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Expect Left Lurch, Not Political Caution

I have remarked in a few places, perhaps published or perhaps on the radio or both - can't really recall, that Obama has studied intensely the first Clinton term and is likely to have learned not to lurch too violently and over-reach in leftist policies in the first two years. Well, Victor Davis Hanson persuasively disagrees.

And for all the talk of a new realignment and the end of the old conservative regime, 2008 is more likely explained as a once in a lifetime alignment of the stars (cf. Carter in 1976): the mid-September meltdown that ruined McCain's lead; the normal weariness after eight years of incumbency; two wars; a charismatic young and path-breaking Democratic candidate, a liberal's renouncing of public campaign financing to amass $600 million.

If such reasoning were true, then the sentiment might be 'strike now', while the House, Senate, media, and indeed the world are all on board since they may not be either six months from now, much less two years from now. And that would suggest, I think, quick action on the fairness doctrine, an end to union secret ballots, a stop on a lot of drilling (all this in the short term costs nothing), as well as hefty income and payroll tax increases -- in short, the big government Euro-model at home, and the UN/we-are-the-world model abroad.

So maybe because the election did not show a radical and permanent shift in the electorate, it is more, not less, likely that we will see a leftward lurch, especially on structural things like unions, open borders cum amnesty, and fairness doctrine/talk radio, etc. that would all be seen as investments in ensuring more liberal voters in the next elections.

Very solid reasoning and equally unfortunate. Note that the 'Fairness Doctrine' implementation needs no Congressional passage or Presidential order. The next FCC chairman can simply issue decree.

And the next FCC chairman is likely to be... the last FCC chairman who oversaw the 'Fairness Doctrine' implementation and maintenance before Reagan replaced him.

Buckle up.


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Comments (35)

"Am I the only one who's co... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"Am I the only one who's confused by all this conservative organizing against the re-imposition of the "fairness doctrine" on talk radio? I understand why they oppose that move, but why are they putting so much energy into blocking something that nobody is trying to do. A Fairness Act bill was submitted in the House in 2005, but it only 16 cosponsors. No such bill was submitted in the last conference. Barack Obama opposes reintroducing the Fairness Act. And speaking as a paid-up member of the vast left-wing conspiracy, nobody on our side is getting any marching orders about this.

I guess they need something to talk about on the radio shows, but I'd just focus in on Obama's plan to turn the United States into a socialist dystopia."


I will go on what I see him... (Below threshold)

I will go on what I see him do, not what his spokesmen say.

This country wil... (Below threshold)

This country will take a left turn so hard we'll get whiplash, if the D's have their way.

Look for the DEM Congress t... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Look for the DEM Congress to try to expand the size of the Supreme Court (Congress determines size of the court)in the name of diversity. That will give them at least 2 more judges if not more. Expect one to be Hillary Clinton (have to take out the competition for 2012).

@AdrianTwo points<... (Below threshold)


Two points
(1) The article to which you're commenting suggest that the 'Fairness Doctrine' would simply be implemented by the FCC without need for congressional approval. If true, then your copy-and-paste comment is pointless.

(2)Feinstein and another ranking Democrat (I forget offhand) were talking of re-implementing the 'Fairness Doctrine' as recently as this summer.

But don't let the facts get in your way...

Adrian Browne,Here... (Below threshold)

Adrian Browne,

Here's Schumer...

Nancy Pelosi, June 25, 2008 (breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor)...
"The speaker of the House made it clear...that a bill by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) to outlaw the "Fairness Doctrine" would not see the light of day in Congress during
'08. In ruling out a vote on Pence's proposed Broadcaster's Freedom Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA.) also signaled her strong support for revival of the "Fairness Doctrine" --

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (June 2007)
"It's time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine"

Fact is that I could find hundreds of quotes from leading Democrats within the last 18 months either demanding the "Fairness Doctrine"...or PROMISING IT!!

Browne's overpaid.... (Below threshold)

Browne's overpaid.

We have heard plenty of sup... (Below threshold)
Captain America:

We have heard plenty of supposed voter suppression, now the real suppression is planned for in the form of FCC restrictions.

