If you see a spade, call it a spade. David Brooks does. The money graph:
Over the years, I have asked many politicians what happens when Limbaugh and his colleagues attack. The story is always the same. Hundreds of calls come in. The receptionists are miserable. But the numbers back home do not move. There is no effect on the favorability rating or the re-election prospects. In the media world, he is a giant. In the real world, he’s not.
But why do so many Republican/conservative politicians and pundits pray at the feet of
the unholy trinity Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck? Because, according to Brooks, they “confuse listeners with voters.”
They also confuse book buyers with voters, as is clear in this commentator’s broadside against another moderate Republican named David:
… conservative books are selling like hot cakes. Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny, Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption, and Glenn Beck’s Common Sense are best-sellers because Americans long for authentic conservative voices at a time when leftists have taken over the U.S. government.
It’s the same old, tired, flawed argument. Those who push it conveniently forget that, nationwide, it takes a few million listeners or book buyers to turn a show or tome into a megahit/bestseller. In contrast, it (typically) takes tens (upon tens) of millions to put a President in the White House.
The lesson? Back to Mr. Brooks:
The [GOP] is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
Reagan understood this. His self-proclaimed disciples apparently don’t.