Skip to comments.Talk Radio Plays Historical Role in Elections
Posted on 09/21/2012 6:47:15 AM PDT by Kaslin
(The following is the second of three excerpts from The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment, by Fred Lucas; History Publishing Company. The adapted excerpts look at the impact of talk radio on election results.)
Before what would turn out to be an historic election, a New York Times article said, If Larry Kings CNN program functioned as a nominating process for Ross Perot; Rush Limbaugh may be a kind of national precinct captain for the Republican insurgency of 1994.
An election night poll by Fabrizio-McLaughlin of 1,000 people asked: Who do you think has been more straightforward in discussing the issues of this election? Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio hosts got 34.3 percent from the poll. The mainstream media got 26.9 percent.
On November 8 Republicans took the House as Limbaugh expected, and took the Senate to boot. Congress was under new management. Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House of Representatives. Bob Dole was the new Senate Majority Leader.
Winning the caucuses in Louisiana and Alaska, then edging out Bob Dole in the New Hampshire primary, it was a real possibility Pat Buchanan who Rush endorsed for president four years earlier -- would be the GOP nominee in 1996. But Buchanans stances against the North American Free Trade Agreement and other free trade policies were too much for Limbaugh.
Ill tell you something, you are being manipulated in a way that I find very bothersome, Limbaugh told Buchanan supporters after the New Hampshire victory. Pat Buchanan is not a conservative. Hes a populist. He also said, Pat Buchanan wants to engage in policies that expand the role of government in peoples lives.
Buchanan supporters made up a big portion of Limbaughs audience. Talk Daily did an analysis from February 19-23, 1996 and found that pro-Buchanan callers outnumbered by 3-1 pro-Dole, pro-Steve Forbes and pro-Lamar Alexander callers combined.
Did the sustained attacks impact the primary contest eventually won by Dole? Michael Barone, author of The Almanac of American Politics, thinks so. In an interview on Limbaughs show, Barone said, You spoke out consistently against those things to the core audience that Buchanan was aiming at, and he failed completely.
When John McCain trounced George W. Bush in the 2000 New Hampshire primary by a surprising margin, it posed the question whether the inevitability of Bushs nomination would happen. Limbaugh warned that even though the media is orgasmic over McCain now, they are love em and leave em liberals if he is the Republican nominee (a prediction given credence by the 2008 election).
The National Annenberg Election Study found that post New Hampshire primary, listening to Limbaugh negatively affected the voters feelings about McCain. This is significant since Limbaughs focus on McCain really began after the senators victory in New Hampshire. The Annenberg study also found that the impression Republican voters in Super Tuesday states had of McCain took a negative turn after listening to Limbaugh.
In 1993, Christie Whitman was running an uphill race against New Jersey Governor Jim Florio. She won by a slim margin and credited Bob Grant with helping her get elected. In 1994, Grant even hit the campaign trail for George Pataki, proclaiming, We get the chance to show Mario the door in 94. He would regularly bring Pataki on the air and introduce him as the next governor of the state of New York.
Pataki, felt most of the New York media was solidly behind Gov. Mario Cuomo, and had already written him off. Whenever I wanted to talk to the people, Id call Bob Grant, Pataki said. One week prior to the November 1994 gubernatorial election, Cuomo led by double digits in most polls. However, Patakis numerous appearances on Grants show, and Grants own crusade against Cuomowhom he called Il Supremo led to a stunning victory for Pataki, who would go on to serve three terms.
The Gray Davis re-election celebration had barely ended when on December 30, 2002 on San Franciscos KSFO, Melanie Morgan first mentioned the possibility of a recall.
I have been dubbed the Mother of the Recall but I think Gray Davis thinks of me as just a real mother bleeper, Morgan joked. I was thrilled by the response, because it was exactly what I envisioned would happen. But I did not expect other talk radio hosts to jump onboard so quickly. Radio show hosts are feral animals, and they usually do not want to become involved with an idea or concept that another host was pushing. This time was different. And everyone could take a piece of the credit because it took a sustained political effort, a daily push, to get the buzz, build the anticipation for change, and demand action from the citizens of California.
Tax reformer Ted Costa and Sacremento talk radio host Eric Hogue organized drive by signings, where state residents could sign a recall petition at orange-coned drive-up lanes that offered coffee and donuts.
When the numbers showed that the Governor was officially finished, I quietly cried. I offered up a prayer for Gray Davis and his family, Morgan said. I did not expect to be so emotional, but it was the first time in my adult life where I witnessed citizen activism challenge and change the system.
Yeah, and we got Ahrnold..... nice change.
I think Obama’s radio interview with Pimp with a Limp will be decisive.
The “What now?” moment
Ahrnold being elected was the moment I wrote off that state for good. Not worth bothering with.
I remember some FReepers loved it, of course some of them thought Scott Brown was going to become the next President too at one point.
Having said that, our GOP "leaders" must lead. Get out there and support the conservative agenda, unapologetically. They can't rely in talk radio, alone, to push our message. Guys like Boehner and McConnell, are useless...
Would be the happiest guy in the world if guys like Allen West and Jim DeMint get a leadership spots... even happier when he becomes the POTUS one day.
I bet Bob wishes he could take this one back.