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.


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