Talk radio update

Man, I’m not sure I will make it till November. I don’t mind heated rhetoric. I don’t mind mud slinging (too much). But I can’t stand the constant repetition, day after day, of standard talking points, without even the most rudimentary stab at balance.

This week, talk radio was all over Joe Biden for his “chains” remark. Obviously, nobody thinks Biden was seriously accusing Republicans of wanting to reintroduce slavery. He wasn’t even talking about civil rights.

But fair enough. Biden slips up a lot and deserves a public beating when he does. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly asked a fair question: Should we let a guy off the hook for saying something stupid just because he says a lot of stupid things?

Probably not. But consider the alternative: Do we want every single candidate to sound as scripted as Romney and Obama do? Shouldn’t at least one politician on the national stage be allowed to just say whatever happens to run through his head without having to worry about how it will look on TV the next day? Perhaps not, but I will miss Biden when he is gone.

But I would not complain about talk radio picking on Biden if just once — even to defend it — somebody had mentioned a Republican campaign point that sounds far more racially divisive to me than anything Biden has said. That’s the ad that accuses Obama of cutting work requirements so that people on welfare “wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job.” The ad is just blatantly false, raises no issues worthy of consideration in the presidential race, and seems to serve only one possible purpose: to associate Obama with shiftless welfare bums. The racial implications are unmistakable — and were totally ignored Thursday by all of Biden’s many critics.

Sigh. It’s going to be a long, long season.

UPDATE: With respect to the comments below, here’s some evidence that the right dogs are hearing the whistle.

Worst ever?

Remember that old saying: I was born in the morning, but not yesterday morning? When I read posts like this one at Rockin’ on the Right Side, I wonder just how late in the morning the writer was born.

Balek seems to have the idea that the Obama administration invented tax fraud (you have to read the comments to get the full flavor) and he writes here that not only do leftists rule the world (Karl Marx, you’ve been vindicated) but that “our government is more corrupt than ever” and that “racial and social divides continue to widen.”

When I read this kind of stuff I have to ask: Has this man ever read a book? Ever heard of Tammany Hall? The Duke of Duval? Patronage? Segregation? Slavery? Perhaps not.

Now, he writes that all our welfare problems would go away if neighbors just took care of neighbors the way they did, you know, in the old days. He’s probably right that people in rural communities like Roundup, where everybody knows everybody, will always turn out to help each other, but does he really think that will work in a city where people not only don’t feel any obligation to their neighbors, but likely don’t even know who their neighbors are and may well be afraid of them?

If he does think that, he does so out of willful ignorance.

Stay alive at 55

One of the most annoying talking points to arise so far out of Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan is the idea that no one over 55 will be affected by changes to Medicare and therefore we shouldn’t worry our gray little heads about it.

I’m safely over 55, and I’m not worried about what the Ryan budget would do to me, but I am worried about what it would do to the country. The idea that once I’ve got mine I should ¬†just say to heck with the rest of you might sound good to an Ayn Rand fan, but it doesn’t sound very American to me.

Talk radio update

Hannity had an insipid — even by his standards — debate over the horribleness of the ad linking Romney to Bain Capital to a guy who lost his job and health insurance and whose wife subsequently died of cancer. It was Michelle Malkin vs. Tamara Holder, who didn’t seem to understand why she had to defend the liberal position — she hasn’t even decided whom she is going to vote for, she claimed.

Holder mostly just whined, but Malkin said the ad accused Romney of murder, although I couldn’t figure out how. I would hate to have to prosecute a murder charge based on the evidence presented in the ad. But everybody agreed that the ad was so awful that it justifies any lies that may be contained in Romney ads,such as the one accusing Obama of gutting welfare reform. To see how an actual reporter works, watch Anderson Cooper keep plugging away here until he finally gets Newt Gingrich to admit that saying you fear what a president might do is not the same thing as saying the president already has done it.

As I have often noted here, Hannity’s limited arsenal of rhetorical tricks relies heavily on the ¬†argument that anything a Republican does is OK if you can find a Democrat who has at some time done something similar. Until Ted Kennedy died, a reliable way of gauging the seriousness of a Republican scandal was to see how long it took Hannity to mention Chappaquiddick. In a pinch, he fell back on “Robert ‘KKK’ Byrd.”

