Around the Web

A Madison teacher tells her second- and third-graders that Scott Walker’s actions are basically like racial segregation. There’s no other word than evil for someone who tries to make small children, who are much too young to understand the issues behind this debate, hate another human being over reasonable policy disputes through vicious, preposterous lies that no sound-minded adult could possibly believe in good faith. 

Thaddeus McCotter is officially in the presidential race. I’m withholding judgment, but given how underwhelming the rest of the GOP field is, I’m certainly willing to be won over if he’s got what it takes.

Robert Stacy McCain lays the smack down on a richly deserving scumbag with a history of defaming conservatives. If Taylor was sincerely worried about right-wing bloggers who aid America’s moral debasement, he could have started with the pro-choicers. No need to make stuff up.

Glenn Beck says he’s not playing the game anymore, and is ready to revolutionize the news and information system. Or something. I’m still skeptical that adding a subscription fee to what he’s basically already doing is going to do anything but decrease the number of people he reaches, not increase it.

Fox News Channel’s temporary post-Beck show, “The Five,” sounds really, really lame. “Hey, let’s throw together the C-listers we’ve got hanging around the studio anyway and call it a show!” (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld.)

So, Glenn Beck’s Putting Together His Own Network

And while I like the guy, I’m not seeing the appeal. Maybe/hopefully Beck has some additional content in mind he hasn’t revealed yet, but right now this seems less like a real TV network and more like fancy dressing (and subscription fees) for the stuff he’s already doing. Plus, his TV routine is usually too unfocused as it is – doubling it to two hours is exactly the last thing it needs.

New on NewsReal – Astro-Turfed Talk Radio? Hannity, Limbaugh & Beck Accused of Faking Callers

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Not content to belittle conservative talk show hosts as merely greedy or hateful, leftists have seized upon a recent report in Tablet Magazine to cast them as liars who are scamming their own audiences, as well. The piece reveals a service offered by radio syndicate Premiere Radio, which offers to supply hosts with fake callers, the insinuation being that the next time you hear an enthusiastic fan sing Glenn Beck’s praises, or an idiotic liberal effortlessly dispatched by Sean Hannity, the whole thing might be artificial:

“Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,” read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported (for a cached version of the site click here). “We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won’t hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners.”

Gustav Wynn at the left-wing OpEdNews.com reports that the Big Three—Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck—have all unequivocally denied that they’ve ever had actors call their shows, but he’s pretty sure that something fishy is afoot anyway:

Limbaugh sharply rebuked the suggestion, decrying media coverage of the article and denying he had ever used actors on his show as he tried to dissociate himself from the service and any possibility that he staged calls. One could even witness his brain switch gears as he begins to ask his own call screener if he was in on it. This demonstrates how quickly Rush would attempt to insulate himself should it be uncovered someone else was assigning actors to call his show, perhaps in “common purpose”.


So merely by defending himself, Limbaugh implies he’s got something to hide. Why? He just does. After all, he’s Rush Limbaugh.

Next, about 2:06 into the clip he says “over the years” people have “come to him with ideas” to “get in the act” but he “shot it down”. Okay, is this shades of Governor Walker? Who in Rush’s circle of prospective collaborators came to him with these ideas? We don’t know. He didn’t say, protecting their identities from the very listeners he was trying to assuage.

Cheap shot at the Scott Walker-Koch brothers non-story aside, let me remind Mr. Wynn that we don’t subpoena people every time we get a whiff that somebody may have approached them with a bad idea in private.  If we did, we’d never have time to go after real impropriety.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Radical Reading in Education, Part 2

Tonight Glenn Beck alerted his audience to the fact that the problem isn’t limited to Fondy – it turns out the National Education Association’s website has a page recommending the works of an author “widely recognized as the father of, and pre-imminent expert in, grassroots organizing” – Saul Alinsky.

Yeah, that guy.

Paging John Boehner, Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann…any of you feel like maybe trying to do something about this sort of thing for once?

Who Is the Right’s Charles Johnson?

Looks like others are starting to notice that John Doe debates like a foul-mouthed twelve-year-old. For the record, I think Dan Riehl’s original criticism of Glenn Beck, while valid, was over the top, but it’s hilarious to hear Doe equate him with Charles Johnson, because it seems to me that Doe is the Johnson wannabe, not Riehl.  While Charles Johnson smears decent conservatives as too “extreme,” John Doe smears decent conservatives as not extreme enough.

