Talk Radio: More Relevant Than Ever

Nearly three weeks after Scott Brown’s earth-shattering political triumph over the entrenched political establishment, it’s clear those on the losing end have barely begun to lick their wounds. They never saw this coming and were done in by extreme complacency.

Postmortems from the left have begun to focus on the role of talk radio in Brown’s victory, the importance of which can’t be understated. But in The Phoenix, Adam Reilly manages to omit entirely the key player- Howie Carr:

Talk radio was huge for Brown. Yes, the dearth of exit polling in the Brown-Martha Coakley contest makes it hard to quantify its exact impact. But if you listened to Boston talk radio during the race — commercial talk, as opposed to the sedate stylings of NPR affiliates WBUR and WGBH — you know that this segment of the airwaves was, overwhelmingly, Brown country: a source of hope and good cheer when things looked grim, and a high-volume ally as the Brown juggernaut headed down the home stretch.

Consider, for example, the love lavished on Brown by WEEI, the sports-radio powerhouse that doubles as a source of conservative commentary. On primary day, Gerry Callahan, half of the duo behind its morning drive-time Dennis & Callahan, tossed Brown this softball: “Does it make any sense to you that people follow this far-left agenda, and want another far-left loon like [Senator John] Kerry, like [Congressman Barney] Frank, like [Congressman Edward] Markey, like the rest of them?” And shortly before the election, Glenn Ordway, host of the afternoon drive-time Big Show, and three Big Show associates (Pete Sheppard and former New England Patriots Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie) appeared in a video in which they gushingly endorsed the Republican. (Brown “believes in a country that’s sovereign,” Smerlas explained, sort of.)

Yes, WEEI, WTKK-FM, WBZ, WXTK-FM on the Cape, WBSM in New Bedford, WCRN in Worcester and other stations all played a role, but I don’t think Scott would be where he is today without Carr, who is heard statewide on several of those stations.

Carr’s presence alone didn’t put Brown over the top, it was the longtime afternoon host’s change in strategy that made the difference. Until the primary election, Howie’s focus was on saving Scott from the embarrassment of likely defeat by insisting he was merely warming up for a later statewide campaign.

Something clicked, however, once the general election campaign was underway. Howie shed the defeatist attitude and learned to exercise some muscle for a change. The audience was more than receptive and got to work immediately. Once it became clear he truly believed Scott could win, it became a campaign worth an investment of time and money.

New England has always had the benefit of a great deal of local talk versus a national landscape cluttered with (largely unsuccessful) syndicated fare, but the US Senate campaign represented the first time in years hosts really stepped up to the plate and led the way.

From here, anything is possible. Let’s hope defeatism has been abolished for good.

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Air America Became Irrelevant Long Ago

Catching up:

— The Air America Radio network shutdown actually isn’t the big story it would have been a few years ago: the biggest libtalkers work for other networks.

— Entercom happens, that’s not news either, is it?

— I was wondering how Margery was going to handle this

— The left’s most pressing task: turn Scott Brown into Sarah Palin. Wouldn’t that have been more effective BEFORE election day?

— David Rodham Gergen is a WINNER in the Senate election battle? His boneheaded “Kennedy seat” loaded question gave birth to Scott’s brilliant reply: “it’s the people’s seat.” Only a Globie could come up with crap like this.

— HuffPo morons think they have a scoop in “digging up” Gail Huff’s 1984 music video. That one’s old news in the Bay State, the Herald wrote about it in October.

December 8 To January 19

On December 8 2009, I wrote this and the reaction was laughter. Almost no one thought Scott could win.

So what has changed between the time that was written and today? How important was Brown’s campaign structure? Howie Carr’s on-air support? Blogs and talk radio?

Let’s hear from you below.

First, the flashback:

Memo To Scott Brown: Don’t Make Capuano’s Mistakes

by Brian Maloney, December 8th, 2009 at 11:30pm

With the results in, it’s already clear that Michael Capuano blew an enormous opportunity to win the Democratic nomination by failing to go negative against Martha Coakley (for fear of a backlash) and draw a clear distinction on the issues.

Now, Republican nominee Scott Brown has just six weeks to learn from Capuano’s mistakes and take a wildly different approach.

Think Brown can’t win? Here’s why he can:

— With local media outlets already declaring Coakley our next senator, Martha’s infamous coasting will become even more pronounced. She will put next to nothing into her effort from here, saving campaign funds for future purposes.

— Since Coakley’s supporters now assume the race is over, they will do little campaigning over the holidays.

— Given that backdrop, turnout on January 19 will be even lower than today’s. We could be well into single digits across the Commonwealth. Motivating your base, even one as small as the GOP’s, makes it possible to overcome that.

— At the national level, Democrats are busy alienating almost every group, from the far-left to moderates, which further depresses turnout as supporters become disillusioned.

