There are at least 10 posts about John Kerry’s gaffe at Hugh Hewitt’s blog. Why so much attention to such a trivial story? Because the purpose of Hewitt’s show and his blog is to advance Republican power. All else is subordinated to the quest for power – and Hugh Hewitt never goes off message. He adheres to the party line with Prussian discipline.
Hewitt knows this story is great for the Republicans and deadly for the Democrats. All stories that show the Republicans as strong on the military are winners. This story is especially good because John Kerry is a weasel. The man has less charisma than a sea cucumber. He makes Republicans look good and Democrats look bad. (How did he ever succeed in politics? Oh, yeah – Massachusetts. Say no more.)
Oh, I’m sure Hewitt is sincerely upset about John Kerry’s remark. Anyone who has any respect for the military is bothered by Kerry. But 10 posts worth of upset? It’s all about power. It’s all about inciting the Republican base to feel fear and loathing for the Democrats; this is the one thing that unites the broad coalition that is the Republican Party; this is the one thing that drives Republicans of all types to the ballot box. Ratings might have something to do with Hewitt’s selection of topics – but I think he would sacrifice ratings to see Republicans gain more power.
When did Hewitt last do a show about the looming social security crisis? Or how the Bush administration appeases the enemy? Topics like this don’t stir the emotions and they don’t help to elect Republicans. They’re the kind of issues that Hewitt spends 15 minutes a month on just so he can say, “Yes, we talked about that.”
Liberals like to live within the liberal cocoon, where they just hear news that confirms their worldview. Before the coming of cable news, talk radio and the internet, staying inside the liberal cocoon was easy. The right drew strength from being on the outside. In the ‘80s and ‘90s talk radio was a revelation: it was the child who shocked us by announcing that the mainstream media had no clothes.
Today right-wing talk radio’s schtick is getting old. It continues its mission of exposing the hypocrisy of the liberals and the mainstream media – a mission that was accomplished long ago. There is a more pressing mission now: exposing the hypocrisy of the Republicans. Showing how the compassionate conservatives have betrayed the party of Barry Goldwater. Showing how the Republicans have failed to defeat the enemy in our war with fundamentalist Islam. The left can’t handle this mission because their understanding of individual rights and free market economics is worse than President Bush’s.
Instead of taking up this mission, shows like Hugh Hewitt’s and Rush Limbaugh’s are emulating the enemy they vanquished. They’re spinning a cocoon of their own. This is what happens when the pursuit of power becomes more important than the pursuit of truth.