news hounds: Who couldn't see this one coming? Colin Powell had the nerve to speak out publicly against the hate mongering of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, calling it bad for Republicans. So rather than debate the actual effect of Limbaugh and Coulter on the party, Sean Hannity called on Limbaugh-sub Mark Steyn to discredit Powell. And on the other side? Nobody. With video. http://www.foxnews.com
Hannity harped on Powell's comments several times during last night's (5/6/09) Hannity. Earlier in the show, Hannity made the unintentionally hilarious comment that he doesn't ever hear “nastiness” from Limbaugh. But Powell was fair game, as Hannity introduced the segment by saying, "endorsing Barack Obama was not enough" for Powell. "Now he is on the offensive against Republicans."
Predictably, Steyn claimed, “I don't recognize this characterization of (Limbaugh) as some angry, bitter man who's driving people away.”
Maybe those two don't but much of the rest of the country does. Before he backtracked to kiss Limbaugh's you know what, RNC chair Michael Steele knew it. And the pollsters know it. Limbaugh's favorability ratings are lower than George W. Bush's. And not even uber-loyalist Hannity has been arguing that Bush is good for Republicans these days.
Other than ensuring a defense of Limbaugh, Steyn doesn't exactly seem like the go-to guy for discussing the future of the Republican Party. This is the same Mark Steyn who predicted that George W. Bush would win the 2000 election in a landslide, that the insurgency in Iraq would peter out in about six weeks (from December, 2003) and then, three months later, said, "I don't think it's possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story."
As proof that Limbaugh is mainstream Republican, Steyn said, “Take Rush Limbaugh's listeners away from the Republican Party base and there isn't a lot left.” Let's see, according to Limbaugh, he has about 20 - 22 million listeners. Considering that about 60 million people voted for John McCain in the last election (about 69 million voted for Obama), that strikes me as proof that the base needs to be expanded, but I'm not a Republican.
Hannity acknowledged that the Republican Party has challenges right now but suggested that they are due to the party abandoning their “conservative principles.” As I have previously posted, polls show that while Republicans think that way, the electorate as a whole does not.
Leave it to Steyn not to correct the record. “It's a two party system and it doesn't work if you try to make it a one and a half party system.” He claimed that successful politicians move the center towards them, rather than move toward the center. You mean like George W. Bush? George H.W. Bush?
Hannity correctly noted that the Republican base does not think the party has become too conservative but that it's too liberal. He either didn't know or didn't care that the base is so small, it's not going to be taking back power any time soon.
“There's no point just being in office,” Steyn said, though he never explained the point of being out of office. Maybe that's because the British-born Steyn is a Canadian.
“What sense of a vision do you get from Colin Powell?” Steyn asked dismissively. Earth to Steyn: Powell is not running for office. But he obviously has a vision for Republicans – the one Steyn and Hannity were so busy attacking.
Not discussed at all? Limbaugh's racial attack on Powell in response.
By the way, Powell had a 54% favorability rating last fall, compared to Limbaugh's recent 28%.