Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

The New Charlie Sykes

He's confessing his errors and getting lots of publicity. Could there be a connection?

By - Sep 6th, 2016 01:43 pm
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Charlie Sykes. Photo by Michael Horne.

Charlie Sykes. Photo by Michael Horne.

In December 2008, I published a story for Milwaukee Magazine called “Secrets of Talk Radio.” Written by Dan Shelley, the former news director for WTMJ Radio, it detailed how conservative hosts like Charlie Sykes win listeners:

“To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered… There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners.” And more often than not the bad guy is the “mainstream media,” Shelley added.

“The most frequent victims of this,” Shelley noted, “were Journal Sentinel Editor Marty Kaiser and Managing Editor George Stanley. Charlie knew they would rarely call or e-mail to answer his criticism, so he could both criticize decisions they had made and blast them for not having the guts to come on his show and respond. What little credibility they had among Charlie’s audience would decline by a thousand cuts.”

Sykes attacked the newspaper far more often than his WISN radio counterpart Mark Belling, probably because WTMJ was then owned by the Journal company and Sykes needed to prove his independence. And it was a game he couldn’t lose, because no matter how the paper tried to respond to “prove” it didn’t lean liberal, Sykes could always find something to complain about.

And to assure that only his viewpoint won the day in these and other discussions, he engaged in on-air censorship. “Calls from listeners who disagree with him don’t get on the air if the show’s producer, who generally does the screening, fears they might make Charlie look bad,” Shelley wrote. “I witnessed several occasions when Sen. Russ Feingold, former Mayor John Norquist, Mayor Tom Barrett or others would call in, but wouldn’t be allowed on the air.”

Sykes was outraged about Shelley’s story back then, but it has now suddenly dawned on him that what he was doing was steadily undermining the mainstream media and the very idea there is such a thing as facts. In an interview with Business Insider‘s Oliver Darcy, he admitted there is no way to contest Donald Trump’s frequent lies because “We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers… All conservative hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted to the mainstream media. So we have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media…But, at a certain point you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there. And I am feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘To what extent did I contribute?’”

Doh. You were a big contributor, Charlie. And while some of that was generated by Sykes’ conservative views, it was also about ego (Sykes hates having on a listener who might best him in a discussion, which has made his show particularly one-sided) and about branding, as he now concedes. Sykes made money — and hosts like him are very well paid — by relentlessly undermining the credibility of the media.

Making money also meant avoiding disagreement with your listeners on certain issues. “Charlie, for example, told me just before I left TMJ that Wisconsin’s 2006 anti-gay marriage amendment was misguided,” Shelley writes. “But he knew his followers would likely vote for it in droves. So he declined to speak out directly against it.”

Sykes, in short, knew very well how his listeners felt on various issues. They were, after all, calling his show and emailing him every weekday, year after year.

So it is a bit difficult to believe Sykes, whose recent bout of confessions have included an interview with Politico where he describes his surprise to learn that many of his listeners are racists. “When I would deny that there was a significant racist component in some of the politics on our side, it was because the people I hung out with were certainly not,” Sykes says. “When suddenly, this rock is turned over, there is this—‘Oh shit, did I not see that?’”

As Esquire writer Charles Pierce has written, “Sykes knew damn well who his “allies” were when he was calling the First Lady “Mooch,” or when he was calling a black man who’d died in police custody “a piece of garbage,” and when he referred to “the pigs of mothers who are too lazy to put their children in a crib and roll over the top of them while sleeping on a futon on the floor.”

“Sykes knew who his ‘allies’ were when, as Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express reported, he aired a blackface rap parody,” Pierce continues. “It features a young, black woman calling herself Chapter Jackson, who acts out every racist stereotype of poor, black, single mothers that bigoted audiences find hilarious. Ms. Jackson is knee-deep in black babies in a house full of women slutted up like prostitutes while she writhes and raps that her life is a constant party paid for by taxpayers. She repeats the obscene refrain: ‘All you have to do is f— and nine months later you get in the big bucks.'”

The appeals to racism by Sykes and Belling so struck writer Alec MacGillis that his 2014 New Republic feature story on Gov. Scott Walker was mostly about how the governor’s political success was inextricably connected to the poisonous, racially divided climate the talk show hosts helped create in Wisconsin.

Sykes was angry about that story, too, but now tells Politico that his next book — which will be titled How the Right Lost Its Mind,” he lets us know — will examine whether there was “some grain of truth” in the New Republic story.

