Editorial: Goons couldn’t rattle McCainIt's been a kind of perverse pleasure to watch Sen. John McCain overcome the vitriol of talk radio's conservative goon squad. Despite vicious broadsides from Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham (and their sycophants on regional and local talk radio), McCain emerged as the Republican front-runner.
It's been a kind of perverse pleasure to watch Sen. John McCain overcome the vitriol of talk radio's conservative goon squad. Despite vicious broadsides from Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham (and their sycophants on regional and local talk radio), McCain emerged as the Republican front-runner.
So much for the influence of the talkers with the base of Republican voters.
In responding to questions about the attacks from talk radio's allegedly conservative voices, the senator was gracious and even extended an olive branch.
But why should he? Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, Ingraham and small-fry talkers taking their agenda from the big-time four have been so unflinchingly critical that the senator owes them nothing. His campaign, which a few months ago seemed ready for last rites, has been a resurrection story for the political history books.
And he did it without the help of the right-wing talkers. Indeed, he accomplished his comeback while fighting the blowhards' headwind.
The radio attacks on McCain were not merely disagreements about policy. They went after him personally and politically. They charged that his conservative credentials are phony, although a perusal of his long Senate record reveals McCain is one of the most consistently conservative senators ever to serve. They ripped him up and down because he's had the courage to stake out his own positions on immigration and campaign finance reform. Because of those apostasies, and the fact that he has refused to kiss their rings, the talkers tried to do him in.
What seems to be going on is a serious nationwide repudiation of the far right — at least as it's represented by talk radio's bile. The righty bloviators can't stomach a candidate who is independent of their dogma. They can't accept that maybe their time as high priests and priestesses of the conservative agenda is coming to an end.
Whether liberal Democrat, conservative Republican or independent thinker, one can admire McCain's genuine maverick status. The Vietnam War hero has cultivated a streak of contrariness that is serving him admirably as he seeks the presidency. The fact that he won't be intimidated by the overblown egos on talk radio makes him more attractive to American voters.