America’s Best Chance for Gold, Rush or Howie?

What if there was an Outrage Media Olympics? Who would bring home the gold in events like radio talking, op-ed writing, cable TV news analysis, and political blogging? Who would lead the American team? Would left wing bloviators, feeling out gunned, form their own team; the Anti-American Outrage Media team?

Let’s take a look at the American talent in the biathlon of the Outrage Media Olympics, the radio talk/op-ed writing event. Who would be America’s best in this event? Many would, no doubt, look to America’s sweetheart, Rush Limbaugh as our top gun in this event. In their excellent book about outrage media Berry and Sobieraj credit Rush with essentially inventing the outrage talk formula. But is the father of modern outrage media really America’s best chance for Gold? I think a case could be made that our own Howie Carr is America’s best outrage radio talker/op-ed writer.

Limbaugh’s shtick may still be a winning formula; but I think the old man has lost a step. I for one don’t see his many missteps of late as merely “flukes.” Rush has a soft schedule; his audience is too easy. Howie Carr, on the other hand, weaves his demagogic magic in the bright blue heart of the “People’s Republic of Massachusetts.” Howie has to keep ’em coming back despite the fact that almost every liberal he attacks wins anyway.

Carr’s latest screed, for example, tees up the outgoing two-term Democratic governor, Deval Patrick. Under the heading “The worst Guv ever! Let me count the ways” Carr deftly employs the “parade of horribles” technique against a popular governor whose actual tenure will very likely win more applause than guffaws. With the certain knowledge that most Bay Staters see him as a comedian and a buffoon, Carr soldiers on with the dedication and work ethic you’d expect from an Olympic hopeful fighting against long odds. In this particular parade of horribles Carr delights the crowd with some very creative floats and charismatic marchers celebrating the Guv’s incompetence and/or corruption.

The New England Compounding Center float includes an intricate depiction of the Guv pouring a bottle of pills down the throats of 64 victims made entirely out of the dreams of school children from broken homes. Annie Dookhan, marching in a lovely orange jump suit festooned with “Patrick for Prez” stickers and buttons, is flanked by DCF employees who appear to be having trouble finding their way (I think they helped built the NECC float). A nattily dressed Mitt Romney impersonator rides in an expensive convertible with a sign saying that the unemployment rate was lower when he was going up and down in his private State House elevator. The Ex-Guv’s convertible is followed by a much less expensive flatbed truck carrying two dozen now unemployed former Walmart greeters and Chick-fil-A cashiers wearing T-shirts celebrating Gov. Patrick’s increase in the state’s sales tax. Marching unusually close to the flatbed’s rear exhaust pipes, is a group of masked alcoholics thanking the Guv for his support of an increase in the state alcohol tax with signs that say “nice try.” Marching behind the alcoholics (at a safe distance) is a lively band of Muslim terrorists railing against American decadence and boasting loudly about their friend, ally, and fellow Muslim Deval Patrick. The last group of marchers, who appear to be tasked with cleaning up after the parade, are a motley crew of incompetent Patrick appointees expressing their gratitude by waiving signs that say “we made these signs on state time with state resources.” What a show! Fans will be talking about this one for months.

Carr’s ability to entertainingly trash liberal pols and policies without even a nod to logic, context, or reasonableness is simply unparalleled. Rush relies on the very low brow tastes of his “Dittoheads.” Carr has to sell his wares in a much less friendly marketplace. There’s no way Carr could get away with saying that a gay NFL prospect represents an attack on heterosexuals. Rush’s game has deteriorated quite a bit in recent years, leaving him much too reliant on mindless hate and absurd comic self-aggrandizement. Howie, on the other hand, is years away from this sad state. He’s outrage media’s Tom Brady to Rush’s Brett Favre. Sure, he ain’t no spring chicken, but he’s clearly still got the skills to play in the big leagues, and I think he’s America’s best chance for Gold in the 2014 Outrage Media Olympics.

We should try to arrange a scrimmage with the Anti-American squad. Unlike Rush, I’m confident that Carr could take down that Rachel Maddow gal without having to crack a lesbian joke…..Okay, he may have to crack a lesbian joke, but not as quickly as a Rush would.

About Jerold Duquette

Jerold Duquette is an associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of Regulating the National Pastime: Baseball and Antitrust and has published articles and book chapters on campaign finance reform, political parties, Massachusetts politics and political culture, public opinion, and political socialization. Professor Duquette lives in Longmeadow, MA with his wife and four children.
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