In light of the recent election results, and in response to the burning question, "Where does the Republican Party go from here?" I am passing on a sneak preview from my new book Trump's Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism. It explores the idea that for Republicans to rebrand themselves, to attract minorities and women, they must find common ground. Here is a taste of what I recommend they do...
"Pie in the sky idealism results in chaos. Progressives want the world to conform to their idyllic worldview, so they act as though it already has. That is why it is important that they redefine language and history, so it comports with their convoluted illusionary reality.
Our priority as Republicans must be to protect our family first. To make sure our members have realistic views of reality, that they are armed with the truth so they can exercise their freedom to create jobs, homes, schools and security rooted in what the Constitution deemed 'the pursuit of happiness.' To live safely in reality.
So I believe Republicanism is synonymous with what I call Familyism. It is about starting every day with the idea that your family comes first, then the family of your community, and then your state, and then your country. By taking care of and providing safety and security for your extended family, you are actively supporting what the founding fathers envisioned for the United States of America, a family of individual states and communities, all with different personality types, but all pulling the collective boat in the same direction.
We are all roots and branches of the same tree, America.
It is time for Republicans to embrace and brand ourselves with a new definition, a new motto, a new moral imperative: Republicans, the Family First Party."
I started listening to Rush in 1985, as I was spending a great deal of time driving around Southern California, working as a manufacturers sales representative, and his show burst out on a powerhouse AM channel in mid morning drive-time.
I must admit that at first I thought the guy was a pompous ass. But I still listened, because he was funny too. And he had a way of talking about current events that reminded me of my college days. I always enjoyed a good, interactive lecture and discussion in a classroom atmosphere. I was bored by pop music, so I got hooked on talk radio, and Rush was not just a pioneer, but as I learned over time, a cultural and political genius, too. Limbaugh has built his audience on, as he puts it, "Explaining and illustrating the absurd using absurdity."
Rush has been properly credited with the resuscitation of AM Radio. He took it from a failing Top Ten records and DJ medium, which could no longer compete with the improved sound quality of FM broadcasts, to a whole new news, information, and interactive talk medium. He tapped into what is now SOP, but at the time had no outlet: the need for people to share their passions, their frustrations, and their anxieties about life, community, national politics and current events. Limbaugh's mostly "talking about what interested" him show format was the radio forerunner to Twitter. The public was slowly drowning in new ways to get their news and information, and they needed someone to help them sort it all out and talk about it.
Demographics show Limbaugh's audience is mostly older male, middle-class and conservative. My guess is, most don't spend much time on Twitter, either.
But the most fundamental reason Rush is still the leader in the huge talk radio market, is because he can make absurdity make sense. And as confusing and contradictory as some of the news is, he adds a semblance of humor to the equation. Just enough to diffuse the anger, but also to illustrate how convoluted and distressing so much of our public discourse has become.
Whether you agree with his perspective or not, the man is highly entertaining, and his brand of human interest conversation continues to compete successfully with hundreds of sources on radio, TV, the internet and on our cell phones. I could make the case that Oprah Winfrey, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, and so many others, all learned a lot from Limbaugh, and owe much of their success to his success.
In the late 90's, Limbaugh formed an alliance with recording artist Paul Shanklin to produce a steady stream of musical parodies around high profile celebrity and political characters. Combined with his cartoonish nicknames for his favorite targets like 'Dirty' Harry Reid or Debbie 'Blabbermouth' Schultz, his voice imitations and creative soap-opera-style replays of controversial and conflicting sound bites, Rush consistently sets new creative standards for the radio medium.
After uber-liberal filmmaker Michael Moore released his anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2006, acclaimed Hollywood producer David Zucker (Scary Movie, Naked Gun, Airplane) jumped into the fray when he decided that some of Washington's shenanigans just couldn't be ignored by filmmakers.
