Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hand slapping forehead


GOP spin is a drug-resistant germ. This is true of everything, from the Republican Party's inexplicable reputation as fiscally responsible to Bush's reputation as tough on terror.

It is also true about the predictions of Air America Radio's demise, which have been a staple of GOP talking points memos since before AAR went on the air.

The New York Times tells the story of last month's meeting between President Bush and a gaggle of right-wing talk show hosts. The piece acknowledges that Bush and the Republicans are desperate to avoid losing one or both houses of congress. It does not articulate the real problem facing GOP, which is that just three weeks away from the election, they are still trying to rally the base. This is the period when they should have already begun to siphon away moderate Democrats and independents by tacking rhetorically to the left. But, their policies and practices are so out of touch and out of tune with Americans, that they are left with nothing but propaganda.

Hence, the effort last month to keep Sean Hannity and Neil Boortz from abandoning them, at least on the air. If that crowd ever stops pumping up the wingnuts, the Republican Party could actually cease to exist.

Interestingly, though, the Times itself falls victim to a piece of right-wing spin similar to that which is consistently promoted by the Rush Limbaughs of the world. In attempting to explain the importance of talk radio to the GOP, reporter Jim Rutenberg writes the following:

Strategists on both sides agree that the party’s greatest hope for holding control of Congress now rests with its ability to get core Republicans to vote, and that talk radio, which reaches millions of them, is crucial to the task.

Democratic strategists say talk radio remains a fearsome Republican advocacy force for which they have little direct answer. (Air America, which features liberal hosts, including Al Franken, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.) The top two rated conservative hosts, Mr. Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, have done more than their part to rally their listeners this year, especially during the Foley scandal, to the great relief of Republican Party officials.
Um, Jim? Air America Radio is still on the air.

AAR filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in order to get some breathing room from one of its creditors, but it is still on the air. I'm listening to the Randi Rhodes podcast as I write this post.

And, trust me when I tell you that Air America is a factor in this election. The difference is that, while Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are rupturing themselves trying to distract their audiences from the truth, AAR is rallying Democrats with the truth. We are as fired up and determined to win as we have ever been, and Randi and Al and Sam and the whole AAR crew are part of the reason.