Gird your loins!

america voted to flush bu$h... (Below threshold)

america voted to flush bu$h and his policies down the toilet. the neocon fringe may call that a whiplash-inducing swerve to the left, but to the america that voted for change its just a big course-correction against 8 years of incompetence and criminality

I guess they need... (Below threshold)
I guess they need something to talk about on the radio shows, but I'd just focus in on Obama's plan to turn the United States into a socialist dystopia."

The Fairness doctrine is the a part dictatorship of the proletariat. marxist need to get everyones mind thinking the correct way. So we all other major media in the tank need to takeout talk radio. Funny how dissent against Bush is Patriotic , however dissent against the left is pornographic.

Comrades the workers utopia cometh.
We will all be one think the same way, live the same except for our glorious leaders. We all read the "The truth: aka Pravda.

Browne's overpaid.</... (Below threshold)

Browne's overpaid.

You're wrong Oyster, "Brownie's doing a great job."

america voted to f... (Below threshold)
america voted to flush bu$h and his policies down the toilet.

Actually, if that were true, he wouldn't have stayed in office for 8 years. America didn't change the guard, Brzezinski did.

Adrian is doing nothing so ... (Below threshold)

Adrian is doing nothing so he can keep getting his share of the wealth.

I still want the White Hous... (Below threshold)

I still want the White House mirror concession. Maybe I can convince Barry that they (the mirrors) wear out.

As the saying goes - "<b... (Below threshold)

As the saying goes - "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it".

Lots of folks wanted 'change' - but there's a whole lot of ways to 'change' things politically - and most of them aren't what anyone would consider good. And even then, some of the 'good' ones will have side effects that'll hardly be palatable.

But the electorate wished for 'change'.

And now - you've got it. Might as well enjoy it - and remember the results NEXT time the Election Genie comes around and you tell him you want 'change'.
Because there's a LOT more ways things can go WRONG when you change them randomly, than right.

Now - what side effects might come from this 'fairness doctrine'? I think we've already seen that 'progressive' talk radio is pretty much a non-starter. The ratings simply aren't there for it - people will not listen in sufficient quantities to make it pay.

So any radio station that's forced by the FCC to put it on (and force is what will be needed - can you seriously imagine that ANY radio station's going to take a 50% hit in ad revenue willingly?) is going to find itself bleeding money FAST. Not to mention that their listeners, once they realize that 'progressive' radio is programmed in - will find someone ELSE to listen to at that time, so their listener base will fall.

Which will catch them between a rock and a hard place - forcing them to raise their ad rates on the stuff that people WILL listen to, but they'll have a hard time justifying it due to a lack of listeners. It might just be cheaper to accept an FCC fine for not being 'fair'.

peabody:... (Below threshold)


america voted to flush bu$h and his policies down the toilet.

Good that you realize that the election wasn't a vote of support for Obama.

"america voted to flush bu$... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

"america voted to flush bu$h and his policies down the toilet"

I don't remember seeing Bush or his policies on my ballot. Peabody, are you from Florida or something?

Wizbang-Great Post! Perhaps... (Below threshold)

Wizbang-Great Post! Perhaps Obama should perform in Las Vegas because he's a MAGICIAN! I wrote an Obama Survival Guide because I'm worried for the American people, www.HowtoSurviveObama.com. Keep up the good work!

I don't think the fairness ... (Below threshold)

I don't think the fairness doctrine would be all that heinous (it's pretty misunderstood by even its most fervent opponents), but count me out of those clamoring for its reinstatement. You guys can have talk radio. I take it about as seriously as I take blogs.

I mean, Rush and Hannity ju... (Below threshold)

I mean, Rush and Hannity just spent effectively the past two full years trying to make sure Senator Clinton and President Obama didn't get elected, and where did that get them?

Fred Marks, starting as soo... (Below threshold)

Fred Marks, starting as soon as "The One" is inaugurated I will be "helping" him along, by working to encourage people to DEMAND more and more and more from him!!

The site to be used for this shall remain nameless! :)

But I expect LOTS of traffic...I will tell them all to tell their friends" "Just wait, Obama's gonna give you EVERYTHING!"

Meanwhile, over at BeJohnGalt.com we'll be helping folks stay out of the way of the stampeding herd!

Did I want it this way? Nope. But these are the cards we've been dealt...and I'll play these!

