Ace! Talk Radio Tees Up Obama

By Katie Kieffer

Golf tee

Image credit: turbotoddi on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Conservative talking heads like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh often poke fun at President Obama’s penchant for running the country from the golf course. Yet, ironically, their snobbish treatment of independents is teeing Obama up for another four years of putt-putt presidency.

I respect all three of these pundits, particularly Rush Limbaugh who is a pioneer in his field. However, I’m concerned that their communication style of late is sidelining independent voters that the GOP presidential nominee will need to attract in order to defeat Obama, including Hispanics, gays, women, libertarians and young people.

If we want to win the general presidential election, we need a strategy for attracting new voters to the GOP’s “Big Tent.” Preaching to the choir is not a strategy. Burning bridges is not a strategy. And insulting our active duty military men and women by smearing the lone GOP candidate (Ron Paul) that they overwhelmingly donate their money to as “crazy,” “nutty,” and “half-witted” is downright feckless.

“As a libertarian, I don’t feel welcome in the GOP party,” a caller told syndicated talk radio host Jason Lewis earlier this month.

Why would an independent feel this way about the GOP? Well, listen to how our most influential pundits talk about the presidential candidate who holds his own in Republican primary polls and shares debate stages with political heavyweights like Mitt Romney:

Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh made this comment: “I’m sorry, ah, but this Ron Paul is gonna to destroy this party … This is nuts on parade. They want the whole Republican party to be identified with the kookiness of Ron Paul.”

Sean Hannity

Meanwhile, Hannity’s frequent prodding sends the message that Republicans can’t trust libertarians. Hannity recently questioned Paul: “If you don’t win this nomination, and you’re doing very well here in Iowa, [will you] support the Republican nominee and not run third party?”

Paul answered: “Well, I’ll give the same answer I’ve given about 39 times now, that I have no intention of doing that. I plan to do my very best and see what happens … absolutely no plans and thoughts of doing it.”

Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul, diplomatically censured Hannity for his prodding approach: “… he gets asked [that question] over and over again and I guess to him, I guess, he feels it’s a little insulting, and not from you in general but because he’s leading in the Republican primary and everybody’s saying ‘Oh are you gonna run as a third party?’ and he thinks that we have a shot of winning. … [The GOP and Ron Paul are] a lot on the same team; we may not agree on every issue.”

Rand Paul added: “I would reverse the question though and say to many of the other Republicans who I think aren’t being fair to him that they should want him in the party and they should want all of his followers in the party instead of saying ‘Oh we’re going to get so mad if he leaves the party.’”

To be fair, Hannity responded: “I’ve said I agree with your Dad on [cutting] the Fed. I support his plan to cut a trillion dollars.”

Rand persisted in pointing out how his father is attracting new voters to the GOP: “I would venture to say that he’s had the biggest crowds and he is offering something unique—that you can be a fiscal conservative and be a little bit more reasonable on foreign policy and less interventionistic—and that is different than anybody else is offering … it’s also attracting a lot of these young people.”

Image credit: ampers on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Glenn Beck

Like Hannity, Beck still vocally supports many of Paul’s ideas for fiscal reform. However, as Paul has surged in Republican primary polls as a strong contender for the GOP nomination, Beck has attacked Paul as someone who “can find a conspiracy in a glass of water” and “not a constitutionalist … but a progressive politician.” Beck even blasts his own callers who identify themselves as Paul supporters (some of whom fail to correctly articulate Paul’s views) with sophomoric attacks like: “You are a bigot” or “you’re crazy.”

Beck’s intolerance is likely causing him to lose more influence and credibility with independent voters. Over the years, Beck has developed a reputation for entertaining conspiracy theories, making loaded remarks like: “[President Obama] has a deep-seated hatred for white people” and he has received substantial criticism from conservative journalists (most notably Andrew Breitbart) for growing his media empire irresponsibly. Earlier this month, Breitbart tweeted: “Unfinished Biz 2011: @GlennBeck need[s] to apologize to those [he] dishonorably crossed.”

Beck, who relentlessly tells his audience “Do your own research” apparently doesn’t always do his own due diligence before ripping Paul: “If you can’t run a newsletter, you shouldn’t be given the keys to the United States of America.” Here, Beck was referring to off-color comments that were published in a newsletter under Paul’s name years ago.

