Conservative talk show hosts aren’t the only ones going after Barack Obama now. So are
liberal progressive talk show hosts as you can read about here.
But this is how the game works, folks. Earlier today I put up THIS LINK to my first weekly column on Cagle Cartoon’s MSNBC site that dealt with the issue of talk radio. Since then, I got three emails insisting what I wrote only really refers to conservative talk and there are either no progressive talkers or that their shows don’t use the same business model at all. In answer to that: a lot of what I did referred to conservative talk, but there are progressive talkers (XM Radio has a GREAT channel that includes several including Bill Press, who I used to listen to when he had a show on KFI in L.A., before he went on CNN’s Crossfire and headed the California Democratic Party). And, yes, many of them are using the Rush Limbaugh model of broadcasting: Limbaugh’s model has made him and other conservatives who tried to become Limbaugh clones quite rich.
The question as we further advance into the 21st century is the impact of this style of politics on our polity where there’s a premium with hitting hot buttons and/or throwing out red political meat. Even with fiery pamphlets all the rage, the founding fathers didn’t take into account this kind of 24/7 partisan context where the goal was to get partisans angry more than tackle actual issues.
The irony is that Obama has had enough problems with Republicans, his own bumpy performance, an administration that was more professional conceptually than in actual operation — and now he is facing it from Democrats.
As Republicans rehabilitate George W. Bush and in effect indicate that they intend to enact Bush’s agenda, and as some analysts say if the GOP takes over the House they can kill health care reform by a thousand cuts, there are increasing signs that Democrats will stay home in November. Which means the day after they’ll wonder how it is that the Republicans took over the House and perhaps the Senate.
The original idea of many who pressed for progressive talk was that Democrats need it as part of their own info machine, to circle the wagons, go on the attack and counter the GOP’s info machine which in many ways now has Rush Limbaugh as its de facto operator.
The irony now is that some of these progressive figures, in the end, may motivate Democrats to stay home in November as conservatives most assuredly get a big turnout to vote against Obama – and Congressional Democrats.
FOOTNOTE: What does it suggest if Obama is being hammered by the right and now denounced by some on the left? It suggests he is actually governing more from the center – in an age where if you do that the left and right try to define you as being on the other side.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.