Carol Platt Liebau: Who Needs Whom

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Who Needs Whom

There's a lot of media chop-licking over conservative discontent with John McCain. See this Newsweek article, for example.

Obviously, many conservatives ignored the entreaties of Rush, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others, and voted for John McCain. Well, Rush Limbaugh has told us for years that, contrary to the MSM spin, his audience is not a group of "mind-numbed robots" -- and, as with so much Rush says -- the media is shocked to find out that it's actually true!

The MSM would love to see this as a vindication of their dismissive attitudes toward talk radio -- evidence that right wing talk show hosts lack the influence that so many on the left resent their having. And they'd love to whip the controversy into a matter so divisive that it does, actually, drive a wedge between popular hosts and their legions of listeners.

No such luck. The influence of Rush, Sean, Laura -- and others, like Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett -- is alive and well. If anything, their listeners simply made a different calculation: That is, that notwithstanding McCain's apostasies, they believed he was the candidate best-positioned to keep Hillary or Barack out of The White House and (whatever the hosts said) none of the other Republican contenders were likely to do so. That calculus may be wrong, but it certainly doesn't represent a repudiation of conservative talk radio or a significant diminution of host influence.

Dismissive broadsides from New York Times-approved Republicans aren't going to change the facts. Contrary to the high-minded denunciations from those supposedly on the same side, talk radio hosts will be more important and relevant than ever in the upcoming election -- necessary as never before when there's a danger that flagging morale on the right, and a surge of enthusiasm on the left will result in disaster for the McCain ticket.

There's an argument that John McCain is relying more heavily on conservative concern with the potential of an Obama or Clinton presidency than he is on his own policies and persona in order to drive supporters to the polls. Who, exactly, will he be relying on to explain in detail to conservatives what a Clinton or Obama victory would mean? Tim Russert, Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer? Not so much . . .

Before writing an obituary for the talkers' power and influence, the naysayers had better think about who needs whom more. Rush, Sean and Laura will have their jobs and their influence with millions of Americans intact in January of 2009, whoever wins The White House. John McCain, of course, can't necessarily say the same.


Blogger LarryD said...

McCain's success is more attributable to vote splitting and some states allowing of non-party members to vote in party primaries. Up through CPAC (when Mitt withdrew) McCain had never won a majority vote.

12:24 PM  
Blogger JohnnyT. said...

What Rush, Laura, Sean, Hugh, Tom Sullivan, Michael Medved, You can throw Dennis Prager in there and even Michal Savage(I listen to them all, mainly Rush, Laura, and Hugh Hewitt) do is cause their listeners to think. It's interactive radio and sometimes we agree with the host and sometimes the caller. Ideas flow and most arguments are backed up with indisputable facts and actual sound bites as evidence. The conviction of all these hosts is their quest for the truth and being honest about who they are. Hence their success.
Contrary to the Politicians, who cloak their true motives and stick with as little of the truth as they can use to make their argument.
And the Leftists can never come out and say who they are either, be they America Haters, Communists/Socialists, Code Pink type defeatists, or garden variety lawbreaking anarchists.
We listen and then we decide for ourselves, the Dinosaur Media hates that. They long for the days when they could tell everybody what to do and think. Now with talk radio and the internet, its all out there, somewhere. Seek and Ye shall find.

6:22 AM  

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