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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Afraid of Sarah Palin?

I drive. I mean, I drive a lot, about seventy thousand miles a year or so, most of it job-related. And I take the opportunity to listen to a lot of talk radio. And before going on to the main point of this post, I'll take a moment to say that I truly think people who go on about the mean-spirited stridency of talk radio have a completely skewed frame of reference. Oh, sure, some are a little more difficult to listen to than others.

Limbaugh is, just as he claims to be, a "highly-trained broadcast professional." Everything on that show is calculated, perhaps on the fly sometimes, but still calculated to keep his audience informed, thinking, and vastly entertained. I know some don't like to admit it to themselves, but the reality is that on average, his audience is more informed, not more ignorant, about what is going on in this country than the average American. Even liberal writer Rick Shenkman concedes this:
You may be thinking to yourself that Rush's audience is mainly made up of "rednecks," and that, while they are a part of the broader public, they should not be considered representative. But who actually comprises Rush's audience of more than 20 million a week? According to a study conducted in 1996 by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, his listeners are better educated and "more knowledgeable about politics and social issues" than the average voter. There are two ways of looking at this. Either we must reconsider our assessment of Rush's show, conceding that it may be of a higher quality than we were prepared to admit. Or we may have to reach the unattractive conclusion that his audience is unrepresentative not because it is inferior in knowledge to the larger pool of American voters but because it is superior.
I have heard Rush be rude to callers perhaps a handful of times in the last five years. Sometimes he vigorously disagrees with them, but I have seldom heard him be rude.

People that think Limbaugh is "strident," in my opinion, either lack the context in which his remarks are made, or have their sensitivity-meter--as regards people other than themselves, anyway--set way too high. A recent example: within the last few weeks, Limbaugh referred to former president Jimmy Carter as "the national hemorrhoid." Were those words I would have used? No. On the other hand, considering that within the forty-eight hours preceding his use of them, former President Carter had been on national blankin' tv twice to accuse about half the country of being racists, considering that the man seems to think it his duty to traipse around the world apologizing to dictators on our behalf, considering that his presidency was one of the worst in the last hundred years (those of you who abhor the right, forget not that Jimmy Carter's gross incompetence lead directly to the rise of Ronald Reagan) and he ought, by all rights, to have the humility to keep his yap shut, but DOESN'T, it's:

A) Hard to quarrel with Rush's pithy assessment that the man is, indeed, a pain in the *** on a national level. You may not like his choice of words, but it is hard to dispute their accuracy.

B) Fair to say that Rush's words were not even in the same ballpark as what Carter said, and keeps saying, about at least half his own countrymen. When I heard from other people on the subject, all I heard was, "Is it true that Rush really said this?" Yes. "Well, that's just terrible!" Do you know the background of the remark? Do you know what Carter said?"

***Crickets chirping***

It's amazing. Carter calls me and everybody else who thinks Barack Obama is an awful president racists, and the focus is on Limbaugh's assessment of Carter.

I listen to Boortz a lot. I disagree with him vehemently on some issues, just like I disagree with Limbaugh on some issues, but Boortz is both informative and tremendously entertaining. I have heard him get "into it" with some callers, but they, frankly, call up there because they want to get into it with him. In general, he's a pussycat--with the exception that when a politician's full of horse squeeze, he'll say so.

I don't listen to Hannity all that much. Once in a while, if he's got an interesting guest. He's not nearly as good as Limbaugh or Boortz.

I never listen to Michael Savage. Just don't get much out of him.

I've only listened to Levin a few times. I am amazed at the difference between the way he comes across in his last book and the way he comes across on his radio show. The book is almost professorial in tone; on the radio, I get the impression that he is about to blow a blood vessel on-air.

Glenn Beck? Haven't listened to him for quite a while, largely because he's on opposite hosts that I prefer. His principle gift: the man is often genuinely funny.

But all that is beside the main point of this post: Rush said, a couple of times last week, that the left, through their MSM mouthpieces, will often tell you who they're afraid of, that is, they try to demonize and destroy the people they fear the most, and by that standard, it is clear that they fear Sarah Palin.

I've been thinking about that all week. The more I think about it, the more I think that it's not so much Sarah Palin they fear as it is a possibility that she represents.

You look at her, and what do you see? The left sees an idiot. I don't see a genius, God knows, but I don't see an idiot, either. What I see is almost a snapshot of a rather large section of America that rather a lot of people seem to have forgotten about, or wish they could somehow wish out of existence.

She may not be a philosophical or theological sophisticate, but she's firm and unabashed about her faith in Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture. She may not be an economic sophisticate on par with Thomas Sowell, but she knows enough about economics to know that free markets work better than statist controlled economies. She's unashamedly and unabashedly America first. She's committed to smaller government and more liberty. She's firmly committed to the traditional family. She loves guns and hunting and darn near every non-PC point of view and activity you can name. She thinks the Constitution doesn't give government unlimited power. She's a fierce partisan for her point of view. In short, she's about what most people I know are like.

And I think what really scares the left, what really drives them nuts about this woman, is their underlying sense that there may, just may, be enough people like her left in this country to shift the country away from the direction it is currently headed, if only they can find someone to rally around. The very thought of having the country headed away from secularist statism to a vision more in keeping with that of the Founders is enough to convince leftists that they might end up not being able to direct everybody else's property and labor to their own ends, that they might not be able to force people, under color of law, to say that two shacked-up homosexuals are married, that they might not be able to gruesomely murder the unborn as a means of post-conception birth control, etc., and that, they fear.


  1. My problem with Limbaugh is his arrogance. He is not the most right-wing person on the radio and I don’t think that he is a racist either, but he is one egotistical guy that’s for sure. Or at least that is the impression that I get from having listened to his show for well over a decade. The problem with Limbaugh’s comment about Carter is that it is hypocritical. He bemoans the way that those on the left treat those on the right, yet he has no problem slinging the mud at those on the left. As far as I’m concerned, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I enjoy both Boortz and Beck (by the way…what show is no that you listen to instead of Beck?). What I like about them is that they are not Limbaugh clones (unlike Hannity). I cannot stand Levin (and yes he does sound like he is going to blow a blood vessel). I will listen to Savage from time to time, mostly because he is on opposite Levin in OKC and as much as some of his views make my skin crawl, I’ll take Savage over Levin any day.

    Back to Rush…I’ve heard him make those same statements before about the left showing you who they are afraid of by who they attack. I think that there is some logic behind that, but it’s not just the left. The right does it too. Just look at how they tore into Howard Dean in 2004. I also think that your interpretation of the Sarah Palin thing is pretty accurate. I think that there are those on the left that are scared of her and what she represents. I don’t really have a problem with her, but I do think that some of her positions flirt too closely with theocracy (my parents’ however cannot stand her).

  2. I feel the same way.......Sarah Palin has the left very afraid........and I respect her so much.....she is so strong and she on aim.....

  3. My problem with Limbaugh is his arrogance....he is one egotistical guy that’s for sure.

    I have noticed over the years that those who like Limbaugh think the arrogance is schtick, and those who don't think it's for real. Only he knows, I reckon.

    ...having listened to his show for well over a decade.

    Considering that his job is to keep you tuned in, I'd say he'd consider that "mission accomplished."

    ...what show is no that you listen to instead of Beck?

    It's been so long since I've listened to Beck that I'm not 100% sure exactly what his time slot is. But I believe he's on opposite Boortz in Tulsa.

    I cannot stand Levin (and yes he does sound like he is going to blow a blood vessel).

    The contrast between the radio persona and the way the book was written was striking. The book was almost professorial in tone.

    ...I do think that some of her positions flirt too closely with theocracy...

    I always smile a little when I hear this sort of thing. Where, Dave, in the last four hundred years, has there been an actual Christian theocracy? I would submit to you that the only theocracies that actually exist in the modern world are the Vatican, parts of Tibet, and multiple Islamic states.

    As Christian political thought has developed, it's given rise, not to theocracies, but to representative government.

    Celia--thanks for reading. Don't be a stranger. :)