Posted tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Rush vs. Bush – Again

March 28, 2015

Politico recently ran a feature on Republican presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush’s problem with talk radio. The piece mentions Laura Ingraham, who said there would be no difference between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, and called for them to run on a ticket together, “Clush 2016.” But it goes deeper into the complicated relationship that talk radio king Rush Limbaugh has with Jeb.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

The Right Frequency describes the complicated relationship between Limbaugh and the Bush family. The book describes how Limbaugh endorsed Pat Buchanan’s primary challenge to George H.W. Bush in 1992. Limbaugh actually tore into Buchanan in the 1996 Republican presidential primary. In 2000, Limbaugh wholeheartedly supported George. W. Bush in the Republican primary against John McCain.

From Politico:

Bush, who’s all but officially announced he’s running for president, has said he would want to run a “joyful” campaign. He’s said he would want to have “adult conversations.” It’s phrasing that hints at his general distaste for conservative talk radio. Some Bush allies privately refer to some of the medium’s leaders as “warlords”—a description meant to convey the unreasonable, unrealistic and pugilistic agenda of those who thrive off of conflict. Bush, on the other hand, believes a winning Republican campaign a decade and a half into the 21st century must promote inclusion and optimism, not discontent and fear. People think he’s too moderate in part because Limbaugh and the Limbaugh-like are saying he is. So here, almost a year before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, the primaries have started already—the fundraising and positioning of the so-called invisible primary, but a visible one, too, or at least an audible one. Call it the Rush primary.

Every Republican politician of a certain consequence over the last quarter-century has had to make a decision about how to engage with Limbaugh and the many others who populate America’s most redward airwaves. Bush right now isn’t talking about this because (1) it’s so early in the campaign the campaign can’t even technically be called a campaign and (2) that would be unwise. Limbaugh and his imitative competitors don’t need additional oxygen. But based on conversations with strategists and advisers connected to Bush, consultants, show hosts and industry watchers—and what he’s done over the past month—Bush won’t ignore talk radio.

If there is in fact a Rush primary, Bush, headstrong and self-assured, thinks he can win that one, too.

To learn more about Limbaugh’s complicated relationship with the Bush family, read The Right Frequency.


Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin as GOP Moderators? If Only RNC, Candidates Had the Guts

August 17, 2013

With CNN and NBC out of the running for hosting 2016 GOP presidential primary debates, three of America’s biggest talkers could step forward, the Washington Examiner first reported this week. It would be a ratings bonanza if the candidates and the RNC have the guts to do it.

“Miffed that their candidates were singled out for personal questions or CNN John King’s ‘This or That,’ when he asked candidates quirky questions like ‘Elvis or Johnny Cash,’ GOP insiders tell Secrets that they are considering other choices, even a heavyweight panel of radio bigs Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

“They told Secrets that they are eager to bring in questioners who understand Republican policies and beliefs and who have the ability to get candidates to differentiate their positions on core conservative values.

“The move comes as several conservatives are pressuring the party to have Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin ask the debate questions. “It makes a lot of sense. We’d get a huge viewership, they’d make a lot of news and maybe have some fun too,” said one of the advocates of the radio trio hosting debates.”

Talk radio has helped shape the outcomes of Republican presidential primaries in the past. Below is an excerpt from The Right Frequency about the role of talk radio in the 2000 Republican presidential primary.

Bill Clinton was getting little attention in his final year in office, 2000, as most of the attention was focused on the presidential race.
Hosts weighed in heavily to the Republican primary, which had become a two man race between Texas Governor George W. Bush
and Arizona Senator John McCain by the end of 1999.
Rush Limbaugh threw all his support in the 2000 primary to
It is always impossible to know how much impact talk radio had
on primary voters, but it is certainly reasonable to view talk radio
having greater influence on a primary, when the choir seeks guidance
in making a choice, than in a general election when the choir
already knows what notes to sing and listens to the preacher for reaffirmation.
So it would be with Limbaugh’s near daily lambasting of
McCain, even more than he built up Bush.
“The way the primary system is set up today, talk radio has more
of an influence in encouraging primary voters to vote than general
election voters because talk radio has a higher audience of people
who are more in the extremes of both the left and the right,” said
Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers Magazine. “And statistics do
indicate that the turnout for primaries are more o the zealots than
the average person in the middle. Any radio show that specifically
targets the extremes is likely to galvanize voters. I would think that
talk radio has a bigger influence in primaries today than it does in
the general election.”
McCain had a mostly conservative record, but his support of
campaign finance reform was untenable to many conservatives, as
was his eagerness to “reach across the aisle” and work with
Democrats. Most Republicans liked him in spite of, not because of,
the McCain-Feingold bill. Still, because of his biography as a war
hero, a significant numbers of voters were enamored by him. The
mainstream media especially loved him, because he kept things
interesting, but also for the campaign finance reform proposal.
When McCain trounced Bush in the New Hampshire primary
by a surprising margin, it posed the question whether the inevitability
of Bush’s 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
One of Limbaugh’s parodies featured a McCain supporter
singing, “He’s the candidate I adore. He can keep my tax cut and I’ll
be poor. And I’ll send him more.”
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 Limbaugh’s
focus on McCain really began after the senator’s 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. So there is evidence to
show that talk radio can impact the outcome of a primary election.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