So any radio stat... (Below threshold)
So any radio station that's forced by the FCC to put it on (and force is what will be needed - can you seriously imagine that ANY radio station's going to take a 50% hit in ad revenue willingly?) is going to find itself bleeding money FAST. Not to mention that their listeners, once they realize that 'progressive' radio is programmed in - will find someone ELSE to listen to at that time, so their listener base will fall.

Not to worry they will all get BAILOUT Money.
The Truth will be heard!
We must do away with HATE radio.
Profits are evil so the less of them that BIG RADIO has the better

"...(it's pretty misunde... (Below threshold)

"...(it's pretty misunderstood by even its most fervent opponents)..."

Well then, why don't you explain to us what it is we misunderstand about government regulating speech.

The fact that you claim to not take talk radio seriously and in your next comment tell us why shows me that A) you listened to it and B) chose not to take it seriously.

You have a choice.

I don't listen to the alphabet soup of TV news programs and cable stations, including Fox.

I have a choice.

The difference is that I'm not "clamoring" to pull the government into the equation to force them to present news in a fashion I see fit, nor to report news I want to hear.

Every time I turn on NPR in my car I hear the condescending tone and biased opinion of Terri Gross. I'm not calling for the government to balance her out with a similar condescending tone and biased opinion of another person on the same station.

The simple fact that when the issue of "fairness" comes up those who advocate for it immediately cite talk-radio, and specifically those personalities on the right, tells me all I need to know about their motivations. They never complain about Terri Gross. They never complain about black commentators talking about "Afro-American issues" demanding that it be balanced with another minority like, say, a Chinese person talking about "Chinese-American" issues.

Unfairness is when one does not play by the rules.

And the rule is "free speech".

Big ears Barry hasn't a clu... (Below threshold)

Big ears Barry hasn't a clue. ww

Voters have a 5 second atte... (Below threshold)

Voters have a 5 second attention span.

Hey, do it all! You won't even remember what it was like to own a gun, have a secret ballot, win a war, or listen to talk radio a year from now.

We're that stupid.

It is a charade to keep the... (Below threshold)
The Other Ed:

It is a charade to keep the attention off media consolidation. The total domination of talk radio by conservatives is not due to market forces, it's because of liberal talk being locked out by media giants like Clear Channel/Entercom.

If you doubt that, take a look at Boston. Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes are all ranked in the Top 15 in total national audience size by Arbitron and yet none of them can find an affiliate in Boston. No market for liberal talk in Boston? Give me a break.

Before it's bankruptcy, Air America could only get a daytime low power station in Boston and even that was bought and the AA programming taken off the air.

We need to go back to limiting the number of stations that can be owned in a market. It doesn't guarantee other viewpoints but it at least makes it harder for multiple viewpoints to be locked out. As long as we are talking about public ownership of limited airwaves, we should not allow single corporations to exert total control of radio in a market.

While I do care tremendousl... (Below threshold)

While I do care tremendously about this issue, friends, I do not think he-who-must-not-be-named will have the time of day to address it (God strike me dead if I ever utter his name in conjunction with the highest office in the land). I believe the rest of the world ("our enemies") are getting coiled and ready to strike. I don't expect him to do much, mind you, except fiddle while America burns, but as I said, this will become a non-issue and we will all be enlisted personnel in the sense that we will have to defend ourselves on home turf.

Also, "God bless America" is no longer part of my vocabulary because to ask so is a sacrilege. We are under His open rebuke right now.

RE: Fairness Doctrine... (Below threshold)

RE: Fairness Doctrine

First of all, many commentators correctly point out that the Democrats in Congress are big fans of the Fairness Doctrine, so Americans who are concerned about free speech should be concerned. Even if President-Elect Obama isn't a fan - yet - he may be after talk radio hammers him for a while, and he certainly may trade the Fairness Doctrine for favors on Capital Hill (like passage of certain bills).

But consider the quote by his spokesperson:

Sen. Obama does not support reimposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters. He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible. That is why Sen. Obama supports media-ownership caps, network neutrality, public broadcasting, as well as increasing minority ownership of broadcasting and print outlets.

More "public broadcasting" would be a way for the Federal government to fund Air America opinions to counter conservative talk radio.

What does Obama mean by "network neutrality"? Doesn't the Fairness Doctrine seek to impose network neutrality by requiring that broadcasters present a balanced point of view or opposing points of view? Perhaps he'll implement the Fairness Doctrine but call it something else.