Which makes a nice promotion for the book. Indeed a recent story in Right Wisconsin, written and edited by Sykes, lets us know about all the admiration and publicity he’s winning with his recent confessions.

Sykes portrays himself as a hero for refusing to support Trump. “I am dealing with the daily flood of emails on how we’re never going to listen to you anymore,” Sykes told Politico. “If I lose listeners, that’s a price I’ve just got to pay.”

But a short-term controversy like that can simply goose up ratings, while Sykes wins tons of coverage and kudos from the national media for opposing Trump. It’s even helped gain Sykes exposure on liberal MSNBC. Sykes has always been savvy about using the media to gain attention. He has also been a master at transforming himself politically, famously from liberal to conservative (though it was really more like a switch from neo-liberal to neo-con) and then over time on talk radio to full-fledged conservative, all to strategic and promotional advantage.

I’m not saying there isn’t any sincerity to Charlie’s periodic transformations and confessions. But he’s always been very aware of how it might play.

When Sykes was my boss at Milwaukee Magazine in the mid-1980s, he was mercurial and elusive, but could be very funny — and deeply cynical — about mass audience America. He is far too smart not to have known — with strategic precision — who his metro-area listeners were. Like Claude Rains’ chief of police in Casablanca, who was “shocked, shocked” to know gambling was going on, even as he pocketed his winnings, Charlie has always understood how you gain ratings — and make money — by appealing to the worst instincts of conservative listeners. His sudden surprise about the impact of such demagoguery makes for good click bait, but the story turns out to be quite different than the headlines suggest.

Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

42 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: The New Charlie Sykes”

  1. Vincent Hanna says:

    This seems to be happening a lot right now. Sykes is not the only conservative to state these feelings of remorse along with criticism of conservative media. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/guess-whos-taking-aim-at-fox-news-now-conservatives/2016/09/05/e85807c2-7141-11e6-8533-6b0b0ded0253_story.html

  2. dk mke says:

    Exactly, Vincent. This is just another popular and easy wave he’s riding. Kudos to him for at least riding it before it crests. Real guts would have been to say these things 5, 10, 20 years ago when the rest of us, and the authors Bruce mentioned, all saw it coming.

    The fact is this election will come and go, and the right won’t change. They’ll say they need to change how they operate and relate to the voters. But on a daily, issue by issue basis, they won’t change. The current way of doing things is just to tasty to abandon.

  3. Milwaukee Native says:

    “Confession” is a popular meme among conservatives, especially Christian ones. So Charlie Sykes’s recent epiphanies will put him in good company with other “sinners,” incuding those involved in sexual scandals.

    Charlies Sykes listeners have already forgiven him for serial marital infidelity. Yet he still was heard ranting last week about how awful it is that Hillary Clinton’s top aide’s soon-to-be-ex-husband has a problem with sexting–and that somehow reflects on Clinton.

    As for the race baiting, I hope MSNBC sometimes puts Charlie Pierce up against Charlie Sykes. Sykes, no matter how glib, could ever stand up to Pierce’s brilliantly incisive ability to communicate and cut through B.S. Thanks, Bruce, for including Pierce’s quotes and analyzing Sykes’ dubious self-analysis.

  4. Gee says:

    Those of us who have had to endure Sykes for decades, well before his magazine years, are not at all surprised by this latest switcheroo. We watched the onetime liberal turn conservative, when that was where the money was going. . . .

    Partisan labels come and go with Sykes, because the label that fits him best is this: Opportunist.

  5. Steven Blackwood says:

    Bruce didn’t discuss this in his article but how is Sykes’ radio audience handling his recent “conversion”? Are his ratings suffering?

  6. Joe R says:

    The other day, I caught the recent stop of Sykes’s apology tour on the BBC News Hour, of all places. Looks like Charlie’s the go-to repentant conservative for the credulous media.

  7. WashCoRepub says:

    I used to listen to Sykes quite often, but unrelated to the never-Trumpism, he seemed to develop an on-air vocal tic where he uses the words ‘actual’ and ‘actually’ so far out of proportion to normal conversational speech, that it started driving me nuts. I had hoped that his producer Warris (sp?) would tamp it down when it became really bad, but no luck so far.

  8. Jason says:

    Bruce must have not found really anything to write about this week to put talk radio in his cross hairs. On the gay agenda at best it is 50/50 on the gay marriage issue for Conservatives in 2006. May I suggest people of color voted at a higher rate than whites on denying gay marriage. In fact, five of nine citizens of the United States struck down the defense of Marriage Act. What power five citizens in black robes have over 250 million legal citizens and 65 million illegal citizens. I do not recall Conservatives in Wisconsin protesting in the streets in 2014. So to presume we hate gays is a stretch.

