Hating On Talk Radio: A Conflict Between Partisanship And Principle

With the seemingly never-ending primary season soon drawing to a close something rather unexpected has happened. Talk radio hosts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, usually the standard bearers of right-wing thinking, have been getting flak from what used to be their stalwart political constituencies over their criticism of John McCain (and other candidates like Mike Huckabee) who now appears to be the inevitable GOP nominee.

This is a bizarre turn of events, to say the least, especially given how people like Limbaugh have been portrayed in the past by the left (and their mouthpieces in the media). For years we have been told that Limbaugh and his colleagues are little more than partisan plants who get their marching orders from GOP headquarters. Yet now it’s pretty clear that Limbaugh, etc. don’t necessarily carry the GOP’s water. Or, at least, they’re not carrying it this election season.

And many on the right are not happy about that. But what I can’t figure out is why they’re unhappy about it.

I can understand not wanting to see one’s preferred candidate criticized, but shouldn’t we prefer honesty and forthrightness from our political commentators and not blind partisanship? I, for one, am happy to see that someone who I have listened to and respected for years (I’m a Rush baby) is putting principle before party loyalty.

And let’s not forget that, in the case of Limbaugh specifically, we’re not talking about side-taking. Rush has been critical of John McCain for years now. Anyone who listens to Rush’s show on any sort of a regular basis knows that McCain is routinely a target of criticism. Given that reality, is it reasonable to expect Rush to do a “180” on McCain and support him now that he’s the GOP’s inevitable nominee?

It’s reasonable, I think, if your expectations of political commentators lay along the lines of blind party loyalty instead of principle and honesty.

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