Tuesday, September 19, 2006



Last Thursday, Mr. Bush had a couple of visitors over in the Oval Office of the West Wing. What was originally supposed to be a 30-minute meeting turned into a 90-minute affair, no doubt cutting into Dubya's sleeping schedule. But, for these five guests, I'm sure he felt that an exception should be made. After all, how often, outside of a Klan meeting of some sort, can one find Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz, Michael Medved and Mike Gallagher together in one room meeting with the president of the United States?
Yep, five of the biggest hate spewers and fear mongers on the public airwaves today got ninety minutes of face time with the leader of the free world. And the meeting would have included the big daddy of them all, Rush Limbaugh, but he reportedly couldn't attend (must have been all the oxycontin).
So, what do you think those six people had to talk about less than a week ago? I say something cliche about being a fly on the wall, but I think the fly probably would have died what with all the vitriol in the air. I've been mulling this meeting around in my head for a little while and I finally came to something of a realization - how amazing this is. Think about it. The apparatus that has been constructed on the Right over the decades is an amazing machine. Here you have a president who has struggled in the polls for most of the year and is threatening to drag his party down as we enter the midterms. So what does he do? He calls in his five biggest cheerleaders and noisemakers. Bush knows that he has to change the narrative and these five are the ones that he's called on to do it. Cumulatively, they will talk approximately 100 hours every week on their respective redio programs and will make any number of national television appearances. These five will step up and do and say anything and everything to get the job done. That level of message discipline is astounding to me.
Needless to say, this sort of thing would never happen with a Democratic president. First of all, there isn't exactly a large number of left wing talkers to choose from. And even if such a pool existed, the simple fact is that Dems just do not operate like this. We as a group have never just toed the line and preached a message just because an authority figure has told us to do so, at least never on a scale like the GOP has. Imagine that meeting in the White House where the Democratic president has called on Al Franken and Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes and Stephanie Miller, perhaps Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart. Honestly, even considering this grouping is preposterous on its face. They do not see their respective jobs as one of spreading the gospel according to the holder of the Oval Office like the rightie talkers do.
The concept of gathering mouthpieces to a meeting with the president is purely a right wing phenomenom. I would think that Dems expect more from a president and would openly engage the man (or woman) on whatever issue he was looking to push. For instance, while I was not at the "blogger summit" in Harlem with President Clinton last week, I highly doubt that Mr. Clinton gave out talking points that were meant to be pushed on the blogs. It just doesn't work that way on the left. And I couldn't be happier for it.

Hat tip to Media Matters for catching this.

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