25 Years of Rush Marks Strength of Talk Radio

August 3, 2013

Rush Limbaugh celebrated his 25th year of his game-changing nationally syndicated radio program this past week. As The Right Frequency explains, talk radio did not start with Limbaugh, but he did revolutionize it — creating a commercially successful model that spawned an industry and in turn created an alternative media. Below is an excerpt from The Right Frequency on Limbaugh, the only host to get his own chapter in the book.


Just before the 1992 presidential election, Time magazine asked Rush Limbaugh,

“You’re unabashedly for Bush and against Clinton.
Given 13 million devoted listeners, why is your guy 15 points behind?”

Limbaugh’s answer: “I don’t say that I have influence. I was totally opposed to the 1990 budget deal, and it still happened. I’m not an activist. I do not give out congressional phone numbers. I do not urge behavior. No tea bags. This is entertainment. And in strict marketing terms, does it hurt me to be the only guy not making Dan Quayle jokes?”

Rush Limbaugh has no influence. Tell that to the Democrats in 1994 who lost their seats en masse in the Republican Revolution that was dubbed the Limbaugh Congress. Tell that to the new majority swept in that year that made Limbaugh an honorary member of their freshman class. Tell that to President Bill Clinton who had public fits during his administration over Limbaugh’s commentary.
For that matter, tell it to the Obama White House who made it their strategy in early 2009 to call Limbaugh the leader of the Republican Party, a strategy that did nothing to help Obama against the GOP (which was the intent) but tremendously boosted Limbaugh’s audience and influence.

To be sure, he does not have unlimited political power. His legions of “ditto-heads” are not mind numb robots marching in lockstep. This is evident during the presidential primary season when callers, who insist they agree with Limbaugh 99 percent of the time, wanted to know why he is so down on Pat Buchanan (1996), John McCain (2000 and 2008), Mike Huckabee (2008) and Mitt Romney (2012) and other GOP hopefuls over the years. The “ditto-heads” are
in fact folks who had long sought an advocate who would not mock the views they already held. They found that in Limbaugh.
A month after Republicans faced a beating in the 1992 election, sweeping Bill Clinton into the White House, none other than former President Ronald Reagan wrote a letter to Limbaugh. “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” A remarkable statement from the politician Rush would go on to call Ronaldous Maximus.
Reagan’s December 1992 letter went on to say, “I know the liberals call you ‘the most dangerous man in America,’ but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same about me. Keep up the good work.”
While the left tries to dismiss him, the industry does not, as few people are more decorated than Limbaugh. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993, often times a lifetime achievement that comes toward the end of a host’s career. Rush was just getting started then. He won a Marconi Award in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2005, given by the National Association of Broadcasters to
the top radio personality. Reflecting his role as a leader in the conservative movement, in March 2007 he accept the inaugural William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence, given by the Media Research Center.
Simply put, according to Talkers Magazine, the industry bible, “Rush Limbaugh is the greatest radio talk show host of all time.”
He has not prevented Democrats from ever getting elected again. Nor has he controlled the Republican nomination process—obvious in the 2008 choice of McCain as the GOP standard bearer.
He was no cheerleader for Mitt Romney during the 2012 primary either. But he has become in many ways, if not the leader, the inspiration of the conservative movement.

The left has continually gone after him, seeking advertising boycotts, and accusations of various forms of bigotry. The left, which is often so aghast at casting moral judgment, has repeatedly pounced on Limbaugh for his being divorced three time and married four— paying the gay entertainer Sir Elton John $1 million to perform at his most recent wedding. He was married the first time for 18 months; the second time for five years, the third time for 10 years.
He married Kathryn Rogers in the summer of 2010. Though virtually every bad adjective imaginable has been used to describe him, Limbaugh has  contributed millions from his own pocket and raised hundreds of millions for leukemia research. Rush Limbaugh has been a transformative figure in the political, media and entertainment universe.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

Michael Savage: Always in a Fight

May 11, 2013

(This week, talk radio host Michael Savage won a battle in his litigation with Talk Radio Network. The following is an excerpt from The Right Frequency about Savage’s career in radio.)

