Great moments in conservative minority outreach:
In the most inexplicable programming decision by a radio station in Philadelphia since someone at WIP dreamed up “Eskin and Reese,” WPHT announced last Thursday that its new afternoon drive time host is Dick Morris, the Clinton White House advisor-turned-conservative pundit/activist. Morris replaces MIchael Smerconish, who recently said he’s leaving for satellite radio.
The only man in American politics who’s been involved in a toe-sucking hooker scandal and had it only amount to the second-most embarrassing episode of his career, Morris was recently let go from his “Fox News Contributor” gig, after a particularly laughable election season performance in which he predicted a huge Mitt Romney landslide all the way until the end.
Morris has a well-earned reputation as at best an exceptional political hack and at worst, an actual con man. Staking out a role on the right as half-pundit, half-Tea Party activist, Morris has spent the Obama presidency raising money, cranking out books with 40-word titles and sharing egregiously wrong predictions.
It’s hard just to overstate how wrong Morris is, just about all the time, and I’m not only talking about his 2005 book, “Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race.” His performance in 2012 was so embarrassing to all involved that it was decided this level of shameless, dishonest hackery on behalf of the Republican Party was too much even for Fox News. Whether he will be able to continue his side business, which sounds an awful lot like a scam, remains undetermined.
But even if Morris didn’t have that record, and even if he didn’t have a nails-on-the-blackboard speaking voice, or give off an aesthetic in which sleaze appears to visibly waft off of him as he speaks, there are two very strong reasons why it makes no sense for WPHT to hire him: He’s never hosted a radio show in his life, and he has no ties at all to Philadelphia.
Morris’ Wikipedia entry describes him as “an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant.” That’s a lot of different professions, but none of them are “radio host.” And the history of the radio industry is filled with big names who’d never done radio before, flaming out relatively quickly.
I may not agree often with WPHT’s morning host, my Philly Post colleague Chris Stigall, but “radio host” is his profession, he’s been doing it for years and he knows what he’s doing.
I also can’t figure out what his audience is supposed to be. Liberals aren’t going to listen to him, and whatever credibility he had over conservatives is likely gone after 2012. When he spoke last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the audience looked like the stands at a Miami Marlins game.
Morris has often appeared as a talk show guest, most notably with Sean Hannity, but guess what- Hannity’s own show will air opposite Morris’, on 106.1. I imagine Hannity’s audience will stick with the genuine article.
Morris was most recently seen appearing with Piers Morgan on CNN, as Morgan continued his recent tactic of scanning the very brief list of people in the world more loathsome than Piers Morgan and inviting them as guests on his show; so far only Morris and Alex Jones have made the cut. And after calling for far-right purity since at least the early Bush Administration, Morris has been urging Republicans to moderate ever since, a stance that always goes over great on conservative talk radio.
I just don’t see how this idea can possibly work. If Morris is still employed on WHPT a year from now, I’ll be shocked.
Some right-wingers may sincerely have had a well-founded, deep-rooted loathing of Chavez, and may have actually been able to write in detail about his failings and their impact on Venezuelans. I can’t name any right-wingers who fit that description, however….I repeat: No one on the right hated Hugo Chavez. No one on the right gave a crap about him. No one on the right gives a crap about Venezuela. Every word ever uttered or published on the right about Chavez is part of the right’s war against American leftists, liberals, and Democrats — nothing more.
Not that I come to praise Chavez, but… this is true.
That’s the main thing I’ve learned working as a reporter and political observer in Washington: No one can carry out complicated plans. All parties and groups are fractious and bumbling. But everyone always thinks everyone else is efficiently and ruthlessly carrying out complicated plans. Partisans are very good at recognizing disarray and incompetence on their side of the aisle, but they tend to think the other side is intimidatingly capable and unburdened by scruples or normal human vulnerabilities. And there’s so much press interest in Svengali political consultants like Karl Rove or David Plouffe, all of whom get built up in the press as infallible tacticians, that the place just looks a lot more sophisticated than it really is.
That’s the topic of this week’s Philly Post column.
By the way, I made an error, which I caught right before submission, and fixed. But if I hadn’t fixed it, it might have led to the following correction:
An earlier version of this column stated that radio host Mark Levin, after Michelle Obama’s Oscar appearance Sunday, compared the First Lady to Eva Peron. In fact, Levin’s Michelle-as-Eva quote was from several months before the Oscars, and was in reference to the First Lady’s proposed school lunch standards.
Three new columns/essays this week:
- At Philly Post, I wrote about the Eagles, their decision to raise ticket prices and why unpopular as it is, people will pay the new prices. Come of the column and stay for the new picture.
- And at EntertainmentTell, I look at the arrival of Dish’s Hopper with Sling, and at a plot line shared by Girls and The Mindy Project.
I write about the John Kerry confirmation and the decline of boomer influence at the Philly Post, and I write about the tenth anniversary of “The Super Bowl is Gay” at EntertainmentTell. Stay tuned on the latter site tomorrow for two new movie reviews.
After the NRA’s insane press conference on Friday, I’d say the happiest person in America is Charlotte Allen. Everyone’s going to get off her back for awhile.
Wayne LaPierre’s press conference -which, due to no questions being taken, was no press conference at all- was a special kind of wingnuttery, petulant and whiny and uncommonly vicious. Virtually everyone on Earth- especially Hollywood, video games and “the media”- was blamed for the Sandy Hook massacre, with the exception of guns and anyone who uses them.
As usual with this sort of thing, his examples of the horrible culture causing violence included “Natural Born Killers”- a movie from 1994 that’s almost never on TV- and a video game that looks like it was made for the NES in 1988.
Worst of all, one gets the sense that LaPierre thinks he’s the victim. No one has suffered in the last week like HE has.
The insane proposals were plentiful- a federal mandate for an armed guard in every school (small government!). A “national database of the mentally ill?” That’s more destructive government intrusion into innocent people’s lives than the worst the NRA has ever feared about gun restrictions.
I’m no fan of Code Pink, who interrupted the speech several times, so it says a lot that the NRA made them look like heroes.
I speak as someone who’s not sure how I feel about gun control, or what the best solution is for the problem of school massacres. But the NRA- which has spent the last several years lying through their teeth about Obama and the U.N.’s plans to take every last gun away- is absolutely not on the side of good.
That vile, nauseating speech was the biggest gift the NRA could’ve possibly given their political enemies. They deserve to be absolutely radioactive.
Had 9/11 been prevented at the last minute, neither “The Hurt Locker” nor “Zero Dark Thirty” would ever have been made, and Kathryn Bigelow would still be best known for directing “Blue Steel.”