The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

26 February 2008

McCain Apologizes For WLW Talker's Remarks


McCain Believes Obama's Full Name Is Off-Limits

*** BREAKING: William F Buckley Jr Passes Away at 82 ***

Giving us a depressing taste of his "nice" (read: losing) campaign to come, presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain has apologized for the "over- the- top" rhetoric delivered by his on- stage warm- up act, WLW / Cincinnati's Bill Cunningham.

Given McCain's wildly apologetic response, one wonders whether he had heard even a word of Cunningham's speech, which pushed the envelope a bit but clearly didn't cross the line.

There is full coverage of this developing story at NewsBusters, Hot Air, libtalk blogger Blatherwatch and many others.

But the mainstream media has cranked up its "outrage" knob all the way to 11, ensuring that McCain will soon be suspending the campaign in order to embark on a national apology tour.

From the coverage so far, Cunningham's apparent crime was in stating Obama's full given name, which happens to have "Hussein" right in the middle of it. Why McCain or anyone in the media believes it's off limits to point out that clear fact is simply doing the left's bidding. That's made clear in stories filed tonight by the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Cincinnati Business Journal and elsewhere.

Funny enough, just yesterday, Rush Limbaugh discussed at length the GOP's distressing fear of criticizing Obama in any way, shape or form:

RUSH: In The Politico today, David Paul Kuhn. Here's the headline: "'GOP Fears Charges of Racism, Sexism' -- Top Republican strategists are working on plans to protect the [Republican Party] from charges of racism or sexism in the general election, as they prepare for a presidential campaign against the first-ever [black guy or woman] Democratic nominee.

The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups..." (snorts) I only read the first paragraph. What I just read came from the second. But the bile is starting to go north from my stomach. "The Republican National Committee has commissioned polling and focus groups to determine the boundaries of attacking a minority or female candidate... The secretive effort underscores the enormous risk senior [Republican] operatives see for a party often criticized for its..." See, here we go. We accept their premise, and then we act on it.

We will accept some of their agenda, we believe what they tell people about us, and we then accept it and have to go out and try to prove that we're not that. In the meantime, we lose. We pick up little crumbs of their agenda and then we run around and say, "Conservatism doesn't work; conservative ideas don't work," when nobody even tries them.

"The RNC project is viewed as so sensitive that those involved in the work were reluctant to discuss the findings in detail. But one Republican strategist, who asked that his name be withheld to speak candidly, said the research shows the daunting and delicate task ahead. Republicans will be told to 'be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion' and that 'the key is that you have to be sensitive to the fact that you are running against historic firsts,'..." So what do we have? The Republicans are planning here on getting the black and liberal white vote, by not attacking the liberal candidate in the campaign. If this guy wins it, it's McGovern all over in terms of policy! I think this is bogus. I was talking to a reporter last week. "Are you going to criticize Obama?"

"Hell, yes, I'm going to criticize him!"

"How are you going to do it?"

"Fearlessly! I'm going to do it on the issues."

I've got Snerdley here as the Official Obama Criticizer. When the situation is warranted, he will be brought in also to assist in the project.

What is most distressing about the incident is that it provides an early reality check for conservatives, who face a repeat of 1996, where an "honorable" candidate ran a "nice" campaign and was clobbered in November.

And because talk radio was just finally beginning to warm up to the Arizona senator, the timing of this incident couldn't be worse for his candidacy. Hosts are faced with their own ugly reality check: McCain's campaign is all about pleasing the mainstream media, rather than winning in November.

Already, Cunningham says he is no longer backing McCain and your Radio Equalizer doubts he will be alone in that regard. Say good-bye to any hope of winning over the conservative base, Johnny Boy.

Beating everyone else to the story by hours, Rush Limbaugh addressed the issue on today's program:

McCain is in Cincinnati. Mrs. Bill Clintons is reporting that a McCain supporter repeatedly calls Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama. This supporter -- it was essentially a talk show host but I'm not sure, was on the mic at a McCain rally and kept referring to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Now, may I ask a simple question? Is that his name? It is. So why can't it be used? Because McCain apologized for this. McCain went out there, after the event was over and virtually apologized and said that kind of disparaging reference to his opponent is not the way he runs his campaign.

He said he accepts full responsibility for it because his campaign set up the event but he didn't know that the talk show host was going to be speaking. So it's Barack Hussein Obama. Now, we don't make a big deal out of it here, but other people do, and it happened at a McCain rally. McCain went out there, (doing McCain impression) "I'm sorry. It's uncalled for. It's uncalled for in American politics. I take full responsibility, although he did it. I didn't even know he's going to be here."

Now, what if McCain's middle name was Adolf instead of Sidney? His name is Sydney. What if Obama, what if the Democrats started talking about John Sidney McCain? Is somebody going to say, "We're not going to tolerate that? That's the kind of disparaging reference to my opponent we're not going to put up with." His middle name is Hussein. "Come on, Rush, you know they're trying to use it in a disparaging way." How? Because of Saddam Hussein, because it's an Arabic name, what? It's his name.

As I say, we don't make a big deal out of it here, but this just illustrates the fact, we're not even going to do that. In fact, if somebody does call him Hussein, we're going to apologize for it because it's disparaging. So we're going into this defensively.

Some of you may think strategically it's wise to stay away from it because it's only going to gin up sympathy for him because the name is obviously highly charged. But, you know, you can't call Barack Obama a liberal. I have a story in the stack here, he doesn't want to be called a liberal -- no, no, you can't call him a liberal. I'm not kidding. I'm going to find it in the stack here somewhere. He does not want to be called a liberal.

