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Watching the right-wing go down in flames is gonna be super-fun.  Grab the marshmellows, homies…

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Right-Wing Family Feud

By Liam O’Donoghue

Like a pet tiger, suddenly snapping on its owner after years of serving as a vicious and intimidating sentinel, right-wing talk radio has collectively reverted to it’s primal instincts and turned on its beneficiaries in the GOP.  While this ironic twist of political fate brings me no small amount of glee, this splintering of the right-wing echo chamber seems worth examining.  For the better part of the past two decades, the so-called “right-wing noise machine” has marched in lock-step to spread sleazy, often baseless, rumors, trumpet conservative propaganda and generally repeat the current talking points coming from party leaders and hawkish think tanks like The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute.

With mild variations, you could count on hearing the same arguments on foreign and economic policy coming from fundamental religious talk show wackos, low-brow talk radio bullies and the free market fascists at the Wall Street Journal’s notoriously (neo-) conservative editorial page.  While things have certainly been heating up as the primaries unfolded, now that McCain is looking unbeatable, the gloves have come off and the right wing message boys are fighting dirty.

It would be fun to attack Mark Helprin’s op-ed, “McCain and the Talk-Show Hosts” from today’s Wally (especially considering such mind-blowingly ignorant comments such as “American columns should have cut through Baghdad after three days and exited three weeks later, leaving Saddam dead and a pliant Iraqi strongman to keep the country harmless or suffer the same quick take-down"), but that would be pretty pointless: Helprin is an ultra-hawk, so why even bother?

However, the fact that the high-profile, intellectual bastion of conservative orthodoxy has just totally fucking slammed it’s retarded, but very powerful (tens of millions of gullible listeners every day!) cousins over in radio land is the front line in the escalating right-wing family feud.  Yeeeeee-ha!

I spend so much time despising right wing talk radio hosts that I think now that they’re actually doing something I actually sort of respect, I should give them a little credit.  I’d certainly rather see Obama in the White House than McCain, but that’s not why I’m proud of these radio smear merchants.  It’s because they’re actually showing a little independence, a little backbone, and telling the GOP that they’re not just megaphones through which party-line Republican drivel can be constantly broadcast through.  Now, I admit that it’s kinda messed up that I’m giving them credit for going nuts that McCain isn’t right wing enough (he did, after all, modify a Beach Boys song to make a joke about bombing Iran), but I think it’s worth noticing and applauding the many cracks that are appearing in the formerly monolithic GOP apparatus.  I mean, there was a spectrum of right-wingers within the party, but they held it together in the mainstream media, especially when the stakes were this high.

So what does this mean?  Third and maybe even fourth parties splitting off and eroding any near-term chance of Republican supremacy?  A crumbling of the GOP facade with Bible-bangin’ coalitions, fiscal conservatives and war-mongers heading off in different directions to focus on their own agendas (dare I say “special interests")?  Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris going on a killing spree?

I don’t know.  But it sure has been fun to listen to right wing talk radio lately.

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Shaking Uncontrollably

liam o'donoghue
san francisco, california

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