Media Blog

Talk Radio Failing Conservatives?

Did the anti-McCain efforts of Rush Limbaugh &al. backfire? Cliff Kincaid thinks so.

Supporters of Huckabee are so angry that they have launched a “Send it Back” campaign, asking people who have copies of books by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to send them back to their authors. They’re angry that Limbaugh and Hannity were trashing Huckabee on the air. Limbaugh and Hannity were joined by Laura Ingraham in trying to rally their listeners around Mitt Romney. The ploy failed. Romney won in seven contests on Super Tuesday but failed to win either California, where he expected to win, or any Southern state.
The “Send it Back” campaign also applies to Ann Coulter, who attacked Huckabee as the “Republican Jimmy Carter.” Coulter, who has achieved notoriety for making personal attacks and writing books blasting Democrats, also said that McCain was so unacceptable that she would vote and campaign for Hillary Clinton if the Arizona senator was the Republican presidential nominee.

Of course, none of this addresses the substance of Rush’s criticism of Huckabee, i.e. that Huckabee does not seem to share fundamental conservative principles; my observation is that Huck’s crowd is not particularly interested in such discussions, in which they bear a resemblence to their standard-bearer, who is terribly, terribly light when it comes to questions of philosophy. Huckabee is running a standard-issue populist campaign, i.e. one based on emotion rather than ideas, heart rather than brain.
 Rush’s great theme, which he returns to daily, is the fundamentals of conservative philosophy. Huck could care less about philosophy. Huckabee is a tactical politician, not an ideological one. “Ideologue” is a word with a faintly disreputable odor, but in practice it means a politician guided by something other than narrow self-interest. Huckabee’s schtick is to say “I’m one of you,” you know, “the guy you worked with rather than the guy who laid you off.” But when Huck tells conservatives he’s one of us, Rush asks for the evidence. So far, Huck isn’t giving us much–but with McCain as his competition, why should he?
Rather than sending books back, Huck’s people ought to be reading them–if not Rush’s and Hannity’s books, then Hayek and Kirk and Mises and Buckley.

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