbaugh Issues Press Statement ***

One of the more bizarre political kerfuffles in recent memory has continued right into the Christmas holiday, partially the result of Campaign 2008's insane primary schedule.

What's the true reason for the especially peculiar "battle" between Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh, however? Is it real, or a media concoction designed to keep politics interesting over a slow holiday week?

Do they realize Rush will be off the air for the next week and therefore unable to respond? If so, their timing is perfect. There's nothing like taking shots at the talk titan when he's away from the microphone, most likely out playing golf after visiting family.

If it all sounds a bit too conspiratorial for your tastes, just take a look at this new MSNBC piece:

Also on the candidate's agenda on Saturday – Is Rush Limbaugh picking a fight with Mike Huckabee? Some members of the media seem to think so. Rush had some harsh words for the newest GOP presidential frontrunner on his show last week, supposedly in response to a Huckabee aide calling Rush an "entertainer."

"I don't know [why he's mad]," Huckabee said. "I don't know, I mean I really don't. But all I can do is hope that Rush will love me as much as I love Rush because I think he's terrific and he's been a very clarion voice for the conservative movement. Somebody said something that upset him. I don't know who and I don't know what and I can't fix what I don't know."

But Huckabee said he was willing to try. Asked by The Politico's Jonathan Martin if he had been in contact with the radio personality Huckabee said, "I don't have his number. If you have it Jonathan why don't you give it to me. I'd love to talk to him. So, maybe put it on the web that if he'll call me I'd love to visit with him because I'd certainly like to clarify if there's any issue there. I think he's a person who would probably love to see my candidacy succeed if he knew me."

Let's get this straight: Rush picked the fight, while the angelic Huckabee is an innocent victim working to resolve the dispute? You gotta love those cards over at MSNBC, they sure know how to keep us in stitches.

Though not pushing its luck quite as hard as NBC, CBS is also on board the "Huckabee a victim of Rush's meanness" campaign:

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Mike Huckabee told reporters today he’d like talk to Rush Limbaugh after the prominent radio host expressed outrage this week over reports that an “unidentified Huckabee supporter in Washington” said Limbaugh “doesn’t think for himself” and is an “entertainer.”

Huckabee said he didn’t know who it was that had upset Limbaugh.

“All I can do is hope Rush will love me as much as I love Rush. Cause I think he's terrific and he's been a very clarion voice for the conservative movement. Somebody said something that upset him. I don't know who and I don't know what. I cannot fix what I don't know."

Limbaugh criticized the former Arkansas governor for “defining who is or who is not conservative.” Limbaugh said Huckabee portrayed himself as anti-elite when in fact he sided with elites.

Though Rush is off the air this week, he has already addressed the topic for all to hear, if the mainstream media is interested in his side of the story (don't hold your breath):

RUSH: All right, Ed Rollins is on the warpath now for his candidate, Mike Huckabee, and he sat down for an interview with CBS News on their -- I guess on their website, and here's the first question: "Let's start with the attacks on Governor Huckabee from a lot of Republican establishment figures lately." Republican establishment figures lately? "Rush Limbaugh has called him 'the Huckster.' Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review has said it would be 'suicide' to nominate him. Why do you think, Mr. Rollins, that Governor Huckabee has provoked all of this criticism?" Ed Rollins: "Well, I think first of all he's not an established candidate. I don't think anybody anticipated early on when he started to run that he would do as well as he's doing. Some of these guys have already picked their candidates and I think to a certain extent the alleged wise men have sat around in either their studios or the newsrooms, basically writing magazine articles. They didn't see it coming, and I think they underestimated him." Ladies and gentlemen, and Mr. Rollins, and for those of you in the Huckabee campaign, I want to turn back the hands of time. We're going to go back to the archives of this program, specifically November the 8th of this year. This is what I said to my audience on that day.

RUSH ARCHIVE: What if Mike Huckabee wins Iowa? What does that do to Mitt Romney and Thompson in New Hampshire and South Carolina, respectively? Secondly, what if Hillary continues to stumble and either Obama or Edwards ends up being the nominee? Now, I know nobody thinks that's possible, which is precisely why I focus on it. The conventional wisdom is she's got it wrapped up and the conventional wisdom is that Mrs. Clinton's got Clinton, Inc., and that Clinton, Inc. can get rid of anybody in her way. But Mrs. Clinton has gotta get out of her own way for 13 months in a row or 12 months in a row in order to stop gaffing. But just think about it. If Hillary continues to stumble, and either Obama or Edwards ends up the nominee, what kind of general election does this lead to? Do you realize the shock? Everybody figures it's Hillary and Giuliani right now, but what if Huckabee wins Iowa, and what if Hillary loses Iowa?

