CommunityFDL Main Blog

This is Who You Are Negotiating With

Listening to local conservative talk radio yesterday was an enlightening experience — not just for me, but also for the two conservative hosts. It’s a pity their station doesn’t reach Washington DC, because the White House and the Baucus Caucus might have learned something about their health care negotiating partners.

Yesterday afternoon, I was making a few hospital calls, and while driving I turned on the local conservative talk station. After Rush’s show ends, the station has a pair of local conservatives who are actually possible to listen to because they at least try to deal with facts and not just bloviate for four hours.

Yesterday, they opened their show by talking about Obama’s "Welcome back to school" speech to schoolkids next Tuesday. They started by noting that some conservatives are complaining that this is Obama trying to indoctrinate the youth, inject politics into non-partisan schools, and all kinds of other bizarre stuff. These two radio hosts — no fans of Obama by any standard — were verbally scratching their heads in amazement at the wingnuts and their cable and online rants. They mocked RedState for their Obama=Hitler comparisons, and laughed at the "keep your kids out of school that day" idea that some wingnuts are pushing. After reading some of these items on the air, they asked their audience, "Do you really think that Obama’s going to do anything more than ‘stay in school, study hard, and you can grow up to be anything you want?’"

Then they opened the phone lines. . .

Their rightwing listeners erupted, frothing at the mouth in their blind attacks on Obama with things like "It’s a slippery slope . . . he’s just like Hitler — creating his own Obama Youth . . . he’s trying to make this into a religious service, getting them to bow down to him as The Messiah . . ." One after another after another they spoke, leaving the two hosts occasionally speechless at what was being said.

I listened on and off for the first two hours as I drove between church, the hospitals and then home, and somewhere in the first half of the second hour, the radio hosts told a caller "Congratulations — finally we’ve found someone who agrees with us!"

These two guys aren’t rookies, and they generally know their audience pretty well. Even so, they were amazed at the virulent tone of the callers, and the fact that so many of them are unwilling to even consider the possibility that anything Obama ever does might be anything less than an underhanded, evil, socialist plot, all designed and being carried out by a grandmaster of 11 dimensional chess.

After listening to these callers, I wanted to call in myself and say "Guys, I’m a progressive liberal democrat, and I listen to you because you are at least thoughtful in your conservative views. But do you hear your callers? If you are Barack Obama and wanted to negotiate on health care, how do you negotiate with people like these?"

Alas, the lines were full.

Christy nailed it this morning. FDR knew what he was up against, and he called it out for what it was: fraud and deception by his political opponents, as they tried to ignore their own misdeeds and take credit for his accomplishments. Sometimes, the opponents are so entrenched in their own world, that you can’t even talk with them. All you can do is name them for what they are.

After listening to a crowd of off-the-deep-enders yesterday for two hours, I can tell you that hardcore rightwingnuttitude on parade is one ugly, ugly thing to behold.

Even on radio with no pictures.

Previous post

Shorter Gates/Mullen Presser

Next post

Will Obama Even Meet with the Progressives?



I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.