He loved Rush Limbaugh (and years later, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin). But in his 1996 book, Grant includes the chapter, “Ten Conservatives We Can Live Without.” Here he describes Bill Bennett as “a smart man with a keen mind and the manners of a bull in a china shop.” Bennett, along with Jack Kemp—another “conservative” who “we can live without”—attempted to defeat Proposition 187, a California initiative designed to prevent illegal aliens from availing themselves of all state social services. Bennett, Grant writes, “hurt the valid conservative cause of limiting immigration, and he brought aid and comfort to those twin hazards, Dianne Feinstein and Kathleen Brown.”
Pat Robertson, Ollie North, George Will, and G. Gordon Liddy are some others who Grant takes to task.
Interestingly, the one person on the right for whom he reserved the harshest condemnation is none other than Dennis Prager.
During the controversy that New York magazine manufactured, Grant admits to feeling lower than any at other point in his life. He had refused to do any more interviews—until Prager, who was not yet a syndicated talk radio host, invited Grant to appear on his Los Angeles television show. Because Prager was, as Grant understood him, “a fairly conservative fellow,” and because they even shared the same manager, Grant agreed to do the show.
He writes: “My understanding was that we were going to discuss the thing as two colleagues—you know, ‘Hey Bob, how do you feel about all this ruckus?’” Instead, Prager held up “the damned magazine cover and then proceed[ed] to recite the slanderous charges against me exactly as they were made: ‘He’s called blacks savages! He’s done this! He’s done that! Bob—what do you say about it?’” Even worse, Prager brought on a representative of the New Jersey chapter of the NAACP, a person who, according to Grant, had “more genuine hatred for me than any other human being in the world today.”
Grant admitted that “it’s hard to imagine anything worse than being on that show that night.” He called it “a total and complete hatchet job,” and referred to Prager as “a son of a bitch and a snake.”
With Grant’s judgments, reasonable people can take exception. But no one can disagree with the verdict that he was one of a kind, and that the media are not likely to see the likes of his honesty, courage, and passion ever again.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.