Ben Swann of Fox 19 pointed out in Reality Check that President Obama and every major Republican presidential candidate have each been accused of being insensitive towards minorities. So, allegations of insensitivity like those leveled against Paul appear to come with the territory when one runs for president and are often petty tactics employed by opponents to destroy a candidate’s reputation.

Furthermore, International Business Times writer Hao Li maintains (after combing through Paul’s past) that Paul neither wrote nor reviewed these comments before someone else published them under his name. Without denying that Paul had too many pots on the stove at once, Li further determines that Paul’s character is whole and his track record toward Hispanics and African Americans is equitable.

Li’s research also shows why it’s non-strategic for talking heads like Beck to spend so much time nudging Paul and his followers out of the GOP. Paul emphasizes repealing “most of the federal law on drugs,” which Li says has “created a marginalized underclass in [America], mostly consisting of blacks and Hispanics.” So, by implying that Paul’s views aren’t welcome in the GOP’s “Big Tent,” Beck is merely nudging Hispanics toward Obama.

Indeed, former George W. Bush adviser Mark McKinnon tells TIME Magazine: “Every extra day of the Republican primary means more ugly messaging about immigration. And if Republicans don’t win back Hispanics, they will not win back the presidency.” TIME also connotes that Perry, Gingrich and Romney have each given Hispanics reasons to feel uncomfortable with trusting the GOP.

Fox News analyst Sarah Palin warned after the Iowa caucus: “The GOP had better not marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters after this because Ron Paul and his supporters understand that a lot of Americans are war-weary and we are broke and he has reached these constituencies who are very concerned about the solvency of the U.S and he has proposed solutions … so the GOP had better listen to what these Ron Paul supporters are saying, better work with them.”

I think talking heads like Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh should focus on dismantling President Obama’s socialist policies and his kinglike executive orders instead of slamming independents. Otherwise, they are teeing Obama up for a hole-in-one this November.

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11 Responses to “Ace! Talk Radio Tees Up Obama”

  1. Custom avatar pobretommy says:

    It's exactly as it was with Ross Perot in 1992. The 20 somethings have no memory of that election. Ask you parents about it and they will tell you how they were duped by it too. Romney will win with over 350 electoral votes. He'll win Maine & New Hampshire. The election will be over by 7:30pm EST on Nov 6th. The only hope Obama has is if there is a 3rd party candidtate which would guarantee a democrat victory.

    • Custom avatar Kris says:

      Young people (swing voters) and other independent minority groups like Hispanics, African Americans, gays, women, etc. have the power to determine this election. Ron Paul actually beat Romney in New Hampshire in terms of the independent vote. Paul won the independent vote and Romney came in second on that but first overall. NH has far fewer independents than the population at large. A candidate like Paul who attracts independents can beat President Obama. Not too sure if Romney could though.

  2. Custom avatar Kris says:

    Here's another recent example from Rush that illustrates exactly the kind of behavior I think Katie is talking about. Rush took a Paul caller and accused him of "trying to sabotage us [the GOP]." Then, he wound up the call saying "I think Ron Paul ought to run for president of Iran." He also accused Paul of thinking "9/11 was America's fault." This is so blatantly misconstruing Paul's views. Here's the link to the Rush transcript:

    All you need to do is read Katie's previous article, The Real Ron Paul Stands Up, to see that Paul clearly doesn't blame the U.S. for 9/11 or have a pro-Iran attitude.

  3. Custom avatar scot says:

    I keep hearing that active duty military personnel overwhelmingly donate to Dr. Paul, but I haven't been able find any data that separates military donations from the donations of civilian DoD employees, nor any data that shows what percentage of AD military personnel donate to political campaigns in the first place.
    No third party candidate has earned a single electoral vote since George Wallace in 1968, and he only did so because he had regional appeal.

    • Custom avatar Kris says:

      Katie wrote about this in her previous column, where she cited a great NY Times piece pointing out how the majority of the active duty military give their $$$ contributions to Ron Paul. Here is the link. Great article, check it out:

      Enjoyed this column, Katie.

      • Default avatar scot says:

        Thanks Kris,

        That was a blog in the NYT, not a news piece, and it didn't give the source of the info either.

        I'm still looking for the actual data on military contributions.

        ($113K from a bit under 1.5 million active duty service members isn't a lot of money. Even if they were all $1.00 contributions, that would only be 7% of military members.)