In fact, Hannity used the same technique later in the same show when a caller raised concerns about Romney’s Swiss bank accounts. What’s worse, Hannity demanded, Swiss bank accounts or Jeremiah Wright?

As for me, I don’t find it so easy to sort out my feelings about the various attack ads. To say that an ad crosses the line is to say that there is a line. There is? Where the hell is it?

Maybe I’m just an Obamabot, but I prefer the Bain ad to the welfare reform ad. Even if the Bain ad were total fiction, rather than just a web of convenient omissions and distortions, it would still raise a substantive issue about how we care, if we do, for people caught up in the creative destruction of the marketplace.

It’s interesting, too, that Romney won’t really defend the actions that led to that guy losing his job. Even a Luddite like me can make the case that sometimes people have to lose their jobs to keep a business alive. I have had to make a few of those calls myself.

Romney seems to prefer to simply deny any responsibility. Bain Capital? He was nowhere near that place when that guy got fired.

The welfare reform ad, though, is just a lie. You can’t talk about substantive issues because there aren’t any. Welfare reform remains intact. It will remain intact.You can’t turn a slur into a policy discussion.


Not mean

With characteristic imprecision, Dave Budge maintains that I banned myself from Electric City Weblog because he is mean. Not at all. I sort of like mean people if they have other redeeming qualities. LBJ, Antonin Scalia and Christopher Hitchens come immediately to mind.

Budge isn’t mean. He’s just a jerk. Well, that’s imprecise, too, but I’m trying to avoid profanity. Steve T., however, nails Budge precisely in comment 2.

Talk radio update

I wasn’t looking forward to listening to Mike Huckabee gloat about how successful his call for a Chik-Fil-A appreciation day was. Actually, when I heard the first update about this at around noon Wednesday on Fox, it wasn’t all that clear that it was a success, despite what Megan Kelly kept saying. I heard her offer three pieces of evidence:

1. Video of a long line at a Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Houston. But I have seen long lines in Houston that had nothing to do with politics, or with chicken.

2. A reporter in Atlanta who said he saw long lines.

3. “Emails from all over.” Yes, I, too, get emails from all over, and if I could believe a tenth of what they said, I would be a billionaire several times over by now.

But it turned out, apparently, that the appreciation day really was a success, and Huckabee had solid grounds to gloat. But that doesn’t mean I want to listen to him gloat. Personally, I intend to boycott Chik-Fil-A until somebody there learns how to spell “chick.” And “filet.”

Fortunately, Huckabee remains determined to rarely ever let a topic extend past one segment, so he quickly moved on to the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom by requiring employers who offer health insurance to cover contraception. About which I have a couple of serious questions, since I am not Catholic and don’t quite understand this whole issue:

1. Do Catholics believe that it is an actual sin for employers to pay for contraception, or is the sin charged against those who use contraception? I mean, nothing in Obamacare requires people to actually use contraception; it just requires employers to pay for those who do use it. Employers have to pay for lots of things they would prefer not to pay for, and employees have a lot of freedom to do evil and nasty things with the money they are paid. How is contraception different?

2. How does forcing employers to pay for contraception differ from forcing employers to pay taxes to support torture and unjust wars? Should anybody be required to pay for anything that’s morally objectionable?

Good luck with getting Huckabee to answer those questions. Better luck getting answers from Sean Hannity, who played a clip from Obama arguing that Romney would increase taxes on the middle class. Then he had on the actual Romney, who denied that he would do any such thing.

Hannity never explained this, at least not in the portion of the show I heard, but I assume he and Obama were referring to this new study, which finds that, even given the most favorable possible interpretation, Romney’s tax plan can’t be revenue neutral and still give big tax cuts to his rich buddies unless it also raises taxes on the middle class. Romney’s campaign still hasn’t explained how this study is wrong, but with a hard-nosed, top-notch investigative reporter like Hannity on the case, we were bound to see Romney’s feet held to the fire on talk radio, right? Right. Also, Limbaugh announced that he has joined the Democratic Party.