  9. TJP says:

    Sykes is throwing his racism around.
    https://youtu.be/njAifSTdFAE

    Sykes defended the chanting of racist taunts at an elementary school soccer game in Elkhorn, WI, in which students from an opposing team shouted “build a wall!” and “Trump, Trump, Trump!” at young black and latina players from the Beloit. Sykes was upset that the students who shouted the slurs were going to be disciplined.
    Notice how Sykes attempts to reframe the story throughout the clip to make conservatives look like the victim in this situation. After introducing the story, Sykes chooses not to include the “build the wall” chant in his on air discussion. Instead, he only talks about the “Trump” chant as a way for those students to express their freedom of speech rights. In his mind, “it’s a slippery slope” – how can the chanting of a presidential candidate be offensive? Isn’t it the same thing if students shouted “Bernie” or “Hillary?” In the end, his female caller thinks that the children who were offended need to get some “thicker skin” and stop being so “politically correct.”
    Charlie Sykes on WTMJ 4/12/16
    http://www.latinpost.com/articles/119534/20160412/wisconsin-students-shout-racial-slurs-at-latina-soccer-players-donald-trump-build-that-wall.htm
    http://fusion.net/story/290059/elkhorn-beloit-racist-trump-soccer-game/

  10. Bruce Murphy says:

    Jason, the quote was only about Sykes’s sense of his listeners’ views on the gay marriage amendment in 2006. That’s ten years ago. This column makes no conclusions whatsoever about how conservatives might stand on the issue back then or today.

  11. Tom says:

    I Sykes thought he could make $3 a year more being a Stalinist, he would become a Stalinist. His moral compass points to a dollar sign.

  12. PT says:

    Sykes is a con man. He may be doing the never Trump thing but at any opportunity he continues to have all the “Republican ” candidates on and gives them hours of free radio time. He knows very well that his listeners will vote for Trump as they go into vote down ballot. It’s all about power. It doesn’t matter who is the President as long as it’s a republican. His latest is to code his message to further the hate machine on Milwaukee and the Sherman Park neighborhood just like he did going after the Northridge Mall.
    Sykes is famous for calling blacks ” gangbangers” and the court system a ” catch and release” program. He defends Clarke whenever he can. It brings in the listeners. They drool over this.

  13. Never Trump? says:

    Let’s not forget it wasn’t too long ago that Sykes was defending the racism that Trump respresents.

    https://youtu.be/YhbCOSlbgs8

  14. Vincent Hanna says:

    Shifts in conservative media and battles among conservatives over Trump, including the talk radio crowd, is certainly newsworthy Jason. It is being covered extensively nationally so it makes sense for Bruce to examine someone prominent locally like Sykes (who has been making the rounds; the aforementioned BBC News Hour among other programs like To The Point).

  15. fightingbobfan says:

    The thing I don’t get is what’s wrong with this metro area when all across the country, stations are abandoning the talk radio format and people like Rush Limbaugh are relegated to the lowest rated stations on the dial. In fact Limbaugh might be working for free because I-Heart is heading towards a massive bankruptcy.

    But in Milwaukee, WTMJ is rated #2 and WISN around 5. Because there is a large portion of our population has a need for this kind of ear pollution, this is a good indication of the racism in this city.

    In fact it is interesting that Charlie is alluding to the racism of some of his audience. Robert Kraig from Citizen Action was on WPR back in spring talking about the Radio-Active campaign, and there were at least three callers who were fans of TMJ and claimed that it wasn’t racist. I believe they were sincere.

    Sincere, but clueless.

  16. Bill Kurtz says:

    Fightingbobfan’s point is well taken. In Chicago, for example, the talk format (except, oddly, sports talk) has been described as dead in the water. But here, as in so many other ways, Milwaukee seems to be 15-20 years behind the national curve.

  17. Bruce Thompson says:

    NeverTrump,
    In the broadcast you linked to, Sykes is demonstrating, I think, purposeful stupidity. He keeps comparing shouts of “Trump, Trump” and “Build a wall” to shouting another another candidate’s name, ignoring the context. Presumably members of the other team were Hispanic, so the shouts were an attack on their ethnicity. I wonder if he believed his argument.