Did you mistakenly believe McCain's goal was to win the presidency? Sorry, he'd rather be "liked" by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and CBS.

Thanks, Bill Cunningham, conservative voters and talk show hosts owe you one. Thanks for opening our eyes to the sham candidacy that is to come. Just be ready for President Obama, as that is now looking inevitable.

UPDATE: Lou Dobbs has a peculiar panel of (mostly liberal) talk hosts debating this issue, with one Chicago talker (and admitted Daley supporter) attacking Cunningham.

UPDATE: Cunningham is on CNN now, saying he meant no offense to Obama. He thinks McCain should attack Obama, not talk show hosts. He says McCain is lying when he claims they've never met, Cunningham insists they've met twice previously. He says "I got thrown under the bus, the Straight- Talk Express."

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

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  • Your status as a talk show host ass kisser is nearing the Michael Harrison quoto. What Bill Cunningham did was stupid. Do you seriously think Rush would have put McCain in that position if he was the warm up act? Of course not. Rush has class. For those not initiated, Brian is doing this because he realizes that Cunningham is friends with Hannity, Levin etc. He's able to pander to them all at once.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 February, 2008 22:01  

  • Why continue the idea that 'Rush was first'? Clearly, Rush gets his ideas from other sources. The bit about the Republicans worrying over being seen as racist or sexist was reported. Then Rush read the reported information. So what? Lot's of other people read it too, before Rush read it on the air. That 'Rush first' trope is wearing very thin.

    WRT the Willie dustup, the guy was on Hannity. Did you not hear that?

    Oh man, you heard it first here! Be sure to credit me.

    By Blogger Michelle, at 26 February, 2008 23:23  

  • Things you fail to mention:

    On his radio program, Cunningham has repeatedly called Obama "Barack Mohammed Husein Obama." No, no fear-mongering there.

    Cunningham last night on Fox referred to Obama as a Manchurian candidate, before later denying that he had ever said it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 07:57  

  • I'm getting really, REALLY tired of all the hot-air, empty-headed so-called "conservative" radio and television personalities and their behavior. Bill Cunningham is an example of someone who uses hate towards his enemies, be they Democrat or Republican. Disagree with me (Cunningham) and you're a traitor to the "American Way". His spiel is no different than those of, oh, say, a Nazi spokesman in the 1940's or a Soviet propagandist from the 1960's. The sad part is that there are people in this country who believe the spiel and are more than willing to destroy our Constitutional rights in the name of "freedom".

    And it is times like this that I wish the Fairness Doctrine that existed prior to the rise of the "conservative" radio regimes. A person like myself, Republican but without the pre-frontal lobotomy that is now a requirement to be part of the party, my ability to have a voice is stifled save through outlets such as this. Being loud and obnoxious doesn't mean you're right, or even Right (unless you're talking theocratic dictatorship under the Conservative Christian banner).

    I long for the old days, where bipartisanship and compromise were valid terms, before the days of 1992 when the Republican party became the party of destruction.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 11:45  

  • Come on, Brian. Having any of these yahoos continuously belt out Barack Obama's middle name makes the GOP look petty and stupid.

    Imagine the following: The GOP nominates somebody whose middle name is "Duke". Then left-wing idiots start saying, "Heh-heh-heh. Duke. Yeah, like David Duke. Heh-heh-heh." We conservatives would be all over that. And you know it.

    John McCain was 100% right in refuting this stunt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 11:53  

  • Referring to Obama's middle name repeatedly is not cheerleading; it's a juvenile and transparent attempt at race-baiting.

    And McCain - and any other politician on either side of the political fence - certainly does have the right to criticize individuals on their own side for being juvenile delinquents.

    Cunningham - and those who would support him in this - should simply grow up.

    Also, the transparently faux-naive comments like "it's just his name" are tiresome. Folks wouldn't be repeating his middle name ad nauseum if they didn't think it would make some sort of impact. And if it makes any impact, it's because it preys on people's prejudices.

    So let's dispense with pretense.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 27 February, 2008 12:09  

  • Bill Cunningham is well known for his racy and aggressive comments. He should be able to take any heat he gets for saying the things he does. Its quite hippocritical of him to be able to dish it out but then cry about being in the spotlight for what he said. McCain has every right to apologise for something his campaign allowed that they had second thoughts about. Bill Cunningham is a hack. Much of what he spouts has no merit. Worse than a shock-jock, as his distasteful material isn't even funny.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 12:15  

  • For Bill Cunningham to say that John McCaiin threw him under a bus is like saying that the pot called the kettle black. Cunninham is an old pro at throwing people under a bus.

    When Roxanne Qualls was elected as mayor of Cincinnati, Cunningham had her on the first hour of his show. He congradualted her and let callers ask her questions. Everything was upbeat. Then, in the second hour of his show, without Mayor elect Qualls, the first caller, an obvious set up, stated that Ms Qualls was a lesbian. Cunningham respnded by saying that he knew that for years.

    Cunningham milked the lesbian mayor angle for a couple of weeks.

    Roxanne Qualls won the next election because she was an excellent mayor.

    When his son was in an all male high school, Cunningham refered to him as "baby", many times, on the air. Baby was not happy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 13:34  

  • What a nice post from Brian Conservatard Maloney.
    That is your middle name is it not fool?
    Your on the WORNG SIDE of this issue idiot. But, keep it up and you will be crying in your panties come November S*&t for brains!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 14:44  

  • Bill Cunningham gives conservatives a bad image. He sounds like an uneducated loon; therefore, his followers are the same. I am tired of these types of people thinking that they can tell conservatives and Republicans how to think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 February, 2008 21:49  

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