Dispatches > The Buzz


Issue: "Interview with Larry King," July 28, 2001

A QUARTER OF A BILLION MEGA-DITTOES: Rush Limbaugh is loaded. Swimming in cash. Filthy rich. Premiere Radio Networks says the host's new nine-year contract is the highest priced in the history of radio syndication. It says demand from advertisers and local stations is at its highest point ever. The distributor did not release a dollar figure, though the Drudge Report said it was worth over $250 million. Days later, the Drudge site carried a story reporting CBS/Infinity radio's apparent willingness to pay Mr. Limbaugh twice that. "We would have paid him double," the Drudge Report quoted Infinity's Mel Karmazin. Matt Drudge noted the $250 million deal means Mr. Limbaugh's earnings outpace the annual salaries of Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Barbara Walters combined. Mr. Limbaugh himself joked about the deal with his usual bravado. "I have said that I shall not retire until all Americans agree with me," he said in a statement. "That is still operative. So, you who know who you are, have been warned." 21ST-CENTURY "GRASSY-KNOLL" THEORY: The "stolen election" canard won't die as stories continue to surface suggesting the presidency rightly belongs to Al Gore. The New York Times raised the issue again, arguing that "under intense pressure from Republicans, Florida officials accepted hundreds of overseas absentee ballots that failed to comply with state election laws." Boston University journalism professor Bob Zelnick, who wrote a book on the 2000 election, said the controversy over overseas absentee ballots dates back to a dispute over the 1980 election. He complained in The Wall Street Journal that the Times "suggests state law was violated" but "fails to report ... that federal law required Florida to count these votes." Mr. Zelnick called the story simply an attempt to delegitimize the president: "We can expect more of the same in weeks ahead when Sen. Christopher Dodd takes his Rules Committee on an excursion through election reform. The myth of a stolen election gallops on, impervious to fact, reason and law." GOP = GRAND ORTHODOX PARTY: The GOP is the party of the religious and the Democrats the party of the secular. So says Los Angeles Times columnist Ronald Brownstein, drawing his conclusion from survey results from the University of Akron. "In 2000, church attendance was a better predictor of the vote than income," he concludes. Note the use of the word attendance. Loyal Catholics are more likely to vote Republican than nominal evangelicals. "The GOP has become the party of the most religiously observant regardless of what faith they practice, while voters who are less devout or entirely secular have moved toward the Democrats," Mr. Brownstein points out. "The exceptions are blacks and Jews, who remain staunch Democrats in or out of the pews." Mr. Brownstein points to the numbers: George W. Bush took 84 percent of regular evangelical churchgoers and 55 percent of the less active. He received nearly 60 percent of the active Catholic vote, but Al Gore won about the same percentage among infrequent mass-attenders. He says the challenge for the GOP is to grow its secular numbers without losing the religious-and the Democrats won't get back the South or border states without winning the devout. FRIENDS LIKE THIS: For the activist Left, tolerance has its limits; within its own ranks, there's no mercy. Mark Steyn points out the case of gay journalist Andrew Sullivan in the Chicago Sun-Times. Details of the former New Republic editor's sexual practices spread through the homosexual press and into the mainstream press. Why? To punish him for supporting George W. Bush. Even though Mr. Sullivan is "one of the leading proponents of gay marriage, gays in the military, gay this, gay that," he crosses the political line on some issues-and that makes him a marked man. For example, he complained about The New York Times' coverage of overseas ballots, saying it strained credibility. "If [the Times] keeps blaring non-stories like this to appease its leftist Manhattan base, and maintains its close to unanimous chorus of editorial and op-ed hostility to President Bush, it will become less authoritative," Mr. Sullivan wrote on his website. "People like me who care about it and groan about some of its obvious news bias will simply stop reading it. Or, worse, we'll start assuming it's propaganda until proven otherwise." Mr. Steyn calls this part of the way the Left can command unquestioning support from those in self-defined marginal groups. "'Identity politics' is left-wing apartheid-a way of dividing the citizenry into competing interest groups, beholden to a strong central government as an arbiter of largesse," he writes. The anti-Boy Scout campaign proves "it's not enough to be 'inclusive': The New Tolerance demands you take sides-against Boy Scouts, practicing Christians and anybody else who gets in its way."

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