I know the odds of you actually reading this letter are slim indeed. I am, after all, a rather unexceptional twenty-eight-year-old housewife who can’t even keep a regular blog. And yet, I would feel remiss if I didn’t poke my head out of my hidey-hole and speak my piece.
You said on the air earlier this week that, at some point, you will have “really pissed off” each and every one of your listeners. I think that’s a fair assessment, but I find myself bewildered at the way that you seem to have heard in those words not a warning, but a challenge to be met before Monday.
Your radio show on Wednesday was less a talk radio program and more of an on-air head explosion about Barack Obama. It was also, to a lesser degree, about your incredulity at the fact that Newt Gingrich is leading among Tea Party voters — after declaring Gingrich and Obama to be essentially the same person, you asked what the hell we in Tea Party were thinking, and if our opposition had, in fact, all been because the Marxist-in-Chief is black.
That was about when my head exploded.
That was in Hour One of your podcast. I was so angry after hearing that most asinine of questions that I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to the rest of the show until the next day. When I did, I found to my relief that you did not make even the slightest allusion to race again, and was thoroughly happy to chalk up the aforementioned outburst as a temporary bout of insanity and move on.
And then I checked Twitter today.
I was enraged on Wednesday. I have since worked through it, and am now thoroughly in the Land of the Double Facepalm.
It’s not at all a secret that your preferred Presidential candidate is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. And I understand that admiration can, at times, lead to imitation. But I think Bachmann’s “strategy” of saying a lot of smart things, followed by one excruciatingly, brain-meltingly stupid thing, followed by doubling down on that one stupid thing, is a page from her playbook you probably ought to have skipped.
But beyond that — What the hell, Glenn?!? What on earth happened to, “I know my audience”? Newsflash, dude: your audience is, for the most part, comprised of Tea Party types, and it’s a good bet, given polling numbers, that a goodly portion of your audience has been looking favorably upon Newt Gingrich of late. Hell, I’m guilty on all counts there. You know what you’ve done? You’ve just told groups like Media Matters that, “Yeah, you guys have been right all along — large swathes of my audience are totally racist.” And, what’s worse, in the same breath you’ve managed to make a longtime, loyal listener like me wonder if that thought hasn’t been simmering in the back of your head for some time — because to my thinking, the “racist” accusation is so mind-bogglingly wrong that it would never have even crossed my mind, let alone my lips.
There was a great comment on the Legal Insurrection post I linked to above, listing the reasons that Tea Party types can get behind a Newt candidacy — but for the “TL;DR” crowd, here’s my (shorter) take on the matter:
Look, I understand that the idea of Gingrich leading amongst Tea Party types is enough to make your head swim. Even — and perhaps especially — for those of us who are finding ourselves, if not in that boat, then moving in that direction, it is a serious “WTF?” moment. And if Gingrich was running his campaign in a way that made clear that he not only owns the Teddy Roosevelt Progressive Battle Flag bedroom set, but also the matching footie pajamas — if that were the case, then yes, your bewilderment would be entirely warranted. But the simple fact is that that’s not the case. It’s true that Gingrich has been running his campaign as a Progressive — but what you seem to have missed is that he’s running as the brand of Libertarian Progressive that, earlier this week, you not only said you could envision, but is an exact descriptor of your stance on foreign policy.
The implosion of the Cain Train seems to have led a lot of us Tea Party types to realize that we actually do want a guy who knows what in the heck he’s doing. Part of the siren song of the Gingrich campaign is that he is positioning himself as a guy who knows intimately the machine that is Washington D.C. (having been a part of it himself), and is committed to beginning the process of dismantling it. Add to this the fact that he’s shown himself more than capable of elucidating conservative principles in the face of hostile media elements; the fact that he’s willing, even eager, to dismiss the basic premise of an unfair question in a way that makes us cheer; and the fact that he’s reaching out to Tea Party types, rather than including us as an afterthought or overtly pandering to us — and you have a force to be reckoned with.
You saw in his answer to your Medicare Part D question a man who thinks that government is the answer; I saw a man who was willing to move the Overton Window one step in the wrong direction in exchange for two steps in the right direction.
Does he have baggage? Good heavens, yes — but we know what it is, which means the odds of an October surprise are low. Might he be lying to us? Yes. Yes, he might. In fact, given his past, it is a distinct possibility, which is why I get the feeling that a lot of his support is of the wary sort, though perhaps that’s just me.
In the same interview in which you talked about the idea of the “Libertarian Progressive,” you also said that you feel that it’s too late for that kind of strategy to work domestically. That is a valid argument against Gingrich; so is, “He’s lying through his teeth about what he wants to do, gang.” But the fact remains that Gingrich is not running as the white supremacist’s alternative to Obama — not by a long shot — and because of that, your “racism” accusation is way the hell out of line, and you owe us all a serious apology.
Glenn, I’ve listened to and watched you since you started on Fox, and your influence has decidedly changed my life for the better. I learned more about critical thinking in that first sixteen months than I learned in sixteen years of school. I learned things about history and current events that I didn’t even know I didn’t know. As a former Useful Idiot for the Left, you gave me the resources I needed to tackle questions that I had thought beneath or below me not three years before. Beyond that, you’ve encouraged me to reconnect with the faith that I had begun to drift away from. Heck, I’m grateful enough for all the good you’ve done in my life that I even wrote and recorded a song about it!
I have defended you more times that I can count. My immediate family thinks you’re crazy and/or dangerous; when I recently told my sister that I pay to listen to you, she looked at me as though I had just expressed a desire to go streaking in a men’s prison yard. I’ve defended you to my husband, the man who started me down the path of conservative thought in the first place, but also a man who is so steeped in normalcy bias that I can show him a project that is in the works and he’ll respond, “That’ll never happen.” And of course, I’ve had friends call me crazy or foolish or brainwashed or even just walk away from me for supporting you.
I’m not telling you this because I’m looking for some sort of commendation, but to better illustrate the truly unenviable position into which you have put me and people like me. I have listened to and supported you for no other reason than I felt it was the right thing to do, because I believe in your message, but also because I’ve come to believe in you as a person. It makes me smile every time you refer to yourself as “crazy uncle Glenn,” because that’s more or less the way I’ve come to regard you. You’ve put your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor on the table for the benefit of people like me whom you will likely never know, and you have earned my respect in the process.
And now in a case of truly not seeing the forest for the trees, you have turned around and kicked me, and others like me, squarely in the gut. And it hurts. A lot.
Just let me ask you this: How many converts to your way of thinking do you expect to get by, A.) Being thoroughly unable to articulate our point of view in this matter, and then B.) Insulting us?
I suggest a thorough examination of that question before you do more harm to a movement that you yourself have worked so hard and given so much to help build up.
[Update: I have gotten a lot of response on this, and posted a sort of addendum to clarify a few points. It can be found here.]