Olbermann Still Spinning “Life Panels”

Keith Olbermann still insists the “death panel” concern is just one big hoax, in doing so using his ailing father as a prop.  I hate to break it to ya, Keith…

Hilariously, Keith can’t seem to figure out why an “honorable organization” called the Special Operations Warrior Foundation would support the dastardly Glenn Beck. Apparently it hasn’t dawned on him that their standards for truth might be a little higher than his.

Michael Medved: What Does “Get Back to the Constitution” Mean?

Michael Medved is, bar none, one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and eloquent guys in all of talk radio—which is why it’s such a shame that he devotes so much of his skill to deflecting substantive criticism away from the Republican Party.  Townhall’s Greg Hengler highlights the following exchange between Medved and a caller (h/t to Hot Air):

Here is a great exchange between a caller to Michael Medved’s radio show who’s obviously influenced by Glenn Beck’s daily mantras like “There is no difference between the two parties — they’re both ‘progressive’,” etc. Without naming Beck’s name, Medved goes off on this caller (read: Glenn Beck). Take a listen:

I’ll be the first to agree that Beck substantially overstates the similarities between Republicans and Democrats (in fact, I’ll go even further and say that Beck’s analysis often comes across as impulsive and poorly thought out), and this particular caller does not make his case well at all.  But while Beck overstates the problem, that doesn’t exonerate Medved from understating it.  He challenges the caller to provide a single example of an issue on which John McCain and Barack Obama were on the same page.

I’ll take that challenge, Michael: not only is McCain’s role in campaign finance reform the stuff of legend, but it could even be argued that he’s even more to the left here than Obama is.

I do believe that satisfies the original challenge, but let’s throw in a second, for good measure: immigration.  McCain is also infamous for his left-wing zealotry in favor of amnesty, and though he may have backpedaled ever so slightly in 2008 for political expediency, he incredibly ran an ad running to Obama’s left here as well, accusing Obama of playing a role in killing 2007’s amnesty bill.

Besides, being somewhat better than the alternative is still not sufficient to rise to the level of good.  Take abortion, for example—when your opponent gets caught red-handed on the wrong side of starving newborns to death in broom closets, it doesn’t take much effort to look good by comparison.

On almost every conceivable issue, John McCain’s conservative credentials have serious flaws, not the least of which was the mainstream conservative Club for Growth’s judgment that his “overall record is tainted by a marked antipathy towards the free market and individual freedom.”

I voted for McCain. I understand that half a loaf is better than no loaf.  I don’t demand 100% ideological purity from every single politician.  But the GOP’s lack of commitment to conservatism is bigger than a handful of isolated blemishes; it’s an identity crisis that caused and enabled many of the Bush presidency’s failings and led to the election of Barack Obama.  Will Medved admit that this is a real, legitimate problem?  How does he propose that we address it?  (And no, throwaway admissions that “Republicans aren’t perfect” don’t count.)

As to the third party question: it’s true that anyone who expects a third party candidate to actually win the White House is delusional, and I’m not aware of any existing third parties that deserve to be taken seriously.  But while many disgruntled conservatives may have mixed-up views of them, a decent third party might be useful in a different way: not as a replacement for the GOP, but as the catalyst for real GOP reform.  As long as Republicans keep limping along on life support, the Beltway types will take their every victory as an affirmation that they’re doing enough right that they’re justified in maintaining the status quo.  It’s doubtful that anything less than a real threat to Republican viability would be enough to force any real self-reflection.

What’s most shameful is Medved’s angry, impatient reaction to the idea that Republicans need to “get back to the Constitution”:

What does that mean?  Stop with the slogans! Talk to me about reality! Americans are out of jobs, there’s 10% unemployment in this country.  We are being spent into oblivion […] so why are you talking about pie-in-the-sky stupidity, fantasy land, kindergarten, childish idiot stuff?  I mean, and you are!

Regardless of Brian’s inability to articulate his message, the fact remains there is no way Medved does not know exactly what “get back to the Constitution” means.  He’s simply too smart, too informed, and too active a conservative intellectual not to.  Take the courts—did the GOP put up much of a fight against Sonia Sotomayor?  Federal influence in education, healthcare, and environmental & workplace regulations have obvious constitutional problems.  In many cases, the GOP has been on the wrong side of these questions, and even when they haven’t, often they fail to make an issue of the constitutional aspect (though there are a few bright spots).  Is restoring a proper understanding of & reverence for the Constitution no longer a major priority of conservatism, in Medved’s view?

This exchange was indeed educative, but not for the reason Hengler thinks.  It demonstrates that, while talk radio personalities like Michael Medved are a tremendous asset in some ways, in others they’re part of the problem.