RUSH: That was November the 8th on this program. Mr. Rollins, who's now the campaign chieftain for Mike Huckabee, is saying that I am part of the New York or Wall Street-DC axis, the media elite axis, that didn't see any of this coming. I would maintain, ladies and gentlemen, that if you were listening to this program on November 8th and you heard me say, "What if Mike Huckabee wins Iowa?" you probably thought I was nuts, and you probably thought, "What's he smoking?" I was the first to bring it to attention. I saw it coming -- and I now may be seeing it going, ladies and gentlemen. Now, what I'm reacting to here -- and we brought this up yesterday -- is there was a post on a blog at the Atlantic magazine's website. An unidentified Huckabee supporter in Washington said, "'Honestly...Rush doesn't think for himself. That's not necessarily a slap because he's not paid to be a thinker -- he's an entertainer. I can't remember the last time that he has veered from the talking points from the DC-Manhattan chattering class.'" And I thought, as I told you yesterday, "What in the world here? Anybody that's running a Republican candidate or is on the staff of a Republican presidential candidate can't possibly believe this. Maybe it wasn't Huckabee or anybody in his staff leaking this. Maybe it was somebody else.

Does that sound like Rush started this battle, or did it originate with the Huckabee campaign? For whatever reason, Team Mike thought that attacking Rush Limbaugh would provide a sound victory strategy going into the primaries.

As El Rushbo has gone out of his way to avoid becoming a factor in the GOP presidential contest, there's simply no way he would pick a fight with Mike Huckabee, no more than he would with Romney, Rudy or any of the other frontrunners.

As a result, let's put an end to the silly, MSM- created concept of Rush Limbaugh sticking it to Republican candidates for his own amusement (or whatever reason they give).

UPDATE: In response to media requests from the Politico, your Radio Equalizer and others, Rush Limbaugh has issued this press statement late today:

I don't need to speak to Governor Huckabee. I saw his comments and accept them as honest, sincere and genuine.

What was somewhat stunning about all this is that NO ONE in the GOP field, including advisors and staff, could possibly misread my 19- plus year career the way Gov Huckabee's DC supporter did.

Whoever said those things was essentially repeating the Democrat mantra of all these years: that I am just an entertainer, not an independent thinker, part of the Wall Street/ DC axis. If it was someone on Governor Huckabee's staff or support team, it was just silly, uninformed and thus curious.

Governor Huckabee's campaign is engaged in identity politics at this moment, so I understand his advisor's/ supporter's intent to put the focus on me rather than the substance of my commentary.

As for the Governor not knowing how to reach me... there are people on his Arkansas staff who know full well how to reach me and they have not. But that is not necessary to me. We're not playing in a kindergarten sandbox here. We are all presumably adults.

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21 December 2007

Even Fans Find Imus 2.0 Dull And Lifeless


Mounting Complaints About New Imus Show


Three weeks into his resurrected program, Don Imus 2.0 is doing a great job in at least one area: racking up complaints.

Sure enough, those who weren't fans the first time around aren't finding much to write home about this time, either. But the real surprise is how even longtime cheerleaders are also finding the new program underwhelming, to say the least.

Topping the grievances:

A largely- neutered Imus that has clearly been ordered to steer clear of controversy this time around. Obviously, the I-Man knows he must comply with this directive, under penalty of cancellation.

Continuing technical problems that are the result of the new program's focus on television, via RFD-TV, rather than making WABC-AM / New York the priority.

A ridiculous hit list of supposed "foes", which includes anyone who didn't sufficiently "support" Imus after his termination earlier this year. This week, Tom Brokaw found himself the target of the I-Man's silly personal vendetta campaign. Say what you will about Brokaw, but he must have been shaking his head in disbelief. How is this good radio?

Too many supporting cast members this time, some of whom add little to the show's content. Why is the room full of additional people? Are they there to prop him up, or keep Imus out of trouble?