— Oddly enough, the one media outlet seeing a potential victory path for Brown, if remote, is the New York Times:

About 37 percent of the state’s 4.1 million registered voters are Democrats, and about 11 percent are Republicans, giving Ms. Coakley an advantage over Mr. Brown in the general election. Although Massachusetts has elected three Republican governors since 1990, it has not sent a Republican to the Senate in 37 years.

Mr. Brown, 50, is a lawyer and a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard who has served in the state Legislature since 1996. He opposes same-sex marriage and the health care legislation being debated in Congress, and supports President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Winning unaffiliated voter, who make up half of the state’s electorate, will be crucial for Mr. Brown. He has touted his ability to work across party lines, while casting himself as the only candidate with conservative values.

Since almost no one believes Brown can win, what does he have to lose? Why not put the pedal to the floor and see what happens?

Here’s what he must do next:

— Make it clear: this is about the economy, jobs, and taxes. These are winnable positions for Republicans. Set the agenda, it’s not difficult, as Martha’s sole “issue” is her gender.

— Muzzle Howie Carr’s defeatist attitude. Hey Howie, why not help, rather than hinder Brown’s efforts? I cringe every time I hear Howie say that Scott’s only in the race to get his name out there so he can run for AG or another statewide office. Even if true, why say that on the air?

— ABSOLUTELY go after Coakley EVERY SINGLE DAY. Make her life miserable for the next six weeks, that’s what campaigning is all about. And she most certainly deserves it! There’s no reason she should have a free ride simply because that pleases Margery Eagan and the others who failed to nominate Hillary Clinton in 2008.

There’s plenty of ammo out there on Coakley, use it. When Eagan and the Globies are writing angry columns in response, you’ll know you’ve done your job correctly.

— INSIST on a series of debates and scream bloody murder if she refuses. Local media outlets have held debates without Republicans to this point, why should that continue?

— IMMEDIATELY begin a major push for out-of-state contributions. Coakley’s been doing this all along, why shouldn’t the opposition?

— Put together some money and hammer her with ads! Utilize talk radio and finally, let’s see some mailers.

There is no reason whatsoever for Scott Brown to play it safe for the next six weeks. Playing nice or accepting a token opposition candidate role is unacceptable and will only make the margin wider. Worse, a weak result from that kind of misguided strategy will make running for other positions down the road more difficult than ever.

But even a fairly close race would show that Republicans are once again viable in Massachusetts. The New York Times is right: those unaffiliated voters (who stayed home today) are up for grabs. Rile them up.

Bottom line: nice = big loss, while aggressive campaigning is a game-changer.

The Latest

*** We’re experiencing a heavy surge in visitor traffic, bear with us ***

— Olbermann cries racism

— CNN can only see negative factors in Brown’s win

— CBS not happy with the results

— Brown 2012? Blame Paddy Power, not us

— NOW, on to the next battle: when will Brown be seated?

— BREAKING: Rush Limbaugh reacts to Brown victory

— Globies call it for Brown – can you imagine the long faces in that newsroom?

— Maddow holds back tears as she reports AP projection that Brown would win, minutes after other networks report Coakley has conceded the race

— Maddow’s making cracks about Scott’s truck, what a sore loser

— Rachel Maddow is alleging all kinds of fraud- robocalls for Joe Kennedy, filled in ballots for Brown (these concerns have already been dismissed)

— Not sure where Martha would make up her deficit at this point – half of Boston’s already in

— MSNBC / Dean blaming Coakley loss on “partisanship” and BUSH!!!

— MSNBC: Dem party leadership pounding Coakley for her “Caribbean vacation” – easy scapegoat, isn’t she?

— From RCP: 8:51pm For what it’s worth, Bostonian Howie Carr says on Fox that Brown is a lock to win. – Tom Bevan

— GLOBIE WEBSITE SUCKS! It is down, down, down

— Maddow links robocalls for Joe Kennedy to voter confusion, then why does Joe have only 1% of the vote

— Another unwatched MSNBC host, Rachel Maddow appears to deliver the bad news

— Chris Matthews is rambling on about Haiti and “wars”, have another drink, buddy

— Brown winning Quincy is huge, that’s not GOP territory, it’s a fairly large city

— some of Brown’s best suburbs on the North Shore have yet to report

— It looks like a funeral at MSNBC right now, Chris Matthews looks glum, am I the only person watching?

— Brown not doing as badly as one would expect in Boston, but it’s a bit early there

— Brown wins several outer / lower Cape towns that went for Obama in 2008

— Brown winning Plymouth, Obama won there in 2008

— Very difficult to reach Herald and Globie websites, isn’t it?

— Just returned from last-minute sign-waving outside the precinct. Brown supporters upbeat, one die-hard Coakley backer there as well. Lots of friendly waves and honks…

— State-run media still obsessed with Camelot

— Will the Scott Brown stock market rally continue?

— MSNBC / Chris Matthews turn against Mass voters

— Looks like Martha’s banking on placing a cloud over the election with her crazy tampering allegation. But who will believe that the GOP has fixed the election in Cambridge and Brighton? Isn’t that a joke?

