KVI talker John Carlson (m-f, 3-6p) will be an adviser to Safeco CEO Mike McGavick's senatorial exploratory committee, so we learned last week
The news was greeted with hoots by those who remember Carlson's quixotic run at Gov.Gary Locke in 2000. Carlson gained only 40% of the vote, not even coming up to the Christian extremist Ellen Craswell's laughable 1996 vote total.
You wouldn't think Carlson would be of much use to the squeaky-voiced McGavick. Brenda over at Washington State Political Report even suggests McGavick might as well bring in perennial candidate Mike the Mover for some advice.
But we doubt Carlson was brought in for advice on how to run a gubernatorial campaign as much as to bring his considerable political capital to the candidacy of a business Republican who wants the blessings of the state's hard right, with its goofy fundamentalist grassroots.
Though he didn't win in 2000, Carlson's shown though the Undo Gregoire unrest and anti-roads repair initiative campaign that he can influence the electorate handily...and as important, he's become the face of the new faux populism discovered by the Republicans, who took it up after they'd failed for years to win any statewide elections.
As a symbol, Carlson is taking the place of Tim Eyman the initative who's fading into irrelevance and horsesassedness.
This, thanks to being allowed by his corporate bosses at Fisher Broadcasting and by foggy public disclosure law to not only advocate on the radio(which is his blessed First Amendment right) but to directly partipate in the campaigning.
This was an unholy trinity of conservative talk radio, right-wing bloggers, and GOP professionals.
We were thinking today of how much easier it is to succeed as a radio blabberjockey than it is to succeed as a public servant.
Recently we discussed the horrifying idea that Sean Hannity might run for president. It was mostly tongue in cheek, but we concluded that Hannity is such a provable liar, he couldn't possibly be elected.
That's the problem for so-called "advocacy journalists" should they try to go into elected politics--and few have actually done it. It's like how hard it is for a US Senator to run successfully for president because of the paper trail and public record of the inevitable sausage-making that must be done to be effective for your constituency in a legislative body.
Politicians equivocate and avoid hard answers because their job depends on compromise. The job of a talk host, on the other hand is, as radio consultant Walt Sabo has said, "to get you riled up and establish absolutes, because only an absolute point of view produces phone calls, which are really hard to generate."
That's why callers are always telling these egotistical blabberjockeys they should run for something-- because they sound so clear and strong.
But that's because the opinions spouted so bravely, they'll never have to account for in any real way. About the only thing they can be fired for is being boring. We always complain about boring politicians but what if but what if Ron Sims could run up his favorables by jumping out of an airplane like Dori Monson?
John Carlson is one of the few talkers to ever run for a major office. There were many reasons he lost, but some of it was his years as a broadcaster advocating for the hard conservative side on many, many issues.
Try as he might, Carlson couldn't keep a moderate face in his campaign because of this record. On Sunday nights for years, Carlson debated southpaw historian Walt Crowley in a point counter point setting on KIRO TV. In these popular weekly dust-ups, Carlson voiced opinions on creationism, apartheid, nerf balls--he was against them--as he was condoms, rail transit, low cost housing and publically-funded speying and neutering, (though he was for castration of rapists). He couldn't avoid having to answer for all of that.
But why should he--or a Sean Hannity--even want to run for office? With their unfettered loudspeakers and publicity departments, the likes of which no politician could afford, they have far more clout than most politicos and almost never have to account for shooting their mouths off.
What an easier, softer way to amass power--and they've done it on our public airwaves. Public airwaves: we gotta get us some......