  18. Ryan N says:

    As a moderate conservative who has never listened to talk radio it has been annoying that everyone who is conservative here seems to listen to it religiously and get all their politics and talking points from it. Always “durr durr liberals are evil, it doesn’t matter what we believe, they’re evil and racist so we’re not!!11!!!” Pretty disgusting and it explains why the partisainship is worse here than other metros when they’ve been told their special snowflakes their whole life.

  19. Vincent Hanna says:

    In some ways it reminds me of celebrities (typically D-list celebrities) who announce they are conservative and receive more media attention than they’ve had in 10 or 20 years. Stacy Dash, Scott Baio. They get Fox News gigs and book deals and ubiquitous media coverage and seem to bask in the spotlight they’d left behind through no choice of their own. It all seems so calculated, but it’s effective. Of course some conservatives are genuine in their denunciations of Trump, but clearly some are more akin to craven opportunists.

  20. tim haering says:

    Bruce, are you saying Lawrence O’Donnell knew of Sykes’ 2 faces [the other he presumably keeps in a jar by the door] when he repeatedly had him as a guest talker? That O’Donnell did not fear Sykes’ second countenance would taint the anti-Trump message he wanted? Did not fear that Sykes’ anti-Trump posture might be as rating-calculated as Hannity’s pro-Trump posture?

    In the end, I don’t care about Sykes. I never listened to him and never will. I don’t need my opinion led, just informed. YOU do a decent job of that, despite your list to port, which you may not even notice. Put a level on your head sometime and see where the bubble goes.

    Write on, man!

  21. fightingbobfan says:

    Can anyone come up with anything positive Charlie Sykes has done for this city? Other than his involvement with the Honor Flights, I’ve got nothing.

  22. Patricia Jursik says:

    Story does not go far enough on Sykes; he knew his advertisers and their organizational bodies such as the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Big Money was determined to elect their surrogate in Milwaukee County and later Wisconsin. Of course, this is Walker. This talk show format was part and parcel of controlling media and eliminating local control. The only antidote for this kind of money skewing our political system is to have highly informed voters who actually vote. We all need to look in the mirror, but Sykes was part and parcel of a well-oiled machine, and he knew it, i.e. this is the Dark Money in Wisconsin.

  23. Dan Wilson says:

    I knew his dad when I was a Journalism student at UWM. Jay was an unabashed anti-war liberal and taught students that journalism and the search for the truth are a public calling. I keep hoping against hope that some of that genetic material exists in Charlie in a dormant state and simply needs a triggering event.

  24. RT Both says:

    Combined with Glenn Beck’s asserting in today’s NYT that he “empathizes” with some Black LIves Matter activists, this right-wing back-peddling does seem to amount to a trend. Bruce Murphy’s piece reveals the extent of the racism, and the pandering, that has defined Sykes’s show up to now. I don’t know about Beck, who seems like a genuine nutcase, but guys like Sykes were never sincere rightists in the first place. If Sykes is starting to publicly air these mea culpas, it’s because he smells blood in the water — and for a change it’s not blue.

  25. Jason says:

    It would grand if we could comment on the left wing talk radio personnel that may actually have an audience but regretfully there are none.

  26. fightingbobfan says:

    Why would it be grand Jason? That has nothing to do with this discussion.

  27. Jason says:

    I would suggest that bad policies in Milwaukee created Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties “turning red” not two talk show hosts on WISN and WTMJ. I don’t listen to Sykes but now and then to Belling. First, he is entertaining and he brings up local subjects that the journal Sentinel will not touch such as MPS. Urban Milwaukee has more usefulness than what is on JS online. The Journal Sentinel hasr Bob McGinn and that is pretty much it.

  28. PT says:

    Here we have Sykes blaming the media for creating Trump when in fact his race baiting machine produced Trump. Sykes also produced Walker, Johnson, Bradley, Clarke — the list goes on.

    https://youtu.be/Sa5Knl-rVls

    Sykes points to the cable companies who have given Trump unlimited access to covering him. He talks about the cable companies going all Trump all the time. Now let’s look at the coverage Sykes Belling, McKenna and Weber gave to Walker, Rebecca Bradley, Ron Johnson, Robin Voss, Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Donovan…the list goes on and on. Here’s the thing. WTMJ calls themselves a Fair and Balanced radio station when in fact they NEVER have the opposing candidate on to be interviewed or present their point of view. The raw minutes going to Republican or so called conservative candidates is overwhelming. The truth is WISN and WTMJ are far from Fair and Balanced.
    http://bloggingblue.com/2012/04/what-a-bunch-of-grade-a-hypocrites-at-wtmj/
    http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/81082:secrets-of-talk-radio

    “To begin with, talk show hosts such as Charlie Sykes – one of the best in the business – are popular and powerful because they appeal to a segment of the population that feels disenfranchised and even victimized by the media. These people believe the media are predominantly staffed by and consistently reflect the views of social liberals. This view is by now so long-held and deep-rooted, it has evolved into part of virtually every conservative’s DNA.

