If I hear one more Democratic office holder or campaign worker or one more goddamn consultant or politically-connected mucky-muck say they don't listen to local wing-nut Talk Radio, I am going to scream.
For reasons I fail to understand, Democrats and liberals completely ignore the powerful poison that is right-wing Talk Radio, especially in the Metro Milwaukee market. I don't know if they think the Republican shills on WTMJ and WISN are just preaching to the converted or they just think what they are saying is too stupid to be taken seriously or they just can't be bothered with all this but...Christ! Ignoring it and pretending it doesn't have a real effect in southeastern Wisconsin is worse than clueless -- it is political malpractice.
Take the Shame of Milwaukee County, newly-reelected Sheriff David Clarke -- please! Clarke's horrible mismanagement of the sheriff's department and embarrassing nut-right pro-gun activism had made him a pariah in the community. His ridiculous lie on the ballot itself that he was in any way a Democrat had run its course. The Democratic voters of Milwaukee County were ready to send him back to whatever bought-and-sold right-wing hole he crawled out of eight long years ago. But the self- and GOP-appointed campaign directors on the two radio stations joined forces to encourage their obedient listenership in the reddish suburbs to cross over and, like Clarke, pretend they were a Democrat and steal the Democratic nomination for the least Democratic Democratic candidate in Wisconsin history.
The national embarrassment that is David Clarke would not have been reelected have without Talk Radio. And it did happen only because of Talk Radio -- they even got a post-primary "Winner" designation from the Journal Sentinel for their "work" on Clarke's campaign. If the hardening of the dark-red WOW ring of white counties surrounding Milwaukee like a noose in the past ten years and the numerous other skewed local elections weren't enough to get it through their thick skulls, you would think the sad Clarke reelection would get the attention of the Dem elite. But no. The Wisconsin Democratic Party continues to ignore talk radio and its broader effect and implications.
This leaves the Republican party free reign to command over 20 hours of free advertising on Clear Channel and Journal Communications properties every weekday to spin local GOP propaganda and to outright campaign for Scott Walker and other Republicans. This is all -- strangely, since this scheme is being played on the public airwaves -- without being challenged by the Federal Communications Commission. Although corporate tool Ronald Reagan eviscerated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 -- his only lasting legacy is the national scandal that is Talk Radio -- the FCC still has an Equal Time rule for broadcasters holding government licenses during election cycles. The rule says that, where a candidate is given free time on a station like WISN or WTMJ, an opposing candidate has to be given the same free time if they request it.
To my knowledge, the Burke campaign or other Democratic candidates have never requested equal time for all the dozens of hours of time Scott Walker has spent on Milwaukee Talk Radio with embarrassingly fawning, gushing, enraptured right-wing hosts. If they did and were denied it, where are the FCC complaints and lawsuits? Every goddamn time Scott Walker is talking to his campaign-collaborating friends on Talk Radio, someone from the Burke campaign should, first of all, BE LISTENING, and then they should call in and request to have Burke on the radio for an equal amount of time. If denied, they should immediately tweet that they were denied and then file a complaint with the FCC.
This seems like elementary stuff, but the goddamn Democratic consultants -- the same ones who went ahead with the hero-making Walker recall against the national Dems advice and ran that on "jobs" rather than against the radical actions of Republicans in Madison and are now running the Burke campaign on "jobs" rather than on using the governor as a check on the radical Republican agenda to come -- ignore Talk Radio because...well, for whatever stupid reason they ignore Talk Radio. Talk Radio isn't just right-wingers jabbering at each other -- in the next three weeks it is going to be 20 hours of free advertising for Scott Walker, every day.
Starting tomorrow (Monday), Talk Radio will be fully loaded with talking points directly from the Walker campaign in reaction to last Friday's "debate". They will beat up Burke for not having an answer for nice things to say about Walker -- an enormously stupid trick question by an older out-state reporter who should know better and should be embarrassed for asking it. I would have loved it if Burke -- who went after Walker more than I thought she would in the rest of the debate -- would have said, no, there is nothing good about Scott Walker and his radical destruction of the very fabric of Wisconsin government and democracy and, "oh by the way, governor, how do you sleep at night?" But I understand why she couldn't because it was such a stupid question. And every Talk Radio host will play that clip over and over, chuckling, snickering and gloating over the uncomfortable-by-design moment.
Scott Walker will spend hours on every show in the Milwaukee market and whoever else plays the Talk Radio game in the rest of the state, trying to explain his illuminating "it's not a jobs, it's a work problem" comment, blaming the unemployed for their own unemployment in his underperforming economy and otherwise hammering home his dreary, radical, wolf-in-sheeps-clothing agenda. ("We're not done," he announced recently, which should send shivers up the spine of any reasonable Wisconsinite.) When they are not making sweet love to Walker in person, Talk Radio hosts will be talking direction from the campaign not only daily but hourly. The only time they will take off from the Walker campaign will be taking more orders from the GOP, trying to get their lackey Brad Schimmel elected Attorney General.
All this is coming, predictably, and what are the goddamn Democratic consultants going to do about it? Nothing, I'm guessing. If turnout is the key in this election -- and it is -- a major reason more Republicans are now planning to vote than Democrats is because there are Talk Radio GOP stooges telling them how important it is, 20 hours every day. We will never have that advantage -- and, frankly, since we are committed to fair play, we wouldn't use it as brazenly and shamelessly if we did. But the goddamn consultants aren't even trying. Or listening.
It is not too late. There are things the Burke campaign could do to fight the Talk Radio advantage. Mary Burke has managed to get herself in a position to defeat and reject the disastrous Walker/GOP revolution in Madison. It would be a shame if the elite moneyed interests pulling the strings of the Republicans are allowed to use their illegitimate Talk Radio advantage to put their sock-puppet governor over the finish line once more. It is not too late for the Democratic consultants to get their goddamn act together.
But first, you have to listen and watch what Talk Radio is doing. Next: How to Watch Talk Radio