Michael Savage angrily barked back at a caller one evening who supported the president declaring, “He is the worst leader in the history of our country. He’s inarticulate and he’s incompetent. … The man has shown he is incompetent as commander-in-chief.” On other occasions, Savage repeatedly called the president a “fiscal socialist.”
That would not seem unusual for a conservative radio show except the president he was talking about was not Barack Obama but George W. Bush.
While Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and especially Glenn Beck have all found times to critique Bush, no conservative talk show host has made it as personal as Savage, the former herbalist living in the liberal bastion of San Francisco.
Further ranting against Bush’s policy in Iraq, Savage implied it was run by his political advisors.
“What is he talking about? The same strategy of letting them get shot before they can shoot? Uh oh. Incoming. Now you can fire back. George said it’s OK. He just called from the fundraiser. He asked Karl Rove,” Savage said. “I don’t want to see another body bag coming back. Every death didn’t have to happen. Every one of them.
Every injury didn’t have to happen. I never heard of this in my lifetime.
We have the most powerful weaponry in the world and we rarely use it. Instead we send boys into hand-to-hand combat. Why?
Why? Why? You don’t know the answer? You can’t figure it out? No bid contracts.”
To be sure, Savage let Obama have it even worse, but during the Obama administration, he never let up on the legacy of Bush. He also regularly lambasts other conservative talk radio hosts for defending Bush. “He’s nothing but a checked pants, country club, Rockefeller Republican, a compromiser and a phony through and through,” an irate Savage said to one caller trying to defend Bush. “The man expanded the government more so than his previous four presidents. Are you aware of any of that or have you taken the Kool-Aid for so long from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about?”
After the 2008 bank bailout, he even called for impeachment— which only the most fringe left activist had called for and Democratic leaders in Congress had rejected.

“If you love your country, why do you let George Bush get away with this? I’m going to tell you something, and I’ll say it right now,
I would welcome an impeachment investigation of George W. Bush,” Savage said. “You can put me on record for that. I would welcome
an impeachment investigation of George W. Bush and Hank Paulson.”
Michael Savage does not want to be part of any clique, and has been as much an annoyance to many conservatives as a scourge to many liberals.
Michael Weiner, his non-radio name, grew up in New York, living in Manhattan, the Bronx and in Queens. His grandfather Sam Weiner was a Russian Jewish immigrant that came to the United States during World War I, bringing his wife and children, including Savage’s father. His father was an antiques dealer.
After earning a bachelor’s at Queens College, Michael Weiner worked as a school teacher and social worker before going to the University of Hawaii, where he earned two master’s degrees, one in one in medical botany and one in medical anthropology in 1972.
By 1978, he earned a doctorate at University of California Berkeley in Epidemiology and Nutritional Ethno-Medicine in 1978. He said
he sought professorships “but I received ‘drop dead’ letters from universities because I was not black, or Hispanic, or a woman.”
Still, he wrote 18 books on homeopathic medicine and folk remedy books, in his field.760 After promoting his books on many radio shows, he launched his own show. His radio career began on KSFO in 1994 as a local Bay Area host, and he went from being known as Dr. Michael Weiner to Michael Savage. He went into national syndication in 2000 through Talk Radio Network.
His family has kept up the previous career with a family business in Southern California called Rockstar, an herbal energy soft drink firm.
To make a point, Savage applied to be the dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, after taking on his radio position.
When the school gave the job to Orville Schell, an author and journalist, Savage sued. But he later dropped the case.
He was not always so dour on Bush.
He was a major cheerleader for going to war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003. He once said, “If it’s all about the oil, and seizing the oil for America, then so what?” he said. “If we permit those Arab cutthroat murderers to keep all the oil, we’ll be down on all fours in 20 years.”
Savage claimed to love his adopted hometown, but rarely missed a chance to denounce its leftism and political correctness, in his book “The Savage Nation,” he wrote, “San Francisco is filled with human plague like this because of the ultraliberalism that is killing the city. I’m convinced it’s the only city left in America that permits eels like this to crawl around. It’s the city of, well, not tolerance, but of hatred. Hatred for anything normal. Hatred for Law and Order.
Hatred for decency. Hatred for mama and apple pie and the roses in your hand.”
Before MSNBC became the San Francisco of cable news channels, it hired him to do a one-hour show. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Organization for Women and other liberal groups immediately opposed the network giving him the show. Savage explained they should not be opposed. “On a sexual level I’m a libertarian,” he said, and added, as a way to show he does not discriminate, he said he hired “a nice big strapping lesbian” as his personal security guard. That hardly defused GLAD’s protest, but then again, that was probably never the intent.
“Michael Savage is brash, passionate and smart,” MSNBC President Erik Sorenson said at the time. “His conservative point of view adds to the kaleidoscope of perspectives already heard on MSNBC—a place where a range of voices have their say, without any one dominating the channel itself.”