He formed an affinity group of conservatives in Hollywood; he got Jon Voight, Dennis Hopper, Kelsey Grammer, and Chris Farley's brother Kevin Farley together and pitched a script. His subsequent film, 'An American Carol' spoofed the limousine liberals of Hollywood. It challenged their sense of patriotism and tendency to 'blame America first.'
The film would not have happened without the groundwork by Rush Limbaugh. That reality holds true for later proteges like Dinesh D'Souza, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, and Michael Savage.
Zucker had made a dramatic transition from being an anti-Vietnam war protester and ardent Al Gore supporter, to an outspoken JFK-style conservative. He had grown to resent Democrat's rejection of American exceptionalism and the way the Left was complicit in allowing socialism, anti-zionism and radical extremism to flourish around the world.
Limbaugh is still garnering nearly 30 million listeners any given week, and though he pioneered the format, his is still quite unique. Critics want to focus on his squeaky voice (when he gets agitated) but he has an uncanny ability to point out absurdities. Just this week, Joy Behar lamenting the election results on ABC's liberal circle-jerk daytime talk show "The View" said that Republicans increased their majority in the Senate due to 'redistricting'.
Rush, after squeaking about how it shouldn't be possible for someone so ignorant to hold a seat on a nationally syndicated TV talk show, reminded the audience that state senators serve entire states, and since there are, as directed by the constitution, only two senators from every state, there is no such thing as 'redistricting' in statewide elections.
As the self appointed 'Mayor of Realville', Rush spends a great deal of time mocking leaders in academia, entertainment and politics who constantly demonstrate little or no understanding of our constitutional republic and how it works.
"Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?" - Chico Marx
Recently Bill Maher, on his nighttime talk show, pontificating on Trump's popularity ratings, said:
“His popularity rating keeps going up, not down. It’s almost in the range of a normal president, which is really scary. Because he certainly is not that. So, they (his supporters) obviously don’t care about so many things they used to care about like decorum, or policy, or democracy, or freedom of the press.”
Intentional or not, Maher is impugning a massive number of people and their motivations. And of course he can't help but malign Trump, because he is appealing to his Progressive audience, and therefore, truth is relative.
Maher's choice of words are intended to invoke anger and hatred, to rally his ultra-liberal following, to create some team spirit and resistance energy. He is addressing the troops of anti-Trump Progressives and pumping them up for the second half of a game in which they are trailing, bigly.
For example, he says Trump's ratings are almost in the range of a 'normal' president. No, Bill, they are right in the same range as Obama's ratings were after his first two years. So either Trump's ratings are normal or Obama's were abnormal. You can't have it both ways.
He claims that Trump supporters don't care about decorum. I would argue that millions support Trump's position on standing for our National Anthem, not to restrict NFL players free speech, but to stop the hijacking of a public display of respect for our nation and its heros. It is the lack of decorum, the abject disrespect for the moment and the venue that is objectionable, not the credibility of the issue of police abuse or racism.
As for policy, I would suggest one 'obvious' reason Trump won is he ran against the wrong policies of the Obama era. Obama seemed to care more about illegal immigrants, Islamic fanatics, or being liked by foreign despots, than he did about the American working class, and the security of our citizenry. The same issues that drove many otherwise recalcitrant voters to vote for Trump.
Maher claims Trump policies are bad for minorities, women and gays, but the facts contradict him. Employment stats indicate all minorities are finding work at record setting rates. Hate crimes are down, female incomes are up, and it was Trump who warned Republicans to get used to gay marriage as it was now the law of the land. His stern military and domestic security measures have made us all safer from Jihadi attacks and removed weekly beheading videos from television news broadcasts.
Bill, you are too smart to keep referring to America as a democracy. America is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic governed by a document that cedes power to the people, but also demands all citizens respect the rights of its minorities. The founding fathers purposely chose not to make America a purely democratic government, because it leads to mob rule. It is Progressive anarchists that invoke mob rule, using intimidation and violence to shut down debate on campus, in congress and across social media.
"No Trump! No wall! No borders at all!"
