Tuesday, March 10, 2009

To Tell You the Truth....

There's hope out there for Republicans desperate to regain the White House. A well-known Republican has stated his possible candidacy for president in 2012 during this, the first two months of the Obama administration. He says it will be a decision which he will make with his current (third) wife. No, it isn't Rush Limbaugh, who couldn't afford the pay cut to president. It's Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker Limbaugh sometimes referred to as "Mr. Newt". He'll be 69 years old in 2012, three years younger than John McCain was in 2008. I can't wait for the fresh-faced crowds of young Americans to join in the chant, "Newt! Newt! Newt!"

During the past 10 days you may have heard fond memories expressed about the just-departed Paul Harvey, whose career in radio began shortly after the INVENTION of the radio. He was 90 when they finally tore the microphone out of his cold, dead hands. He always seemed to be a cheerful, smiling person, but, to tell you the truth, I didn't like his "character", a word I use because I realize that having someone in your home via media every day is NOT the same as actually knowing him.
And I admit, it's not in good taste to rip the dead when they're not around to defend themselves. But here are my gripes with the man: he changed his views over the years, but didn't admit it. He consciously chose one group of Americans (older people) over others and, since they didn't pay him, had almost no regard for the people of other countries. His mix of "news and commentary" left people unsure when one ended and the other began. His use of the term "Page two" was his own green light to go into commercial mode, something he did with great enthusiasm, but not backed by research other than "Angel and I LOVE it!" His radio personna, which I would summarize in the phrase "I know more about this than you, kid." helped open the door to the radio vampires who today prowl the conservative talk dungeons of the AM dial.
I saw him once. Waaayyy back in the late 60's he visited our campus, which was unlike other college campuses in that it was staunchly pro-war (Vietnam). Harvey was probably aware of this as he referred to the recent resignation of Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense. "What we need now is a Secretary of Offense!" was a line that generated a roar of approval. The standing ovation was almost automatic.
Yet a few years ago on radio he referred to an overnight coup in an African country. He managed to dehumanize the people there by claiming not to know how to pronounce the new dictator's name, then he begged that we (the US) stay out of the situation, as if only his words could swing the White House away from such a foolish decision. He may have actually come to think of himself as the spokesman (as if there weren't plenty already) for Americans over 70. Anyway, that's how I thought of him.


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