Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday talk radio update

The big news was the Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment. Dave Rye had Lee Bruner on, but between running in and out of stores to deliver papers, I missed most of what he had to say. I think he liked the ruling.

O'Reilly, oddly enough, didn't talk about it, other than to say it had happened. NPR gave a pretty good rundown, but it never became clear to me (and still isn't) exactly what the position of the dissenters was.

Hannity, who is nothing if not predictable, said the decision showed how important it is to elect McCain to improve chances of getting conservatives appointed to Supreme Court openings. I would have bet a million dollars that he would say that within the first five minutes after I tuned in, and I could have won and retired forever if I had known someone dim enough to take such a bet. He actually said it within the first two minutes, and I think he would have said it faster if he hadn't been taking a call right when I tuned in.

But Hannity also said something that I did not expect and think is wildly wrong. He couldn't understand how Kennedy could vote as he did in the Gitmo case and then vote as he did on gun rights. "He must be playing politics," Hannity said.

In reality, you could make a stronger case that he was the only one of the justices who wasn't playing politics. Kennedy took a principled stand in favor of habeas corpus, the oldest and most fundamental of rights in a civil society, and he took a principled stand in favor of the Second Amendment, another venerable and fundamental right. Makes perfect sense to me. I just haven't figured out what all the rest of the justices were thinking.

Michael Savage, a frequent critic of Bush, opened his broadcast by playing "The Star Spangled Banner" and remarking that the decision essentially vindicated the entire Bush administration. Enough of that.

Glenn Beck promised to have guests on to discuss the case, and I was tempted to hang around, but he started with a weird screed against socialized medicine. Beck can be funny at times, but when he tries to be serious, he is an incredibly pompous bore. Time for jazz.

The most revealing talk wasn't on radio at all, but last night on C-SPAN, which broadcast a congressional hearing on the Bush administration's interrogation techniques formerly known as torture. John Yoo, who wrote the administration's infamous torture memos, simply could not be coerced, coaxed, sweet-talked or intimidated into answering even the simplest of questions. It wasn't clear that he even understood them. Even sympathetic Republicans began to lose their patience.

It was a sad commentary on how low standards have fallen during the Bush administration. Pathetic. Woeful. Shameful.

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