The primary problem facing the wing-nut community is that the entire reason for their own existence has disappeared. Without reprehensible, incompetent Republicans in high office to prop up and allegedly vulnerable Democrats to attack, there isn’t much left to talk about for the most uncreative bunch in electronic "entertainment". Ever since they got their long teeth into Bill Clinton’s ass in 1992, right-wing-nut radio has provided the 24/7 free advertising that played a great part in laying the fear-mongering groundwork for GOP successes in the congressional elections of 1994 and, the ultimate goal and prize, the "election" in 2000 and the "re"-election in 2004 of the radical-right Junior Bush regime.
It was a great run for the willing sycophants of the highly-disciplined message management of Karl Rove, who spun out daily talking-point e-mails and, I’m sure even to his own amazement, saw them parroted word-for-word by national and local mainstream radio talk-show hosts who were (and are) desperate for something to talk about and too dim or unimaginative to make it up on their own. Rove’s electronic nationwide network of butt-boys told enough lies and told them often enough that fine public servants like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and Howard Dean were made into national laughing stocks – at least for the all-too-manipulable demographic of angry white men who (Rove imagined) sat in their Lazy Boy rockers in tanks tops, swilling Miller High Life and cheering on the poisoning of the national political discourse. At the same time, the wing-nuts tried to construct heroic icons from the flimsy material of Gingrich, Bush and Cheney; men, the story went, who did everything right even (especially) when they were disastrously wrong.
Now – with the Republican party in retreat and its demise just a matter of time – the wing-nuts have lost their cause, not to mention their reliable talking-points. Their attempted destruction of Barack Obama a spectacular failure, the national radio squawkers are left muttering leftover McCain campaign blather about "socialism" and trying to create something out of nothing (i.e.: Sarah Palin). Since the election, they don’t know whether to declare a war on Obama that they have already lost or transition to something safe like sports or financial advice ("and now, Your Money with Sean Hannity").
Locally, they seem happy for now to continue to read e-mails from Scott Walker and incompetent cop David Clarke and talk up the Great White Hope of the moment, Paul Ryan -- whose staff churned out some innocuous crap about "loose money" and fed it to the Wall Street Journal, the house organ of the GOP -- as some sort of savior of a party that is going the way of the Whigs.
National and local wing-nuts are also failing to follow the advice of wise people everywhere: when you are in a deep hole, stop digging. They continue to predict all manner of socialist, Marxist and even attempts at dictatorship from Obama, the product of desperate last-minute nonsense from the dying days of the McCain campaign, absolutely none of which will come to pass. The Fear card is always the last resort of the failing right, and it is hilarious to hear the trained callers on the pretend-call-in radio shows talk about how afraid they are of the incoming administration.
You can’t blame the wing-nuts, I suppose, for trying to do to Obama what they did to Clinton – employing the politics-of-personal-destruction relentlessly until his impact is at least marginalized. But Obama has been immune to this sort of childishness so far because a) people are totally sick of it and want him to succeed, and b) he doesn’t have the same sort of jealous backwater cretins feeding them material, like Clinton had in Arkansas.
Having their ideas and their candidates so soundly thumped in the election and without anyone in power to prop up, the irrelevant voices in the national network so treasured and nurtured by Karl Rove are yesterday’s news. They might as well be standing on a soapbox on a street corner warning about socialism or howling at the moon. Having helped bring us the Bush Disaster and now exposed as wrong about absolutely everything for at least the past 16 years, why would anyone listen to them?
I’m guessing – hoping, maybe – that the appetite for the gaseous noise of right-wing mainstream radio has ended. Perhaps a return of the Fairness Doctrine won’t be necessary to return balance and sanity to the public airwaves. If they maintain their overheated ways, it might be a public hungry for change and, ultimately, the right’s vaunted market that sends them to their overdue showers.
In the meantime, I'll enjoy the spectacle of the wing-nuts blaming the GOP's deep failure at the polls on not being nut-right enough. Here's hoping the party takes up that challenge, running right in 2010 and please, please let them nominate Sarah Palin in 2012. The result, combined with Obama's anticipated success in putting the pieces of the broken government back together, will keep Democrats in control for a generation.
- I don't know if you noticed, but one of the rightosphere's hottest hotheads has taken his ball and gone home. On Election Night, the Texas Hold 'Em Blogger guy put up an upside-down flag on his site and muttered something stupid about being ashamed of his country. I sent him a comment -- "Oh, fer cryin' out loud. Grow up." -- and the next day, he had taken his entire site down and went into an unhinged rant as "Peter" on a Boots and Sabers comment thread, including hoping for terrorist attacks and some such. It's a terrible thing when people believe their own rhetoric. I hope the guy's alright.
- In one of his worst moments of the campaign, McCain pointed to Obama with his thumb and called him "that one". Now Rick Esenberg, while continuing to make excuses for his fellow travelers, calls me "this guy". I am honored.