Progressivism is communism in disguise, where (in Marxist theory) everyone gives according to ability and receives according to need. One party, or a totalitarian dictator, manages everything from the top down. Under their form of government, celebrities like Bill Maher do not exist except to act as propaganda agents for the authorities. Dissenting opinions, like we see on The View or any number of American news/talk shows, are not tolerated in communist countries.
Maher conflates 'Free Press' with freedom to say anything without attribution or consequences. The abuse of those journalistic freedoms by using unnamed 'reliable sources' instead of cross-checked and verified informants, is a major threat to a free press.
I have a liberal definition of news because I think news can be what excites people. I’m not very sanctimonious about what news is and isn’t.
- Diane Sawyer
It is becoming increasingly obvious, too many MSM journalists agree with Diane Sawyer. They subjugate boring civic activities to bloodsport mayhem that attracts leering audiences and increases advertising revenues and reporter salaries.
The only current restrictions on journalistic excess are coming from powerful pressures to conform with politically correct dogma. Newspapers, TV and social media are more concerned about what people 'think' than what is true. And they feel compelled to direct what their audience thinks. The Progressive angle on censorship is over what constitutes 'hate speech', what hurts people's 'feelings', and what comports with their approved template of 'inclusion, social justice and fairness,' just as Kim Jong Un does in North Korea.
Maher worries about Trump policies that will censor Progressive thought, but it is conservatives on TV, on college campuses, on Facebook and Twitter that are being shadow banned.
Bill Maher's definition of decorum, policy and freedom of the press, is obviously, not objective. What is scary, and just as obvious, is that he has such an eager and receptive audience.
The Villagers are on the rampage. They are calling out the "Fake News".
People on the Left think the Mainstream Media is bought and paid for by powerful international corporations and Republican donors. People on the Right are convinced the Mainstream Media is a cabal of leftist leaning elitists and globalists who would prefer that government be the head of our collective family.
They can't both be right, can they?
Well if I am right, I think a mad doctor ( who obviously graduated from one of our multicultural schools) has created a two-headed monster that is both Leftist and Conservative. His monstrous creation, FrankenMedia, is schizophrenic, delusional and quite unpredictable. The mad doctor? That would be Dr. MarketForces Frankenstein.
I know, many of you will be saying, "What? Everyone knows the media is biased toward the Democrats!"
And I would agree if we look only at the American News Media. But when we patch together the worldwide media, and all of the social media platforms available, we get an entirely different monster. Though everyone on the planet is dependant to one degree or another on the information distributed by the rapidly expanding digital media panoply, the number of choices has grown exponentially. The concept of 'broadcasting' is extinct. The consumer can pick and choose from thousands of digital platforms, effectively customizing their information streams. We now have a 'narrowcasting' industry, brewing every kind of ideological tonic that will draw that 'drive-slowly-by-the-accident' audience.
The popularization of the term 'Fake News' is an oversimplified colloquialism, symbolic of what is wrong with our civilization. We are driven to package everything in truncated blurbs by our ridiculously short attention spans. The whole concept of journalistic integrity, the serious examination and distribution of information, has morphed into a new form of life.
What was for nearly half a decade a resource we could count on, the 4th Estate, has degenerated into an arcade ride labeled 'News.'
Like much in the culture of Western Modernity, when we find something we like, we exploit it to death! We over-use it and beat it into an unrecognizable bloody pulp version of itself. If one is good, two will be better, and ten must be awesome!
Our culture is not satisfied with four or five beer choices, so now when we go out for a drink, the beer menu is twice as thick as the dinner menu. The same holds true for our information streams; we can monitor dozens simultaneously, not to mention the sharing platforms of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and many others. Information comes in sound bites, truncated and even abbreviated, but collectively, it dominates our attention. TV's are everywhere, from restaurants to airport and hotel lobbies, to the top of gas pumps. The news we experience today bears no resemblance to the news we trusted when only the local newspaper, the local radio station and maybe two or three networks competed for our attention.