His show is out of touch with "nearly every trend in America." Call it the crust factor.

A forced softening of Imus's harder edges, with a new tendency to suck-up, rather than be the nasty curmudgeon heard previously.

A weird new habit of featuring frequent and lengthy music segments during what is supposed to be a morning talk show. Is this used as filler? This is an especially common complaint.

Your Radio Equalizer hates to say I Told You So, but this outcome was predicted in a November newspaper interview:

Imus' new bosses at WABC promise that drive-time listeners will get the I-Man of old.

"I don't think he will change his personality," said Phil Boyce, vice-president of programming for the station. "He's smarter than that. I told him to get in there and do great radio and don't be afraid to do the kind of radio you feel like doing."

But Brian Maloney, who runs the industry blog, "The Radio Equalizer," doesn't see that happening.

"He won't be within 10 miles of controversy," he said. "He's going to turn it into dullsville public affairs programming and have him stick with fluffy interviews. I'm sorry, but younger audiences just aren't into boring radio."

To be fair, Imus still has some die- hard fans, but whether they are enough to keep the show alive remains to be seen. Though Arbitron did record a listenership spike on Imus's first day back (using new PPM technology), no further data is yet available. After so much publicity leading up to Day One, it's not surprising there was a bump up.

Overall, this has to be seen as a disappointment. Did ABC / Citadel really believe a neutered Imus would attract a large audience and advertiser base? With even longtime fans voicing disappointment, one wonders about the network's thought process going into this deal.

UPDATE: After just three weeks back on the air, Don Imus is already taking at least a full week off, with a substitute host in his place, according to the New York Radio Message Board, citing fill-in talker Mark Simone. With his fledgling show having recently moved to WABC, does that really seem like a good idea?

UPDATE: Via today's Page Six, Al Roker is the latest person on Imus's hit list to defend himself.

UPDATE: An Imus fan site has linked to this post, see their comments below.

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Time: Huckabee's Strength Tied To Rush's Opposition


MSM Take On Huckabee's Surge Defies Logic

In their attempt to explain Mike Huckabee's recent surge in the polls, can you make heads or tails of the mainstream media's bizarre analysis?

Here goes: Huckabee is soaring because conservatives are frantically looking for an anti- establishment candidate to support. Okay, so far, that sounds about right.

But take a look at how Time Magazine / Real Clear Politics contributor Steven Stark defines "establishment":

They Love Him For the Enemies He's Made

George Will doesn't like him. Neither, apparently, does Rush Limbaugh. The Bush wing of the party now apparently distrusts him. He hasn't done well by Drudge (at least so far) and today even Peggy Noonan has her reservations.

The good news for Mike Huckabee is that he's doing one hell of a job of reuniting significant portions of the old Reagan coalition. The bad news is that it's increasingly arrayed against him.

The point, of course, is that in this case, what looks like bad news may well be the opposite. Insurgent, dissident candidates always feed off the attacks of the establishment in ways other candidates don't. It was General Edward Stuyvesant Bragg who said of Grover Cleveland, "They love him most for the enemies he has made," and in Huckabee's case, his supporters might well be thinking the same thing.

It's true that Limbaugh and Drudge aren't commonly thought of as establishment figures. But the truth is that they've now been around long enough to be, well, part of the woodwork. To a discerning observer, they're not part of the chattering class. But to an evangelical voter who doesn't follow politics that closely or a new voter angry enough by the turn of events in the country to finally get involved? Limbaugh, Drudge, Will - what's the difference?

Jim Pinkerton astutely put his finger on all this recently. Look at what's dominating the news - school and mall shootings, Britney's sister is pregnant, baseball is full of cheaters. The only candidate even remotely addressing the crisis of the American spirit - and that's what it is - is Mike Huckabee.

Does this make sense? Conservatives are turning to turning to Huckabee because he's in touch, while Will, Limbaugh, Drudge and others aren't?

Note: here's what started the whole controversy.

If our MSM friends actually listened to Limbaugh or followed Drudge, it would be clear they are covering the very issues cited here. Though he initially opposed it, Rush did discuss the Spears pregnancy, while Drudge was all over the baseball scandal.

