NY Times columnist Frank Rich spent a week listening to what
passes as right-wing media these days, feeling empathy for it's listeners while laughing at how out-of-touch right-wing media really is.
Overly paid, fatuous hosts parroting fear mongering while the establishment of the right remains rudderless due to in-fighting from the grassroots and with an extremely wealthy candidate, oblivious to mainstream America making Chevy Chase's SNL Ford character look ready for the job.
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Rich chose the week of the GOP convention to chronicle his findings in the NY Times piece... "On the sixth day, I listened to Glenn Beck, and I saw that he was good. Or if not exactly good, then honest-to-God funny."
"I had tuned in as part of a thought experiment then entering its final lap: an attempt to put myself in the Republican brain by spending a solid week listening to, watching, reading, surfing, and otherwise gorging on conservative media. As would also be true of an overdose of liberal media, it was lulling me into a stupor, and I was desperate for a jolt. Beck provided exactly that, in the form of comedy, and to my astonishment, I found myself laughing out loud—with him, not at him."
Beck provides more comic relief for Rich: "In Beck’s fantasy, someone in the Romney camp did have qualms about letting an 82-year-old geezer vamp with an empty chair. But the skeptic had been overruled by a higher-up saying just “three magic words”—to wit, “It’s Clint Eastwood!” As in: “What could possibly go wrong? It’s Clint Eastwood!” Beck kept repeating this scenario with ever-more-manic variations, turning “It’s Clint Eastwood!” into a burlesque tagline akin to Gene Wilder’s crazed “No way out!” in The Producers (a Beck favorite). Only at the end of his shtick did politics intrude. Unless the person who said the three magic words “now has been terminated,” Beck said, he wouldn’t “trust Mitt Romney’s ability to run the country.” As he explained, it was only a small step from “It’s Clint Eastwood!” to “It’s Ben Bernanke!”—and the next thing you know, a Romney administration would be extending the term of the despised Fed chairman. He had a point."
Rich was referring to the week that was in Tampa with Clint Eastwood rambling to an empty chair. Said Beck, " “I love Clint Eastwood”—but confessed he’d found the performance “painful to look at.”
Rich feels empathy for the foot soldiers of the conservative movement, even before this week's, all but concession speech from the establishments hope and no-spare change pick of Willard Romney. Rich continues, "... those in the right’s base, who are often sold out by the GOP Establishment, and admiration for a number of writers, particularly the youngish conservative commentators at sites like the American Conservative and National Review Online whose writing is as sharp as any on the left (and sometimes as unforgiving of Republican follies) but who are mostly unknown beyond their own ideological circles."
The praise for R$money from the inner circle of conservative writers and hosts was faint but dutiful: "In The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson saluted Mitt as “a good guy” only after cataloging his “breathless, Eddie Attaboy delivery, that half-smile of pitying condescension in debates or interviews when someone disagrees with him, the Ken-doll mannerisms, his wanton use of the word ‘gosh.’ ” Mike Huckabee tried for a homespun maxim: “If you’ve just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you honestly don’t care if your neurosurgeon is a jerk.”
Never mind the fact that Bush' 41/43 were not invited to the confab in Tampa, nor was the last candidate for the WH treated any more than as a country cousin, "John McCain was as welcome in Tampa as Banquo’s ghost; even Bill O’Reilly’s much-hyped prime-time interview with the 2008 standard-bearer was abruptly truncated for a generic podium speech by Romney campaign chairman Bob White." Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford were non-mentions but Reagan re-digitized for the Jumbo-Tron was brought out after the 2008 edition nearly shredded was remastered.
After a Monday afternoon of Chris Matthews lobbing a stink-bomb at GOP Chair Reince Priebus, over a birther joke Romney made, FOX news permanently bolted cameras at the delegations of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or the District of Columbia, all of which, preposterously enough, were given prime seats near the stage in Tampa.
Sez Rich, "Even now, the GOP seems oblivious to the fact that its alliance with Donald Trump, the nation’s preeminent birther, is enough to cancel out any serious outreach to African-Americans in 2012. Were it not for Isaac, Trump might have hijacked the convention on opening night."
Speaking of celebrity, Frank's column also points out how the right uses the has beens of late 80's SNL members Dennis Miller, Victoria Jackson and Jon Lovitz , while Chris Christie's adoration of rocker Bruce Springsteen is not reciprocated.
Beck's disaffection continues with the establishment right, " The morning after opening night in Tampa, Beck fretted aloud about whether anyone had been watching at all. He was equally nettled by a study showing that conservatives “just don’t do viral stuff.” Saying that the right doesn’t share speeches like Ann Romney’s with friends and that the left does, he asked, “Are we even in the game at this point?” I thought Beck was being histrionic, but my own anecdotal experience that week bore him out: The Twitter feeds I followed of conservative voices, pundits, and institutions generated far less volume and snark than their liberal counterparts. “Got an awesome hug from the convention info lady at the terminal,” read an all-too-typical missive from one of the more prolific conservative tweeters, Jonah Goldberg."
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Rush Limbaugh infuriated at the grassroots movement of the right: At the start of convention week, he replayed a Bill Kristol admonition, delivered the day before on Fox News Sunday, that the convention had to advance a positive agenda. “So what he’s basically saying is, ‘Don’t make the convention about bashing Obama,’ ” was how Limbaugh translated Kristol’s advice. He was having none of it. “I think it’s been a trick the Democrats have used for decades, and I’m stunned that our side keeps falling for it,” he said. “The trick is: ‘These Independents don’t like criticism! They don’t like raised voices! They don’t like partisanship! It makes them nervous. And whenever the Republicans get critical of President Obama, these Independents just run right back to the Democrats and vote for them.’ I don’t believe that for a minute!”
Micheal Savage was sickened by “the eunuchs in the Republican Party,”. Says Savage (570 the new and more KKKVI) "..“Just what we need … a man who may be president, that he does his own laundry!” after Ann "you people" Romney claimed her husband is just like us going down to the wash house.
"Now you understand why the tea-party movement arose, and now you understand why they haven’t even mentioned the tea party … I have no idea what they stand for.” And he was still just warming up. “The Republicans have just dug their own grave,” Savage continued. “Unless Romney gets up there like a man and stops acting like a pocketbook carrier for his wife, he is finished.”
Another bile-filed response came from Mark Levin, "Obama is “a nasty, leftist ideologue” and to say otherwise is to emasculate the Republicans’ case against him. “Do we really have to be driven by focus groups, by Frank Luntz?” he asked. Noting the lousy convention ratings, he added: “If we’re trying to reach out to Reagan Democrats and Independents, apparently a lot of them weren’t watching.” Soon he was taking a call from a Republican election officer who was so put off by the convention that he said he would vote for Romney but not go door-to-door to corral others to do so."
Rich points out that the overplaying of the Eastwood video may have done more harm than good by downplaying the anger of the those behind the scenes while relying on “more in sorrow than anger” political strategy.
Frank Rich sums up his adventure in fear and loathing media: "That anger is certain to rage long past Election Day, and if I learned anything in my week strolling around the conservative mind, it was that anyone who sticks to an exclusive diet of lame-stream media is missing the news."