This plaintive whine was echoing in my head when I read this article by a former right wing talk show host producer. Here is a part that caught by eye:
Conservative talk show hosts would receive daily talking points e-mails from the Bush White House, the Republican National Committee and, during election years, GOP campaign operations. They’re not called talking points, but that’s what they are. I know, because I received them, too. During my time at WTMJ, Charlie would generally mine the e-mails, then couch the daily message in his own words. Midday talker Jeff Wagner would be more likely to rely on them verbatim. But neither used them in their entirety, or every single day.
This is not exactly shocking news to anyone who has listened to this kind of talk radio before. And yes, it's quite an effective club to have in your bag as a political operation. But it does not capture a critical part of the talk radio issue that is detrimental to the electoral fortunes of a party that is struggling right now to compete with critical voting blocs that do not listen to talk radio.
But the key reason talk radio succeeds is because its hosts can exploit the fears and perceived victimization of a large swath of conservative-leaning listeners. And they feel victimized because many liberals and moderates have ignored or trivialized their concerns and have stereotyped these Americans as uncaring curmudgeons.
Ah yes, its your fault hippies! But the key phrase here is "percieved victimization". And talk radio has always relied on that great of American polemical devices: Foreign Immigrants.
What has to be understood about the immigration issues that drove a bunch of numbnuts to the border is that it did not emanate from the bowels of the conservative think tanks or from RNC political operatives, they were at best along for the ride. Immigration hysteria got started on talk radio. Because it was an area they could disagree with the administration, bash on the liberals and hate foreigners at the same time. A Trifecta!
The problem is that the GOP was killed in key swing states among Latino voters. Who are likely very unhappy with the racist spew coming their way everytime talk radio gets cranked up about immigration, legal or otherwise. The truth is talk radio has slipped it's leash. Limbaugh is the most important power broker in the party today. And if he and the rest of the talk show goof brigade become less a political actualizer and more a way of shrinking the base and chasing out moderates and growing voter blocs like Latinos, that is a problem. And it's not a problem that has anything to do with teh straw man of liberal elites or geographical bias. We didn't force them to broadcast hate and fear all day long, they did that themselves.
Good luck with that Necks!