Thomas Sowell

Liberals have been throwing money at problems for so long that it should not be surprising that they are now ready to throw money at the problem they have with the predominance of conservative talk show hosts on radio. For a change, rich liberals will be throwing their own money at a problem, rather than the taxpayers' money.

The game plan seems to be to have limousine liberals write some big checks to get a liberal radio network started, leading to an instant Rush Limbaugh on the left!

The dry runs thus far have not been promising. Articulate liberals like Mario Cuomo and Phil Donahue have absolutely bombed. Al Franken is the new great white hope. He is glib and fast on his feet. But the people who think that this is enough have greatly under-estimated Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Sean Hannity, and other stars of conservative talk radio.

Even though the black vote goes overwhelmingly to liberal Democrats, it is hard to think of any liberal black talk show host with as large an audience as Ken Hamblin, Larry Elder, or other blacks on the right.

The liberal vision of Rush Limbaugh is that he is some guy who appeals to ignorant rednecks and Joe Sixpacks. As with so many things that liberals believe, they feel no need to test their notions against reality. Actual research on Rush Limbaugh's audience has shown that they are above average in both education and income.

Anyone who actually listens to Rush's show knows that those listeners who phone in are usually pretty savvy folks, and clearly a cut above those who phone in on other radio or television programs. But many liberals have such a sense of superiority that it would never occur to them to listen and learn.

Some years ago, the New York Times' Anthony Lewis denounced Rush Limbaugh in one of his columns -- and then admitted, days later, that he had never listened to him. Who needs facts when you are one of the anointed?

The real reason for the greater success of conservative talk radio is that liberalism as a set of ideas has very little appeal.

Conservative politicians may run on their conservative ideas, but liberal politicians do not get elected by running on liberalism. Indeed, a major part of most liberal election campaigns usually consist of trying to appear to be something other than liberals. Then, when their liberal past is exposed, there is great complaint in the media about "negative advertising."

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate