Dispatches from the Trail

I am writing this on the plane returning from Ohio to California. This past week, I joined my Salem radio colleagues, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved — as well as Jon Voight, one of the few Hollywood stars to come out as a conservative– to speak to thousands of people at events in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

A few impressions:

1. Among the left’s many calumnies of the right, few are such bald-faced lies as that of the right as haters.

One example is “hate radio,” the left’s epithet for talk radio.

Here we were, three nationally-syndicated conservative radio talk show hosts, talking to friendly audiences – and not a word of hate from us. Moreover, there was much laughter as well, and not a word of hate from the audience either.

The overwhelming emotion was worry – not about the election as much as about the republic.

2. For Jon Voight, Hugh Hewitt, and the audiences, no issue was more prominent – not even the American economy – than support for Israel. Voight, Hewitt, and the overwhelming majority of the audiences were/are not Jewish.

Most American Jews, living, as they do, with almost no awareness of the conservative movement, have no idea how profoundly pro-Israel the American right is. Despite liberal Jews’ frequent participation in the demonization of the right, that very right is preoccupied with protecting the Jewish people and Israel. I wonder if there is any parallel in American history of a group that loathed those who only showed them love.

3. There were very few members of minority groups among the thousands who came to our events. This is distressing. The left has thus far been wildly successful at depicting itself as the best friend of blacks and Hispanics. And conservatives have been as wildly unsuccessful at explaining core American values – such as liberty and small government – to virtually any minority. For the sake of the nation’s future, we have to turn this around. 

  1. Tom Lindholtz

    I have hope for Hispanics because there is a sub-group, Cubans, who understand what is at stake and who can communicate from within. Nonetheless, when you have as many outstanding Black conservatives as there are– Sowell, Williams, Steele, etc. — and still they vote as a homogeneous block, it does make you wonder if it can ever happen. 

  2. Aaron Miller
    Dennis Prager:

    Most American Jews, living, as they do, with almost no awareness of the conservative movement, have no idea how profoundly pro-Israel the American right is. Despite liberal Jews’ frequent participation in the demonization of the right, that very right is preoccupied with protecting the Jewish people and Israel. I wonder if there is any parallel in American history of a group that loathed those who only showed them love.

    Excellent question. Where’s Victor, our classical historian, when we need him?

    I certainly can’t speak for all Christians or even for all Christians protective of Israel, but I have long thought there is a pattern of history in which rampant persecution of Jews is quickly followed by tribulations for non-Jews.

  3. ConservativeWanderer
    Dennis Prager: 1. Among the left’s many calumnies of the right, few are such bald-faced lies as that of the right as haters.

    One example is “hate radio,” the left’s epithet for talk radio. · 15 minutes ago

    Likely projection on the part of the left.

  4. FloppyDisk90

    Point #2 has always been a mystery to me but I would like to address points 1 & 3.

    1.  For most of the progressive/”liberal” population their perception of talk radio and the Right begins and ends at Rush Limbaugh.  While we can have a long and vigorous debate about his relative merits, I think any fair minded analysis would have to conclude he is at the very least a polarizing influence and much of his daily output can be reasonably characterized as vitriol and bombast.

    3.  We say “liberty” and “small government” and many minorities hear “kill affirmative action” and “reduce income support payments.”  And to be fair, we on the Right would definitely move in that direction if we held power.  Those things are red meat to the underclass which is disportionately represented by blacks and Hispanics.

  5. Joe Escalante
    C
    Hispanic_Vote.jpgAs a radio host myself, filling in often on KFI and KABC in L.A.,  I’m also offended by this epithet. Regarding Hispanics, many of my Mexican relatives are on auto pilot for Obama. I was able to persuade my immigrant father in law to vote against Obama in 2008, but that kind of one-to-one marketing isn’t very efficient. The Catholic Church is doing the best work in this area. The good parishes (also the crowded ones) explain to the flock the importance of voting for pro-life candidates ONLY. They don’t just do it once either. They’ve been hammering it home here in So. California to a primarily ethnic audience for months on end, every week, (every day even) over and over and over. They are not resting, I assure you.

    This message in my parish is actually preached in Spanish at the daily mass, literally every day. It is said that only 20% of U.S. Catholics practice their faith faithfully but I have to believe the figure is much higher among ethnic minorities who (to a larger extent) recognize the sanctity of personal sacrifice.

  6. Monty Manley

    The African-American allegiance to the Democrat party disproves the old notion that self-interest will always trump ideology — a half-century of liberal Democrat governance at the national level and in cities like Detroit have left black Americans immeasurably worse off. Yet blacks continue to vote almost unanimously for Democrats. (Even noted Republican Colin Powell has declared his intention to vote for President Obama in November.)

    There was an item in NRO’s The Corner a few days back that made much the same point about the Hispanic vote. Hispanics as a group tend to favor larger and more intrusive government — whether due to to their historical legacy or due to the specific immigrant culture, the republican/libertarian ethos doesn’t seem to appeal to them in large numbers.

    I find it mystifying and rather depressing: a belief in market capitalism, political liberty, individualism, and small government should not be racial characteristics. Yet it is an unassailable fact that we live in a country where upwards of 90% of African Americans vote for a party and ethos that is clearly destroying their communities…and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

  7. BrentB67

    Despite liberal Jews’ frequent participation in the demonization of the right, that very right is preoccupied with protecting the Jewish people and Israel. I wonder if there is any parallel in American history of a group that loathed those who only showed them love.

    This is one of the great mysteries of 20th/21st Century American Politics. I can’t wait to read some enlightened Ricochet comments as to why this may be. Thanks for bringing it up.

  8. DocJay
    BrentB67

    Despite liberal Jews’ frequent participation in the demonization of the right, that very right is preoccupied with protecting the Jewish people and Israel. I wonder if there is any parallel in American history of a group that loathed those who only showed them love.

    This is one of the great mysteries of 20th/21st Century American Politics. I can’t wait to read some enlightened Ricochet comments as to why this may be. Thanks for bringing it up. · 0 minutes ago

    Historically I believe the democrats met them on the ships and helped out.  

    I recently read Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and it touched on many of the belief systems of immigrant and then second generation Jews.

  9. ConservativeWanderer
    DocJay

    BrentB67

    Despite liberal Jews’ frequent participation in the demonization of the right, that very right is preoccupied with protecting the Jewish people and Israel. I wonder if there is any parallel in American history of a group that loathed those who only showed them love.

    This is one of the great mysteries of 20th/21st Century American Politics. I can’t wait to read some enlightened Ricochet comments as to why this may be. Thanks for bringing it up. · 0 minutes ago

    Historically I believe the democrats met them on the ships and helped out.  

    I recently read Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and it touched on many of the belief systems of immigrant and then second generation Jews. · 11 minutes ago

    Norman Podhoretz looks at just this question in the aptly-named Why Are Jews Liberals?

    Worth reading, if you’re interested in that topic.

  10. Colin B Lane

    Dennis, great to have you here on Ricochet.

    I’m generally not an optimist (I’m a conservative, for crying out loud!). But I think in the case of ethnic identities voting D in such large numbers, we may be seeing a manifestation of the proverb that it’s always darkest before the dawn.

    The Jewish community is finally beginning to smell the rat that the Democratic Party has become. More black Americans are beginning to join the conservative ranks. 

    It will take time, but at some point I believe we will hit a tipping point, and people will turn to the party that treats them as, well, people, and away from the party that treats them as simply members of a victimized group.

  11. Indaba

    As a business owner, I pay the payroll taxes that employees do not see, except as a number on their pay check. I am in Canada, so I do not know if it is the same for business owners in the USA. Business owners often say to each other if those payroll deductions went into people’s accounts and then individuals had to pay their own taxes to the government as often as business owners have to pay, there would be a far greater understanding about just how much the government takes for redistribution.

    The Left call business owners greedy – they need to see the greed of their public sector union leadership. 

  12. Daniel McDonald
    Dennis Prager: Among the left’s many calumnies of the right, few are such bald-faced lies as that of the right as haters. · · 14 hours ago

    The left has redefined the word “hate” to mean any disagreement with the progressive program.

    To your general concern, immigrants are becoming increasingly isolated within their own communities. They view themselves first as Mexicans or Koreans before they do Americans. Sadly, immigrant children aren’t hearing the great story of America at home or in school. They are instead taught to resent this country as backward and racist. Our best hope is to reform the public education system.

  13. bagehot99

    The downside of having minorities as the messenger, is twofold:

    1) It continues the use of skin color as a valid factor in evaluating ideas, and

    2) There’s a reflexive tendency on the left to dismiss minorities who espouse conservative positions as Uncle Toms (or worse).  As though you are not authentically black unless you also hold left wing political views. It’s pretty much the Aryan Nation in reverse.

  14. Esther
    bagehot99: The downside of having minorities as the messenger, is twofold:

    1) It continues the use of skin color as a valid factor in evaluating ideas, and

    2) There’s a reflexive tendency on the left to dismiss minorities who espouse conservative positions as Uncle Toms (or worse).  As though you are not authentically black unless you also hold left wing political views. It’s pretty much the Aryan Nation in reverse. · 1 minute ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    I agree, but if it does matter to some (right or wrong), it could hopefully be used for the uplifting and good, rather than for further claims of victimization and racism (i.e.  Sharpton, Jackson, etc..).  No matter what or how… it is certainly an uphill battle.

  15. Drusus
    DocJay: No amount of outreach works while the American teachers are predominantly progressives and many hell bent on indoctrinating our children. · 4 hours ago

    Teachers generally reflect the political make-up of their community.  Any hard-core “indoctrination” generally takes place in college, and there only in certain disciplines. What does happen in schools is the soft indoctrination that we have all been subject to ever since we on the right lost control of the national narrative and the language. It looks more promising all the time that this particular batch of leftists will be beat down, but Fabian progressivism marches on.  

  16. Keith Preston
    BrentB67

    This is one of the great mysteries of 20th/21st Century American Politics. I can’t wait to read some enlightened Ricochet comments as to why this may be. Thanks for bringing it up. · 5 hours ago

    The greatest killer of Jews was Fascist Germany.  Most people equate the right with fascism.  Thus, Jews think their greatest political enemy in America is the right.   

  17. Tom Meyer
    FloppyDisk90: Point #2 has always been a mystery to me but I would like to address points 1 & 3.

    1.  For most of the progressive/”liberal” population their perception of talk radio and the Right begins and ends at Rush Limbaugh.  While we can have a long and vigorous debate about his relative merits, I think any fair minded analysis would have to conclude he is at the very least a polarizing influence and much of his daily output can be reasonably characterized as vitriol and bombast.

    Hear, hear.

    Why Prager, Hewitt, and Medved aren’t willing to acknowledge how much more civil their shows are than those their of their competitors is beyond me.  It’s impossible to imagine Dennis call someone a slut, or Michael sarcastically suggest a caller’s husband commit suicide.

  18. Gogol

    One thing conservative politicians must do to attract minorities is govern conservatively.  If blacks and Hispanics are getting liberal lite from republicans, what’s the point?

  19. Howellis

    Leftist Jews were willing to support the Stalinist USSR even though it persecuted Jews from the beginning.  They simply denied the persecution.  Today, leftist Jews continue to deny Obama’s antipathy to Israel and his connections to anti-Semitic types like Rev. Wright, Edward Said, and Rashid Khalidi.  For many, Israel is not as important of an issue as is supporting “social justice” for blacks and others who are less fortunate than they.  Some actually hate Israel because they see it as providing a reason for the world to despise Jews generally.

    Jews who understand how wealth is created are more likely to be conservative.  Those who are professionals (journalists, lawyers, professors, social workers, etc.) are more likely to be liberal.  Doctors might begin to turn away from Obama because they are starting to understand what Obamacare will do to them.  

  20. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    Thank you for the update from these key fronts in the battle.  You are a credit to the conservative cause, sir.  As for the demographic challenges you raise, I am hopeful that if Romney is elected, and his policies help turn the economy around, we may see large switches in party affiliation– the validity of the Reagan model will be undeniable.  Hopefully, American Jews will see the difference to Israel with a true ally in the WH too, and begin to question their tribal identification with the Democratic Party.  I am a Catholic and much the same can be said of them, though this administration may finally have snapped Catholics out of their trance.

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