To learn more about Savage and other talk radio giants, click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

Click here for a special limited time offer on The Right Frequency for Kindle.

Mark Levin: Chief Justice of the Airwaves

May 11, 2013

(The following is an excerpt from The Right Frequency.)

Perhaps no other radio host can speak words that inform, enlighten, crystallize thinking and still be entertaining the way Mark Levin does. While critics have described the program as “anger theater,” it is more passion than anger. Levin goes through rants, and throw out terms like “New York Slimes” referring to The New York Times and “Hillary Rotten Clinton,” referring to the former first lady and secretary of state, and telling know-nothing callers, “get off the phone you big dope.” But he also delivers monologues that are quite professorial.
Levin can be most accurately described as a very passionate conservative with a great sense of humor and even greater intellect. His show with 8.5 million listeners became prominent during the Bush years, the program and Levin became a true political force during the Obama administration thanks largely to Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny,” that became a cultural phenomenon and proved that ideas matter. Levin was not a trained broadcaster, or aspiring media star from the beginning. Rather, he was a whiz kid who leaped into the Reagan movement in 1976 and stayed on board through the revolution in the 1980s.

Levin skipped his senior year of high school to go to Temple University, where at the age of 19 graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to the local school board, making him the youngest school board member in the state of Pennsylvania at the time. He graduated from Temple Law School at 22, and then became active in politics.

He was a foot soldier for Reagan’s effort at the state level in Pennsylvania to rest to the Republican nomination away from incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976, a losing battle that still saw Reagan come extraordinarily close.

He was then part of the Reagan revolution in 1980, when Reagan won the nomination and trounced Jimmy Carter to become president
Levin was deputy assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, and Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior before he moved up to the Associate Director of Presidential Personnel and eventually became the Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese.

After his career in government, Levin went into private practice and later became the president of the non-profit Landmark Legal Foundation, based in Leesburg, Virginia, where he lives and broadcasts his radio show from. As president of Landmark Legal, he became an enemy of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, over their questionable funding of political campaigns. He also brought legal action against the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service and other federal agencies regarding federal grants. While many public interest non-profits tend to be press release factories, Landmark Legal was never a publicity hound, working quietly and taking press calls as
they came, but hardly ever calling a press conference.

“Landmark Legal Foundation is a great passion of mine because it is a relatively small legal group which has done truly amazing things both before I came here and now that I am here,” Levin said.

“And we have enormous challenges. Our opponents are much more heavily funded and more numerous.”
A fan of talk radio for 30 years, he became a frequent legal analyst, penning op-eds for National Review and other publications, and appearing as a guest on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.

Limbaugh gave him the name “F. Lee Levin,” jokingly after the famous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. In 2001, the American Conservative Union honored him with the Ronald Reagan Award.

After Hannity reached national syndication, Levin became a frequent guest and occasional guest host. Hannity gave him the name “The Great One,” a phrase callers to the show continue to use.

Levin took to radio well enough that in 2002, WABC gave him a Sunday afternoon program.

To read more, click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

Click here for a special limited time offer on The Right Frequency for Kindle.

Bookviews: The Right Frequency ‘Excellent Book, Well Worth Reading’

February 3, 2013

From Bookviews:

If you are among the many millions who depend on talk radio to get news and opinion from a conservative point of view, than you will enjoy Fred V/ Lucas’ new book, The Right Frequency: The Story of Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment ($18.95, History Publishing Company, softcover). L. Brent Bozell III president of the Media Research Center, says, “Author Fred Lucas chronicles conservative talk-radio stars over the decades, reminding us how they kept the American idea alive. Lucas travels back to the early days of talk radio history, describing, for example how Fulton Lewis predicted to Mike Wallace in the 1950s that the Republican Party could be a majority party if they would only let the conservatives run it, instead of wishy-washy, me-too moderates.” That was quite prescient given the way the recent reelection of President Obama is widely attributed to a weak candidate and failure to wage a more aggressive campaign. The Republicans have had a succession of presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon to Reagan and the two Bush presidencies. It took until 1994 to gain control of Congress during the Clinton administration, but political power kept slipping away and today’s talk radio stars, led by Rush Limbaugh, will have plenty to rail against for the next four years. As history, this is an excellent book, well worth reading. 

Click here to see full article.

To order a copy of The Right Frequency, click here.

Talk Radio Sways Election Results

October 6, 2012

Townhall published an excerpt from The Right Frequency explaining the historical role that talk radio has had on determining election results.

The excerpt reveals how Rush Limbaugh helped unravel the Republican primary campaigns of Pat Buchanan in 1996 and John McCain in 2000 and how Bob Grant helped Christie Whitman get elected governor of New Jersey, then helped George Pataki win the governor’s race in New York. Further, it details talk radio’s impact on the California recall election.

Click here to read the excerpt.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.