    To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered. The host frames virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms. There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners.

    This enemy can be a politician – either a Democratic officeholder or, in rare cases where no Democrat is convenient to blame, it can be a “RINO” (a “Republican In Name Only,” who is deemed not conservative enough). It can be the cold, cruel government bureaucracy. More often than not, however, the enemy is the “mainstream media” – local or national, print or broadcast.”

  29. PT says:

    Jason – this Mark Belling? https://youtu.be/EpwcYWaCaAo

    You’ve fallen into his “I’ll add a little sports and talk about horse racing and such while I feed your with hate for MPS and Milwaukee. Keep sucking it up Jason. He lays the trap, you chuckle and then take his hate machine hook line and sinker. Wake up man. You’ve been brainwashed.

    In one show, 6/29/16 Hr 1 Pt 1, Mark Belling continues his attacks on MPS.

    First off, he compares advocates for strong public schools in Milwaukee to “pit bulls guarding a drug house,” tapping into common racial stereotypes of African Americans in Milwaukee. To make things worse, he goes on to compare MPS to concentration camps, swamps, and even compares MPS teachers and leaders who fight for strong public education in Milwaukee to heroin addicts. As per usual, Belling brings up one of his favorite liberal business owners to bash, Bill Penzey, who is the owner of Penzey’s Spices and is a well-known supporter of strong public schools and public school teachers. As if things could not get any worse, he ends his diatribe with a bad joke, saying that the words “brain” and “MPS” do not belong in the same sentence.

  30. Jason says:

    PT, It is unfortunate you feel this way about the audience that listens to Mark Belling. Many people turn to a show like Mark Belling because of know it all’s like Bill Penzey. Seriously, what customer wants to buy a quality spice and then gets lectured by Bill Penzey for having a WALKER bumper sticker on his/her vehicle. What makes you or Bill Penzey right, you can not debate the other side so were just labeled hatemongers. On African American’s in Milwaukee they deserve better, they deserve better politicians, better schools and better neighborhoods unfortunately they will not find that in most of Milwaukee.

  31. Jason says:

    So you like the Belling I referenced? How about this one? https://youtu.be/eISZ06onCoc

    Not sure where you get the Penzy Spice stuff. Maybe you got the wrong link. Perhaps you should respond to what I put up.

    https://youtu.be/EpwcYWaCaAo

    Mark Belling doesn’t want to be part of the Sykes, McKenna, Weber and Bader Team in promoting candidates. He wants to remain neutral. He claims he has ridden Walker’s “butt” all the time? When was the last time he criticized Walker for anything ? When was the last time he rode Walker for his failed WEDC. When was the last time he went after Walker for his failure to lead on the Lincoln Hills failures.
    Belling then insults the listener by saying that there is a difference between telling a voter how they SHOULD vote and that they HAVE to vote for a candidate. Belling then contradicts himself by saying ” you could say it’s a distinction without a difference.” In HIS mind there is difference. According to Belling there is always a line and this is how far he’s willing to go on the line. On The Line ? What exactly does that mean? Does that mean you can hammer the opposing candidate hour after hour on that line? Belling seems to think he never crosses the line. Belling refers to Clarke as an example of a politician that he never promotes. He just ” AGREES” with him. Belling says there is a difference between giving them a “fair shake” and ” anointing” people. Has Belling ever given a fair shake to Clarke’s opponents. Clarke of course has been interviewed numerous times on all of the talk radio shows.

  32. PT says:

    Jason – I see where I referenced Bill Penzy. Right wing radio puts out nearly 19 hours of 50,000 watt power on a daily basis attacking everything progressive or liberal. That includes Bill Penzey. Their power is undeniable. They coordinated and attacked a this very successful business owner. Believe me – what you hear on Sykes you will hear on Belling, Weber and McKenna. . They obviously can’t handle a progressive buiseness owner expressing his opinions. Penzey’s use of his catalogue to express his opinion pales in comparison to John Menard who has used every dirty trick in the book to attack progressives, workers and the environment.