In your Radio Equalizer's view, Huckabee is ahead because conservatives don't know where to turn and are moving toward a candidate with a shaky track record out of complete desperation. It hasn't anything to do with Rush, Drudge, Noonan or Will.

On today's show, Rush opened his monologue by fingering Huckabee strategist Ed Rollins for creating the idea that Rush is part of the "establishment chattering class". Rush sees parallels between the Perot campaign of 1992 and Huckabee in 2008, but denies he has attacked the former Arkansas governor.

Later, Rush clarified this statement, saying he initially thought this attack was coming from somewhere else, not Huckabee or Rollins.

Hot Air has today's Limbaugh audio here.

MEANWHILE: Condi Rice is denouncing some of Huckabee's recent foreign policy comments.

NEW: Excellent coverage on this topic from NRO's Campaign Spot

MORE on Rollins and Limbaugh from CBS:

CBSNEWS.COM: Let’s start with the attacks on Governor Huckabee from a lot of Republican establishment figures lately. Rush Limbaugh has called him “the Huckster.” Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review, has said it would be suicide to nominate him. Why do you think he's provoking all of this criticism?

ED ROLLINS: Well, I think first of all he is not an establishment candidate. I don't think anybody anticipated early on when he started to run that he would do as well as he's doing. Some of these guys have picked other candidates.

And I think, to a certain extent, the alleged wise men have sat around in either the studios, or the newsrooms, basically writing magazine articles. They didn't see it coming and I think they underestimated him.

NRO'S CAMPAIGN SPOT continues to cover Rush's response:

Rough Day For Huckabee on the EIB

Forty minutes in, and Rush Limbaugh is continuing to pummel Huckabee:

"I've not attacked him. I've studiously avoided it. But I've raised questions. I'm going to keep asking the questions if I feel they're warranted."

"The very fact that I have looked at his record has stirred great anguish in his campaign."

"If he wants to tag me, or some of his supporters, want to tag me as being part of a New York-D.C. axis... the New York-D.C. axis is the drive-bys!"


OFFICIAL LIMBAUGH transcript now available here. Atlantic update post here: see what started the fuss.

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20 December 2007

Mike Malloy Calls For Violence Against Matt Drudge


This Time, Libtalker Calls For Drudge's Neck


Crazed libtalker Mike Malloy is at it again, but this time his on- air "violence fantasy" has a new target: Internet kingpin Matt Drudge.

After telling listeners during Tuesday night's program that he's recently been leaning toward supporting John Edwards, Malloy was informed of the Drudge headline and link to the National Enquirer's story about the Democrat presidential candidate's alleged "love child". His response:

MALLOY: Drudge? Aw, Drudge, somebody ought to wrap a strong Republican entrail around his neck and hoist him up about six feet in the air and watch him bounce.

After the reaction to his last "violence fantasy", one which was targeted at White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, one would think Malloy might have learned his lesson. While some could believe he's looking for attention, because he was only made aware of the Edwards "love child" story moments before, this couldn't have been planned.

Via YouTube, see for yourself:

Note how Malloy catches himself afterward, clearly recognizing that your Radio Equalizer would be listening. At least he was right about one thing.

Some liberal hosts are looking for much- needed public attention and love to be attacked by conservatives. That occasionally leads to somewhat outrageous statements made to serve that purpose.

But Malloy is clearly not one of those people: these are real feelings sent out over the airwaves. He really doesn't seem to recognize how nutty his thoughts sound when blurted out for all to hear. If you had similar violent thoughts, wouldn't you keep them to yourself?

Again, the questions are clear: should a talk show host be able to advocate violence against others on the airwaves? If it were to motivate others to take action against Malloy's targets, would he be held responsible? Could a conservative host get away with this kind of rhetoric?

Beyond that, why do "progressives" support and desire such harmful actions against their political opponents? In his previous outburst against Perino, liberals generally pretended it didn't happen, rather than address his comments. Why is it so hard to denounce extremism coming from one's own side of the political fence?

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Spears Pregnancy News Annoys Talk Listeners, Hosts


Spears Irritates Listeners, Rush Drawn Into Discussion

*** EXCLUSIVE BELOW: Dr Laura Schlessinger Blasts Spears Parents ***

Usually, seasoned talk hosts call the shots when it comes to topic selection. That goes double for Rush Limbaugh, by far the nation's most important syndicated talker.