  4. Custom avatar Republicae says:

    I dare say that none of the "conservative" talk-show hosts have probably read Dr. Pauls book entitled A Foreign Policy of Freedom, for if they had they would instantly realize that not only is Dr. Paul's foreign policy strong, it makes far more sense than does the conglomeration of policy decisions that have been implemented by this country during the last 50 years or so! Dr. Paul rightly points out the utter contradictions that take place in such decisions and how those decisions have harmed our defensive stance in the world not strengthened it or made us safer!

    Additionally, the hosts such as Beck and Limbaugh will never tell their listeners that Dr. Paul states that while we should never initiate an attack on any other country that there may be a circumstance where the is a clear, verifiable and present danger when the President, in his Constitutional authority as the Commander in Chief, must take steps to defend this country by attacking another country and then seek a Congressional Act of War? He states very clearly that the Constitution allows such emergency defensive measures!

    It is also strange to me that there have been DOD reports, numerous high-ranking generals, agents of the CIA, and even the neo-con Paul Wolfowitz who have all said the same things as Dr. Paul about our foreign policy! Ole Wolfowitz even said that the reason we were attacked on 9/11 was because we have stationed troops throughout the MiddleEast, especially on the Arabian penisuala, using almost exactly the same words as Dr. Paul, yet he is lambasted for those words!

    Dr. Paul rightly points out that our policy has not made sense in decades, for we have supported dictators, overthrown elected governments, given all side of every conflict support in one fashion or another. We have armed our enemies and potential enemies, played one side against another and in almost every case we have paid the price twice, once with our tax dollars and then again when those we supported turned against us or attacked us, it just defies all common sense and logic!

    When you read A Foreign Policy of Freedom, one thing becomes apparently clear and that is we have had people in decision-making positons that have made the most idiotic decisions that could possibly be made and all because they are called experts!

  5. Custom avatar hipposelect says:

    Great article, Katy, I'm a new reader, but I'll definitely be checking back. Very insightful and articulate article. Joining up with the Ron Paul campaign in 2008, I was often taken aback by the vitriol with which he was attacked, especially since he is basically espousing what the Republican party claims is their platform. Of course, recent administrations have thrown aside all pretense of following platform and have consolidated into one continuous timeline of ever increasing imperialism. It's now reached a point where the president doesn't even bother consulting Congress before going to war and can assassinate American citizens at will. Right wing radio hosts and the Republican party is letting their fear of change cloud their judgment. When Gingrich says things like "No decent American would hold Paul's views," he is insulting an awful lot of military and ex military, who give Paul more support than all other candidates combined. By rejecting Paul and his supporters the Republican party is risking making themselves irrelevant, which is why he is constantly questioned about his intention of running third party. There is no doubt that any chance at all of unseating Obama rests with Ron Paul and his supporters. They will not vote for others simply because the media tells them to or out of loyalty to a party that has rejected them and betrayed their own principles, and without the numbers he commands their "chosen" candidate simply cannot win.

    • Custom avatar Lodzia says:

      You are correct, Hipposelect.
      Even after the first NH debate, one of the democratic commentators said that they hope that Romney wins, because then they are guaranteed four more years of Obama. They don't want Paul because they fear that there are a lot of democrats that are sick of Obama an will vote for Paul.

      I like your post Katie! Keep up the work, even when it gets tough.

  6. Custom avatar EDAQUASURE says:

    I am not so sure Ron Paul would lose as a third party candidate.People are so fed up with Washington and both parties.Democrats are about 33% of voters and republicans 30% with independents at about 37%.I think Ron Paul would win easily in a three way election.
    He is definitely the only one who can beat Obama.Ron Paul can pull votes away from Obama because he will get his young voters and some democrats who are sick of these wars and Obama's lies.No other candidate can do this.
    Most independents and libertarians will either not vote or go third party if Ron Paul doesn't get the Republican nomination,which will guarantee Obama the election.
    It's time the Republican party gets it's head out of it's ***.It's Ron Paul or we told you so.

  7. Custom avatar Robert Fallin says:

    Another great article, Katie. However, you might add, by the Ron Paul campaign's failure to broadcast hard hitting ads clarifying and substantiating Ron Paul's foreign policy, it has also helped Obama, as no one but Ron Paul can beat Obama. Here are the two ads I created and suggested that the campaign use as templates for broadcast ads.

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