  33. Vincent Hanna says:

    Yes I’m sure Mark Belling is the place to turn for fair and nuanced discussion of MPS. And anyone who believes the Journal Sentinel doesn’t touch MPS does not read the Journal Sentinel. The paper has its problems but saying it doesn’t write about MPS is just bizarre and completely wrong. I see businesses with Trump signs and Ron Johnson signs. But of course Jason has no issue with those businesses sharing their politics. Just the liberal one.

  34. Thomas says:

    Thanks, Bruce, for another fascinating and timely essay. I stopped calling in to the Sykes show over 15 years ago because I had to tell the screener I was going to say something I wasn’t going to say to get on the air; then the puzzled Charlie would cut me off as soon as he realized that I actually wanted to question his presentation of allegedly factual information.

    I will give an ear again to Sykes if he starts calling himself a “recovering reactionary.” He has not been any better than any other LITTLE LIMBAUGH – spewing fake outrage to get an audience lathered up … The Charles Pierce quotes were on point.

    The above notwithstanding, I would like to give Sykes some credit for acknowledging some blame for the creation of the Trump monster. I would like to hear Belling follow him on that path.

  35. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Bumping this excellent column to keep it front and center.

    This is all a setup by Sykes’ bosses at the Bradley Foundation and WisGOP to shirk responsibility for the failure of their “pose over reality” politics. And it’s trying to clear the way for Walker or Ryan in 2020 to seem “reasonable”, despite believing mych of the same things Drumpf does.

    Dont buy it. If you think Sykes is being the least bit sincere with his “What have we done?” act, you are a SUCKER

  36. Andy Umbo says:

    Having made Charlie’s acquaintance before his talk radio years, I can pretty much back up anyone on here that says he went “red” for the money, or at least, followed the money and maximized his payout. The republicans love a reformed liberal. It might even have something to do with tweaking his x-wife, and showing her how big a republican he could be…

    The moderate republicans distaste for the less than educated mouth breathers that have invaded their party and promoted Trump is a disaster of their own making. The “win at any cost” philosophy that keeps those people going in the polling booth and pulling the republican lever, no matter how absurd the candidate is, because the “alternative” would be “terrible” is pure folly! I was amazed to hear P.J. O’Rourke on the “Wait, wait…” radio show on PBS, say that he was going to vote for Hillary because at least she was “crazy” within acceptable norms! In one sense I admire the republicans for playing to win; if more democrats had thought that way, and voted to win instead of voting their “heart” for Nader, Gore would have gotten in and we would have been spared Bush the Lesser!

    It is of comfort that when I think of the “radicals” associated with the liberal party, I think of people that want to promote a gov. funding system for medical care in the U.S. (and eliminate the profit motive), and think the minimum wage should be livable, and that we should control things like the amount your rent can go up yearly; while the “radicals” wing of the conservatives want to jail the poor, enslave the working class, and give every mouth-breathing hill-billy an automatic weapon.

  37. Jon says:

    A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.

    The really dangerous American fascist… is the man or woman who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.

    Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation.

    Henry A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States 1944

  38. Virginia says:

    Jon, thanks for the quote by Wallace. I was interested to learn of his close family ties with George Washington Carver, one of America’s great agricultural scientists.

    From a bio of Henry A. Wallace: May Wallace shared her love of plants with her son while he was still a boy, teaching him to cross-breed pansies.[4] When the African-American “plant doctor” and future agronomist George Washington Carver became a student and later an instructor at Iowa State University, the Wallaces took him into their home, as racial prejudice prevented Carver from living in the dorm. As a boy, Wallace accompanied Carver on nature walks, identifying the botanical structures of wild flowers and prairie grasses. Carver left for Tuskegee when Wallace was eight, but his influence on Wallace was deep and lasting. By the age of ten, Wallace was experimenting with plant breeding in his own plot.

  39. Casey says:

    So Sykes is leaving now huh? Is it really because he’s 62 or because he has consistently bashed the GOP nominee?

  40. Vincent Hanna says:

    He’s got that book bashing the right and talk radio and that will lead to new opportunities. He’s a paid MSNBC contributor and who knows maybe he will keep doing that. Just as D-list stars bashing liberals and Hollywood is a good career move, so is a conservative like Sykes bashing the right and talk radio. Age is a convenient excuse.

  41. Maggie says:

    Bruce–Where’s Charlie Sykes now? I’d really love to see you do a follow up article to this September piece. He needs to take responsibility for 30 years of fomenting racism, misogyny and the rise of the white supremacy movement that has now firmly taken hold of our nation. He doesn’t just get to do that for 30 years, then see the writing on the wall and take off with, “So long and thanks for all the fish!”

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