Buzz and I spent the Easter holiday in the Great Smoky Mountains hiking the trails on cloud free days and camping under the star filled nights. While on our way down to the wilderness of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains, we tried out some satellite radio in the VW Micro-bus. I picked up a 3 month free subscription for winning the annual WNBA trivia contest from ESPN Magazine.
Since we had a twelve hour drive, each way, we were subjected to hour after hour of conservative talk radio. It was quite a change from our three year experiment in Haight-Ashbury.
Apparently there are a number of things you should know before diving off the right side of the cliff. The terminology, the accepted “truths,” the revisionist view of history, and even the jokes are all part of the clubhouse known as conservative talk radio, and your familiarity with all of this will add to your listening enjoyment.
With this in mind, we decided that, as a public service to our readers, we should put together a primer for those of you who are not familiar with the genre and would like to give it a try.
Ronald Reagan is an infallible deity
Probably the number one rule or truism of conservative talk radio is that Ronald Reagan was the ideal President. Just the mention of his name is an inspiration to all. As President he did no wrong, and to speak ill of him, even the slightest criticism is blasphemy.
Reagan single handily won the Cold War by a Peace through Strength strategy. Mikhail Gorbechev was just a product of Reagan’s tough stance on global communism. The policies of glasnost and perestroika had very little to due with the fall of the USSR and communism, and if they did, they were only reactions to the strong military build up and tough talk of Reagan.
Even though Reagan only really paid lip service to balanced budgets and all the social conservative issues of the day, this reality is forgotten amongst all the rhetoric.
Reagan can be used as a justification for any conservative position of today. If he were alive today, he would be in lock step with every conservative position of 2012
Barack Obama is a socialist
Socialism is basically defined as an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels.
Ask any practicing socialist if Barack Obama is a socialist, and they will answer with an emphatic “no.” Ask any conservative radio talker, and they will answer just as emphatically “yes.”
The talkers’ rationale is that any attempt to regulate the economy or business is socialism. Unless capitalism is allowed to act without any government regulation, it is not capitalism.
The New Deal was an abject failure - World War II pulled us out of the Great Depression
Despite the fact that World War II was objectively a massive government work project, all the government deficit spending is over looked. When the government creates millions of jobs by pouring massive amounts of money into the defense industry, that is not socialism. However, if the government pours massive amounts of money into any domestic project, such as infrastructure improvement projects, that is socialism.
Free enterprise and pure capitalism is the answer to all our economic woes.
This narrative is gospel on talk radio. If the government and unions would just get out of the way, we would have full employment and everyone would be happy. The capitalists will automatically do what is “right.”
All government is bad
All government projects are a waste of money. All government regulation is just designed to get in the way of entrepreneurs. Any thing government can do, private enterprise can do better.
The post office should be a privately run enterprise. Social Security should be voluntary. Public schools cater to the lowest common denominator and exist just to indoctrinate students to liberal ideas and give union teachers a job.
The only caveat to this is that the Department of Defense is absolutely necessary, and the more money you throw at it the better.
Liberals are stupid and hate America
The “liberal” is to be examined and figuratively dissected like a specimen in a zoo. Liberals have been brainwashed by the Main Stream Media (alternatively referred to as the Lame Stream Media, the Liberal Media, or the Drive-By Media.) If they could only learn the “true facts,” they would all be conservatives.
“The liberal” is incapable of objective thought. They are governed totally by emotion. Conservatives are only swayed by objective, black and white truths. There is no gray.
All liberals are atheists and hate America. Their efforts to make things better are just attempts to destroy the American way of life with their secular humanism.
Everything “Jimmy Carter” is bad
It is an undisputed truth that Jimmy Carter and his Presidency were absolute failures. Carter equals failure. Just as Reagan represents everything that is good, Carter is the epitome of bad.
There is no gray - everything is black and white
This maxim runs hand in hand with the belief that every complex problem can be solved with a simple conservative solution.
If the economy is in a cyclical downturn, the solution is simply cutting taxes and government regulation. Crime can be eliminated by locking up all the criminals for long, long periods of time. Everyone who collects any type of government assistance (with the exception of large corporations) is just pure lazy. If you eliminate government programs, you will eliminate lazy people.
The Second Amendment is all importantand absolute
All gun regulation flies in the face of the Second Amendment. There is no such thing as reasonable gun regulation. Every American has an unalienable right to own any type of gun ever made and as many guns as they want.
If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns.
There are probably more rules, but these should be enough to increase your listening enjoyment.
Does Mitt Romney even realize that he's running for President? On Friday, his campaign announced that Mittens would be filing an extension for his 2011 taxes. There's nothing wrong with filing an extension, but for a guy who has be dogged by tax questions for his massive income, why prolong the issue?
George Romney released 12 years of returns in his 1968 Presidential run
Romney's father, the late George Romney was one of the first major Presidential candidates to voluntarily release his income tax returns back in the 1968 Republican Presidential campaign. He famously released 12 years of tax returns and started a modern tradition of the Presidential candidate tax return release.
Mitt Romney released 2 years of returns in January
Romney's GOP opponents made an issue out of Romney's reluctance to release his tax returns back in January. After pressure from his opponents and some embarrassing and awkward debate answers on the release of tax returns, Romney relented and released his tax returns from the 2010 and 2009 tax years.
Romney's release was enlightening, not from the fact that he makes gobs and gobs of money, but that his effective tax rate was in the 14 to 15 percent range. It also raised questions, because unlike his dad's release of 12 years of tax returns, Mittens only released 2 years.
It also showed overseas investments with accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. While absolutely legal, such accounts fed the narrative that Romney can't relate to the average American voter who probably couldn't point to the Cayman Islands on a map, but knows that the Cayman Islands are where "rich people" hide their money.
Romney's filing of a tax extension furthers Romney's problems.
You would think that for a seasoned Presidential candidate like Romney, he would have known that April 15th was tax day and that he should have his return spit shined for the media and the American voter. Buzz will be contacting the Romney campaign and volunteering the services of his UNIVAC 3000 for Romney's tax preparation.
Two problems arise out of the extension filing.
First of all, the filing of an extension kicks the can down the road and closer to the general election. If Romney had filed a full return on time, his tax return would be news now and would share the spotlight with President Barack Obama's tax return.
So when Romney does file his tax return, it's another news story closer to the election when more people are paying attention. He also doesn't benefit from the cover of the President releasing his return at the same time.
Secondly, it doesn't help the Romney narrative that he is this consummate businessman who can be the country's CEO. It's not like the Obama regime changed the tax date to surprise and embarrass Romney. For a guy who prides himself on dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, not filing his taxes on time sort flies in the face of that narrative.
Our great project to to revitalize the Sixties in Bay area has come to a disappointing end. Buzz and I had hoped to recapture the flavor, mood, and ambiance of the 1960s in Haight-Ashbury, but armed with our vintage RCA record player, Buzz's bongos, our tie-dyed wardrobe, and our earth sandals, we suffered some serious setbacks.
The area has changed significantly, and the anti-Vietnam war sentiment just doesn't translate well in anti-War-on-Terror sentiment. The fact that there is no longer a military draft seems to be a major factor. The youths of today don't end up in a foreign land unless they volunteer.
So Buzz and I packed up all of our Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane LPs and the Univac 3000 into the micobus and headed back to NEPA.
We will be back covering the political scene and the WNBA once Buzz gets a new transmission and a good set of used tires for the microbus. The cross country trip has taken a toll on the micobus.