RE: Hanson's article suggests that the Democrats will work to undermine future elections (with unions, amnesty, and the fairness doctrine).
I think so, too.


What Hanson missed is the great failure of the Clinton administration in it's first few months. President Clinton came to office with an agenda that he put on paper in his book Putting People First. The book contained loads of simple, small changes (many of them didn't even require bills) that could have been implemented quickly and were very popular. Immediately after his election, Clinton dumped all of his campaign promises, leaving him with no agenda. He blew so much time with the "gays in the military" issue, playing "Policy Wonk", and putting together his staff. Clinton suffered from an inability to focus and a need to be liked, so everything - including the selection of his dog - went through focus groups.

My favorite cartoon from this period is of Clinton pointing in every direction saying, "How about this way? No? How about we go this way? Eh?" The voters standing around him were getting very impatient. The critical problem is that presenting ideas without action means that it's all losses and no benefits. People who disagree with him don't like it; while people who agree with him don't like the fact that he gave up on the idea. And no one benefits from non-existent actions.

I don't think that Obama is going to make that mistake. He's already getting people to look at executive orders and changes in direction that he can do right away that will give him good PR and build political capital. The tax cuts and a couple of small bills that will be popular will come next. He'll lurch left after he's built political capital. The smart move is to get Congress to do things for him that are popular. The Congress has been operating without leaders for almost two years now. Some Freshmen owe their jobs to Obama. He'll get them some good press and good cover, and then ask them to take real risks.

The other historical mistake that Clinton made was to ignore the gathering storm from the right. Conservative strength had been building for a while. Speaker Gingrich had out-played Democrats many times, and he was proving to be a skilled back-bencher. When Clinton showed his left-leaning tendencies, a well-organized and articulate opposition party was prepared to counter-attack. He also failed to recognize that the Congress had been in the hands of his party for so long that the public was tired of their corruption and ineptitude. When the opposition party offered the American people a reform agenda, they took it and pulled Clinton's fangs in the process.

Today, the GOP is leaderless. They are not a gathering storm: there is hardly a cloud in the sky. The GOP is confused and demoralized. It may be quite a while before they can organize a political counter-offensive. If I were a Democratic Socialist, then I would seize the moment and move ahead with my agenda at once. This is especially true if my election was historic: my place in history is already assured. And it is especially true if my election was aided by circumstances (e.g. economic hard times and uncertainty): these conditions might change.

Tammy, you're a giant sack ... (Below threshold)

Tammy, you're a giant sack of LOLs. Was it you that cleaned out all the gun stores in America this past week?

The so-called Fairness Doct... (Below threshold)
John S:

The so-called Fairness Doctrine cuts both ways. Imagine CBS defending that it ran 80% positive Obama stories to less than 20% positive McCain stories. And Obama got 10 times the air time.

I doubt Obama will have much time to focus on any of his leftist dreams. The U.S. is sinking into a deflationary depression: today there is almost 10 million unemployed. By the end of 2009, 20 million. By the mid-term elections, 50 million. The Messiah will be very unpopular by then, and the Republicans can help themselves best by staying out of His way.

I believe the Fairness Doct... (Below threshold)

I believe the Fairness Doctrine will return under the Obama regime. The reason I believe this is because I don't believe a single word of denial from any Democrat source on the subject.

And to those who are screeching about 'We need to go back to limiting the number of stations that can be owned in a market. It doesn't guarantee other viewpoints but it at least makes it harder for multiple viewpoints to be locked out' are self-identifying as clueless.

Radio stations are in business TO MAKE MONEY. A stations's broadcast content is, in effect, the product. Station owners choose to market the product that promises TO MAKE THE MOST MONEY. Conservative talk radio is a successful product.

A radio program is popular because people want to listen to it, not because it is being forced on them by the station owner's political leanings.

I promise you, if 20,000,000 radio-listening Americans decide that readings from the local phone book are highly entertaining, stations across America will be lining up voice talent to read from the phone book over the air.

The Other Ed, Air America f... (Below threshold)

The Other Ed, Air America failed because it was terrible. Plain and simple. It was worse than terrible. Try and apply your reasoning to why Fox is number one over all other TV programming, week after week, month after month, year after year.

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