The ever present, multifaceted FrankenMedia Monster is unavoidable!
What we no longer have is accuracy in news. No one can claim to have the correct information because there is just too much of it. And who is to filter or edit it for accuracy? Just when you think you have gleaned all that can be said about an issue, here comes some bombshell from 'unnamed sources' blowing the story to smithereens!
What we do have is a FrankenMedia Monster that was created by committee of market forces that demanded the news department deliver higher ratings, garner more advertising revenue, and keep the audience tuned in for longer periods of precious advertising exposure. Producing the news is relatively cheap because you don't have enormous fixed costs for actor salaries, set construction, and massive production crews. The news is spontaneous and perpetual. Paying news collectors is much cheaper than paying content creators and story writers.
The news operations have come to be the branding mechanism for cable TV. I bet you can name four or five news channels but would have a hard time naming very many of the entertainment channels. Some of the most successful and well known media celebrities are 'Infotainment' stars like Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Matt Lauer.
Narrowcast cable or online platforms like YouTube, Netflix and others, are now producing original content too. But when you look close, nearly all of it is the sensationalization of recent news stories. The hit mini series, The People vs. O J Simpson, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., was an FX Channel original. It combined the intrigue of a domestic violence, a beautiful victim, a celebrity athlete and a gory murder. And it was true! Just what the ratings doctor ordered!
The FrankenMedia Monster is pieced together from different disciplines: the basic news is the skeleton, but hanging on the bones are a variety of garish attractions, to grab the attention of the audience. There is political intrigue (that's a big one because it has so many vested interests). There is entertainment from sports, film and TV celebrity, from human interest in trouble caused by chance (weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, healthcare and disease, etc.) and of course, war. There are wars waging 24/7 somewhere on the planet.
The FrankenMedia Monster is fed by cannibalizing the news; taking parts from different locations and origins, and ginning up the most possible commotion. Mixing one part entertainment with two parts news creates an elixir that audiences crave. When Trump slips up and fails to grab the headlines for a day (which doesn't happen very often), the Brexit Story, German troubles with Islamic immigration or something really incesstuous, can quickly fill the void.
Next up, racial tensions and unjustified police shootings!
I remember hearing one anchor say, "We will start our broadcast on this very slow news night with a story about the spread of hepatitis in San Diego!" Apparently President Trump forgot to slander someone with a Tweet that day...
Whether P.T. Barnum actually originated the phrase, "There is a sucker born every minute" is irrelevant. The point is, there is a news story born every second, whether it is fake or not. And advertisers know there are millions of suckers out there anxious to eat it up. Dr. MarketForces and his many assistants, lead by Igor Advertiser, have created an efficient and dangerous monster.
Get the whole story in my new book Trump's Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism by Rick Elkin, published by Liberty Hill Publishers, and available online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or through most major booksellers.
Excerpted from an interview with the SDUT:
Gavin Newsom said…
"The folks closest to me held me to a high level of accountability on it. The newspaper did, on a weekly basis, called Shame of the City series. Every week when I was mayor... chronicling our successes and failures, our setbacks, our triumphs, our overpromising, our under delivering, our under promising and over delivering, depending on the category, but I feel very strongly unless the state intervenes, your mayor down here, Mayor Kevin] Faulconer, is not going to solve it on his own. Mayor Garcetti is not going to solve it on his own. Mayor Libby Schaaf, you want a problem, go to Oakland, you can’t even get off the freeway. I mean they’ve literally taken over lanes as you get off the freeway into the streets. It’s that bad. It has to be regionalized and we have to have a statewide frame and we need the federal government to get involved because again we’re manifesting a national problem disproportionate on the streets of the state."
He is admitting that California is a mess and he is crying for help from the Federal Government because the Democratic Regime in California has totally lost control, and continues to exacerbate the problem with open borders and sanctuary city policies. Now he wants California to put him in charge so he can push even more idiotic Peoples Temple-style solutions until we collapse like Venezuela….