Nasty just got nastier this week when Sean Hannity had a meltdown on his radio show and took Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg, Ted Cruz, and other anti-Trump conservatives to task for refusing to stand with The Donald. Hannity can be cantankerous, but his finger-pointing was a petulant performance. Threatening to blame these Republican never-Trumpers for the rise of Hillary Clinton, he promised to call them out personally if she was elected. Does Hannity seriously believe that they care? These conservative personalities are surrounded by controversy and ugly critics on a daily basis. Harsh critiques fuel the fire in their belly. They thrive in the whirlwind of political discourse. Hannity’s admonition of his personal vendetta if Hillary is elected is probably music to their ears.
Glenn Beck has been a Donald Trump detractor from the moment Trump announced his candidacy. And as a conservative who tried to find merit in Trump during the primary, I was quite put off by Beck’s immediate rejection of Trump as well as by his mockery of the now Republican nominee. While I found much to be desired by the flawed Trump, I believe that every candidate deserved a chance to present his case, if even for just a few days or weeks, before the naysayers began casting their stones. A moment of temporary respect for Trump “the candidate” was the least that Beck could have offered to his listeners. But he didn’t give Trump an iota of regard. He dismissed him as a comedy of errors. As an occasional listener of Glenn Beck, I found his continued pounding of Trump to be annoying as well as unfair.
On the other hand, Sean Hannity dedicated a year to the election of Donald Trump. He needlessly berated Ted Cruz when Cruz was a guest on his show, and he had what appeared to be a nightly infomercial for Trump, disguised as an unbiased television program. Hannity ignored Donald Trump’s past associations with Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Yet, in 2008, he was the number one critic of Obama’s past association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and terrorists Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn. Hannity’s investigative work and reporting on the past associations and behaviors of Barack Obama were dramatic and praiseworthy. He is to be admired for his persistent and relentless warnings about the past history of Barack Obama. So, it was with much disappointment that he neglected to find Donald Trump’s past to be as significant to his candidacy as he found Barack Obama’s past to be a harbinger of his anticipated presidency.
Mark Levin, while not named specifically by Hannity, is unhappy with the Trump candidacy. Unlike Beck, Levin enjoys a long term friendship with Sean, so Hannity obviously tread carefully and omitted calling Levin out for his open admonition regarding Trump’s conservativism or lack thereof. Levin, however, chimed in on the controversy without pointedly addressing Hannity personally. Levin denied that he or any other radio commentators were directly influencing the presidential outcome. According to The Great One, ” This is a presidential election. People make up their own minds.”
Rush Limbaugh was not involved in the fray, but Rush has been the recipient of many complaints by conservative Republicans who have found Rush to be back-tracking on his decades old prognostication that only a true conservative candidate can beat the Democrats. Limbaugh has spent the entire past year rejecting his own prescription for a Republican victory. And in the meantime, during the primary process, he advanced the candidacy of Donald Trump by invoking good old fashioned humor into some of Trump’s most outrageous moments. Rush ignored his own advice, and in doing so, he destroyed his own credibility among many of his listeners.
The War of the Roses was fought for control of the English throne. But the War of the Radio Hosts appears to be heating up for control of the Republican electorate and especially the conservative voters. Glenn Beck has pushed his anti-Trump agenda, but Hannity has helped pave the way for a Trump candidacy. Both men are guilty of shameless prejudice. Had Beck offered Trump a grace period before he ripped into The Donald’s audacious presidential aspirations, his valid criticism would have appeared somewhat sincere. And had Sean Hannity refrained from transforming his radio and television programs into the cheering squad for Donald Trump, his endorsement for Trump would not emerge as insincere and hyperbolic. Both men behaved poorly. Send them both to the woodshed.