Thursday, August 31, 2006

So Much For The Dialectic

I've actually met Hugh Hewitt, the right-wing radio host, after a lecture at my college. He seemed to be a nice enough guy, a bit long-winded and given to a creepy sentimentality in regards to Richard Nixon, but hardly a moron. Like with so many true ideologues, the main thing that struck you about him was the way that, when launching into a spiel, he already seemed to have it in the can; he got that blank look that people sometimes have when they are trying to remember everything on their grocery list, except in his case it wasn't mustard and shampoo but talking points he was dredging up from the shadier recesses of his mind. I think the word for this is didactic.

But like so many other conservative academics who used to pay lip service to ideas and conversation over naked power partisanship, Hewitt seems to have been driven around the bend by his fear after September 11th. Or maybe his ascension to the blunt instrument of the radio forced him to new unpleasant extremes. Whatever the reason, he has, in the ensuing years, devolved into the worst sort of apologist, a stiffnecked and clumsy cheerleader for a political movement that has little to do anymore with the ideas that once supposedly animated it. He is a kitten-strangler, the kind of true believer for whom no act carried out by his liege would be beyond the pale (including the aforementioned cat asphyxiation).

So it's not at all shocking that he was actually asking his listeners to call into his show yesterday to repeat on air and verbatim this trite, boring, worn-out little piece of wet noodle sophistry:

"Any vote for any House or Senate Democrat is a vote against victory and a vote for vulnerability. Vote for Victory. Vote Republican."

This is what it's come to for the bitter enders. We need to remember that when Tricky Dick himself (whom Hewitt once served in his post-Presidential days) left office in disgrace, a full quarter of the electorate still had his back. There are always those who will believe no matter what, like the Jehovah's Witness I once spoke with who, after admitting to me that I had soundly refuted an erroneous biblical claim he had made, repeated the exact same point word for word just ten minutes later. Reason was impervious to his catechism.

The tragedy is that, from what I little I have witnessed of Hewitt, he isn't that stupid.

I guess that's why we have the phrase "willing tool".


Anonymous said...

I agree with you---he used to be more measured, reasoned, and thoughtful before 9/11. I used to watch his PBS show (local LA/OC) with Patt Morrison of the LA Times. He was supposed to provide the conservative viewpoint, with Patt speaking up for liberals, but I remember a number of shows when the interviewed guest was so liberal that Patt ended up speaking for the moderates.

In the past, he tried to reason with his viewers and readers to support the candidates he favored. But I never saw him pull anything as blatant or as mindless as what you quoted in your blog. I used to respect him as a genial, thoughtful conservative, but I hardly feel that a vote for Dianne Feinstein is a vote for Al Qaeda. ;)

PS: speaking of that "deer caught in the headlights" look, you ought to see what happened the last time the LDS missionary elders came to my door. After offering them cold, caffeine-free sodas, I printed out Joseph Smith's ancestral file from the official LDS genaeology website, showing that he had over 30 wives, 1/3 of them under 18 (so much for the "polygamy was created to care for widows and children" bunk I was told as a child). At least they couldn't claim that the document came from an "anti" source.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey its ANON here. Just thought I'd put another burp in your blog. We (the old gang) purchased your movie and watched it. Talk to you later Spence.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Vermont Neighbor said...

It's great that you listen to and critique opposing viewpoints. I would agree, HH is not lacking in the IQ department. As can be said about many public speakers of either political party.

It's funny, about RMN. I've read that his support for such causes as the Environmental Protection Agency and other outside-the-GOP checklist items, actually made his own party desert him when Watergate broke.

His fall is always the focus... not to shock, but I've always found his international accomplishments impressive, and his ability to carry on and just contribute after leaving office. That's strength. I'm also of the mind that the things he did were pretty common in the world of dirty politics. And I do mean politics in general. DNC, GOP, the Camelot fable. All of it.

John Kerry's brother, Cameron, was arrested for a campaign break-in, and if there's anyhing we learned from Watergate.... well. Again, politics and politicans are almost interchangeable in the primal need to win. JMO.

12:51 PM  

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