— WaPo hacks can’t figure out why race is so competitive

— RNC’s Michael Steele arriving in Boston to celebrate potential win. But if Scott wins, it will be despite the national party’s efforts, not because of it.

— Scott hopes to get a chance to drive his pickup truck to Washington. Beltway snobs are aghast.

— What kind of national role will Scott Brown play? Once again, underestimating Scott is a big mistake.

— McCain redux: Brown owns too many houses

— Coakley’s pointing fingers right back at the DNC and White House

— WSJ tries to fathom how this could be a close race

— Who knew Coakley could be such a laff riot? She’s alleging voter irregularities in Cambridge and Brighton

— RCP: Another disturbing incident between Coakley’s people and a reporter

— WTKK reports heavy suburban turnout

— GLOBIES CALL IT FOR MARSHA? Yes, it’s a practice page, but you’ve got to love their wishful thinking

— I’m hearing from a number of listeners who are baffled as to why WRKO would preempt Rush Limbaugh at such an important time. Sure, local talent is filling in, but Rush is talking about Massachusetts! So why the switcheroo?

I believe this is Entercom’s way of sticking it to Limbaugh’s syndicator ahead of a likely move to Clear Channel’s new talk station, scheduled to debut here in April. Expect more petty silliness between now and then.

In my area, however, this isn’t a problem: WXTK-FM offers a excellent alternative.

We’ll cover the issue more after the election is sorted out.

— As you head to the polls, think about the Amiraults

— A lot has changed since December 8, hasn’t it?

— Marsha predicts victory

— Is this election fraud?

Call The Exterminator…

… As we’ve got a cockroach problem here in Massachusetts. (Fraudulently) appointed House of Lords life peer Paul Kirk (address him as Lord Kirk) just can’t be trusted to leave office at 12:01am Wednesday. Instead, this creep is going to fight to remain in power until forced out.

In fact, I suspect if he could get away with it, the special election would be cancelled and Kirk would serve out the rest of Kennedy’s term. Even Martha Coakley is a threat to this mega-creep.

At the Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes makes the situation absolutely clear: Kirk MUST GO IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ELECTION.

Democrats in Massachusetts have talked about delaying Brown’s “certification,” should he defeat Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday. Their aim would be to allow Kirk to remain in the Senate and vote the health care bill.

But based on Massachusetts law, Senate precedent, and the U.S. Constitution, Republican attorneys said Kirk will no longer be a senator after election day, period. Brown meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements in the Constitution to qualify for the Senate. “Qualification” does not require state “certification,” the lawyers said.

An appointed senator’s right to vote is not dependent on whether his successor has been certified, the lawyers said. In Massachusetts, the election of a senator must be certified by the governor, the governor’s council, and the secretary of state – all of them Democrats.

If Brown wins narrowly and a recount is being conducted, Democratic lawyers might claim that he hasn’t been “duly elected.” Republican attorneys believe, however, that a candidate has actually been elected, though it won’t be clear who that is until the recount is completed. In Massachusetts, a recount can occur if the margin of victory is less than half a percent of the total vote.

Republican lawyers have examined Massachusetts particularly to find the rules governing a recount. They also studied the law passed after Kennedy’s death on a Senate successor.

At The Hill, Kirk makes it appear he supports an orderly transition, but one that gives him at least ten extra days in office. It’s when one reads between the lines in the confusing scenario he presents that it becomes clear he’ll be happy for extra time should the Dems succeed in pulling a Franken-Gregoire (recounting votes endless until their candidate wins).

Barnes is correct: Kirk is out no matter what happens. Tuesday MUST be his last day, even if he has to be forcibly removed from the Senate chamber.

Beacon Hill legislators created a monster in the appointment of Kirk, a factor that may be contributing to Coakley’s weakness. I saw this point cited on today’s Meet The Press.

Coakley’s Rape Smear Piece Seems To Backfire

— Coakley’s now-infamous rape-themed smear piece is generating a great deal of negative attention, especially since the Brown campaign has threatened legal action if Coakley refuses to disavow its deplorable contents. The Washington Post has more in an AP story.

— Also in Sunday’s WaPo, union hacks have taken to scolding the rank-and-file for daring to question Coakley’s ObamaCare stance.

— Did Bubba help or hurt Coakley? Did he provide a strong endorsement or something half-hearted?

— SEIU members campaigning for Brown? Watch out for the pinky-ringed thugs, they’re on their way to straighten these people out.

— Here are The Globies with their “six factors to watch” ahead of Tuesday’s election. Factor Seven: the inevitable last-minute Globie smear piece.

— ABC News / AP, now in full Slant-O-Rama: “Coakley Hopes for Historic Win in Kennedy Seat Bid

— One Globie actually makes a clever bit of sense tying together the duel sagas of Martha Coakley and Conan O’Brien

— The Wall Street Journal covers Brown’s stops in Plymouth and Hyannis here

Politico on theenthusiasm gap