Since the Democratic romp in the election two weeks ago, local and national wing-nut radio has continued to pollute the national discussion with the standard campaign of lies, derision and intentional distractions. Yet, I sense some drift and aimlessness in the usually-focused talking-points off of which all the wing-nuts read.
Although always giving lip service to the ingenuity and market-bravery of the entrepreneur, our local blowhards Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes are complete lackeys when it comes to anything the GOP wants them to say. And then, to say again. Over and over. They don’t do show prep, they take orders. They pretend to be raving ego maniacs on the air, but they always submissively stick to the script of others.
They don’t even care, from a competitive standpoint, whether they are saying the same things on any given day. Their only focus is to attack any Democrat (especially Jim Doyle) and to excuse any Republican (especially Junior Bush). They have no intellectual integrity and will never get in a room for a legitimate debate with anyone who disagrees with their ridiculous arguments, usually built on straw men and other phony constructs.
I was surprised, at first, to hear both of Milwaukee’s Finest railing, still, about the imaginary "corruption" of Jim Doyle. Both regularly feature staged callers who still pine for the soundly-thumped Mark Green and do an I-told-you-so sing-along with the hosts anytime mention is made of higher user fees or less tax exemptions for various businesses to solve future budget shortfalls, which are still the legacy of their hero, Tommy Thompson. Belling even committed his feverish will-Doyle-be-indicted rantings to print. It’s almost like the election never happened and they are still trying to poison the electorate for an election that already happened.
But then I remembered that they were both on the GOP playbook – nothing happens on either show without political design. Doyle is the Wisconsin Clinton – an earnest, successful, moderate politician who has done the best he can to move the state forward in the face of Republican obstructionists. Now that he has been re-elected by a resounding margin, B & S continue to attempt to berate and belittle, lest he succeed as a, well, successful Democrat. The national GOP didn't quit beating up on Clinton after the '96 election -- in fact, they turned up the volume. Same thing here in Wisconsin, where no Democrat is allowed credit or peace, no matter how much he or she deserves it.
Other than that, our local wing-nuts get on the various national noise bandwagons, following their unseen Leaders on such matters as piling on Nancy Pelosi for supporting national hero John Murtha or going on for a week about whether she would put Alcee Hastings as the chair of the intelligence committee. Whatever.
For some reason, the local and national GOP radio conduits are still talking about the racist tirade by the enormously talentless Michael Richards – the luckiest lame actor to ever fall into the perfect role for his small talents. The Richards story had legs for the led-by-the-nose wing-nuts because they could get set up various of their various favorite straw men – from insincere lefty-Hollywood apologies to black leaders willing to give the poor guy a break, or not.
But the wing-nuts are still seeking a post-election voice and purpose. With Bush the lamest of quacking ducks and with no candidate in the wings to channel the Rovian magic (Bill Frist! Say it ain’t so!), there is no obvious beneficiary of their misinformation campaign. Ever since the GOP settled on what they thought was the perfect empty-suit for the post-Clinton era and ran Junior for governor of Texas in 1994, the whole then-growing industry of wing-nuts has propped him up and done nothing but made excuses for the Worst President Ever. Now, without that kind of an obvious goal and evident beneficiary, the wing-nuts are adrift, up Bush’s Creek without a paddle.
There is one thing, however, on which they stand steadfast and unmoving, the last excuse-making exercise in the grim Bush era. More about that next time.