Yesterday, however, Limbaugh was dragged kicking and screaming into a subject he wanted nothing to do with: news that Jamie-Lynn Spears is now pregnant. Call it a case of the cart leading the horse.

Only 16, the younger sister of Britney The Basketcase is still a child, but the news media's acting as though she's an adult. From Fox News:

In an exclusive with the weekly, Jamie Lynn reportedly reveals that the father is her long-time lover, 19-year-old Casey Aldridge. The pair were recently sighted house-hunting in Valencia, Calif.

What is a 16- year- old doing with a "longtime lover" who is 19 and how can she be "house- hunting"?

For Limbaugh, this presented a dilemma. One of his staffers screened a call on the subject, annoying El Rushbo, but for some reason the person was put on the air anyway. What followed was a terrific mini- monologue on a subject that (like it or not) was on the minds of many listeners:

CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks for taking my phone call. Say, sorry to change up subjects on you, but I thought something on a little bit lighter note. What do you think about this whole... the Spears family spreading like wildfire now, the second Spears sister having a child with a man that's old enough to go to jail for it?

RUSH: I don't think there is anything extraordinary about the Spears family spreading like wildlife. The Spears family is not the only family spreading like wildlife. There are countless American families that have 16 years old that go out and get pregnant; you just don't know about them because their sisters aren't on television. Take a look at the Jerry Springer Show. That's a good point. If you want to be concerned about -- what's this Spears name? Jamie-Lynn, is that her name?

CALLER: Yeah, Jamie-Lynn.

RUSH: Jamie-Lynn. Whatever. If you want to be concerned about her, go watch the Jerry Springer Show.


RUSH: Now, that's cause for concern, because they're practically -- these families are -- propagating in front of our eyes on that show.


RUSH: What's happening to these people is no different than what happens to a lot of families in this country, except their lives are on TV.

CALLER: Would you tend to think that a family in this position, though, wouldn't you think that there would be a more watchful eye as a parent to be watching over these kids so this doesn't happen to them?

RUSH: I would certainly hope so, but it's long past time for this to happen. The parents here are the culprits!

CALLER: (chuckles)

RUSH: I mean, the parents, they're infected with this disease, this addiction to fame themselves. Look at Britney's mom, for crying out loud. "Put me on TV, too! Put me on TV!" You know, celebrity parents, they can go both ways, and some of them lose whatever grounding they had as adults when their kids get famous. They want to be part of it. They like the money themselves. It's very rare to have celebrity parents that remain grounded, but who's going to get this family in line?

CALLER: Yeah, that's true.

RUSH: The parents are out there making as big a mess of their own lives as the kids are. Plus, the real sick thing about it is, at the end of the day -- I don't care what the Britney Spears camp says or the Jamie whatever-her-name Spears camp -- they love the attention. It's their job to get it! That's what's perverse about this. You know, I have a minimal amount of fame compared to people on television and movies, and I don't like the stuff I've got, but it is what it is. But these people that have to go out and get taken pictures of by the paparazzi, have to go out to these nightclub openings at two o'clock in the morning, make sure they're photographed there.

Allowing callers to change a show's topical course can be risky, but in this case it worked unexpectedly well. That's because he clearly reflected the sentiment of many other listeners who were disgusted by the story. By taking the call, Rush covered an "issue" that was on the minds of millions out there.

Occasionally, even tabloid stories deserve talk radio airtime, especially when larger social issues are in play. This is one of those instances.

UPDATE: Your Radio Equalizer asked syndicated advice talker Dr Laura Schlessinger for her thoughts on the situation. Blasting the environment in which the Spears children were raised, Dr Laura replied, "I feel sorry for children who are robbed of their childhoods of innocence by parents who are negligent or voyeuristic. I feel sorry for the unborn baby, whose precious life is bound to be a toy in the hands of these young people.

"I feel sorry for the children of America who are bombarded by these images of inappropriate sexuality and out of control freedom - because they will come to believe they're entitled also. I feel sorry for America because we've lost our sense about judgment and the dangers of desires met but not earned," she added.

UPDATE: this hip- hop site uses the Spears pregnancy to attack Bill O'Reilly!

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Top Spears image: Fox News

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