I have been a long time listener of Michael Medved’s nationally syndicated talk radio show.
But now, all of that has changed.
Medved had been one of my favorite talk show hosts. I found him to be quick-witted, articulate, and perceptive. Unlike those of his colleagues who routinely demonize their political rivals while heaping abuse upon callers to their shows, Medved could generally be relied upon to treat his opponents and interlocutors with civility and respect.
But now, all of that has changed.
Just today alone, two people—one a close friend, the other a facebook “friend”—made comments to me regarding Medved’s peculiar, and dramatic, shift in temperament. My close friend, who hadn’t listened to Medved in quite some time, happened to tune in just as the latter was berating a caller who challenged the constitutionality of the Iraq War. Moments later, my friend contacted me: “What’s up with Medved?” he asked in shock. “He sounded like a total whack job just a minute ago!”
Incidentally, my friend agreed with the substance of Medved’s position.
My facebook friend remarked upon what he perceived to be the raw “hatred” and “bitterness” that now routinely spewed from Medved’s lips. Yet he also noted something else: Medved sounded most angry, most “bitter,” and most “hateful” when he spoke of Ron Paul.
This is a crucial insight.
I have written some articles in which I speak of “Paulophobia.” My analysis of Paulophobia was, largely, satirical in nature. Obviously, I never really believed that I had struck upon a heretofore undiscovered cognitive disorder. But, I must say, if Paulophobia was a real mental disease, Michael Medved would be a classic textbook case of it.
This is no exaggeration. Like a Pavlovian dog, Medved instinctively turns hostile at the mere mention of Paul’s name. Paul is a “kook,” a “nut,” a “crackpot,” and an “extremist.” And although, as far as I can gather, he never explicitly called Paul a “racist,” a “neo-Nazi,” an “anti-Semite,” and a “9/11 Truther,” Medved has spared no occasion to implicitly convict Paul of such charges.
During his coverage of the GOP presidential primary race, Medved has never given Paul the slightest bit of credit for any of the Texas Congressman’s many achievements. Paul routinely runs away with straw polls, nearly prevails in theIowa caucus, and steadily remains within the top-tier of candidates. Yet the Paulophobia from which Medved has been suffering for years renders him from even begrudgingly acknowledging any of this. Paul’s campaign is as well organized and effective as any candidate’s, and it is supported, not by the kinds of special interest groups and zillionaires that pour resources into the coffers of the other candidates, but by millions of working class Americans composing a real “grassroots” movement. On this phenomenon, however, Medved is silent.
Medved’s Paulophobia is so virulent that he adamantly refuses to entertain a hypothetical scenario in which Paul becomes the GOP’s nominee. Recently, when a caller started to ask him a question regarding just the possibility of Paul’s receiving the nomination, Medved quickly interrupted him: “He won’t be the nominee!” he retorted. Ron Paul is completely “unelectable,” Medved repeated. He is unelectable! Unelectable!
Such is Medved’s desperation to purge Ron Paul, not just from the primary contest and the Republican Party, but from “polite society,” that he has taken to spreading outright lies about Paul. Just a couple of days ago, Medved said on the air that a “poll” shows Ron Paul losing to Barack Obama in a general election by 20 points!
There is one very good reason why Medved never specified the poll to which he referred: no such poll exists.
Medved, I believe, probably first heard of this “poll” when another raging Paulophobe, Dick Morris, referenced it. Interestingly, though, Morris did mention Rasmussen as the source of this statistic. There are only two problems, however.
First, the Rasmussen poll in question shows Ron Paul down by roughly seven points in a head-to-head match up with President Obama—not 20 points. Second, even this isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds when we see that the very same poll shows that among the other candidates, only Mitt Romney does better than Paul when pitted against Obama. In other words, the idea that Morris and Medved try to convey when they cite this fiction—the idea that Paul will do worse in a general election than any other Republican candidate—is another big lie.
There is one other charge that Medved has leveled against Paul.
Paul is not a real “conservative,” he has emphatically declared. This is ironic, coming from Medved, for it is he who is not a real conservative.
Medved has never been a conservative. He is a neoconservative—which is to say a pseudo-conservative. To put this point another way, Medved remains attached to the leftism of his youth, for neoconservatism or pseudo-conservatism is really just another variant of leftism. It is a lighter or softer version, yes, but it is an expression of leftism all of the same. We needn’t even consult his policy prescriptions to see that this is true. For this purpose, a simple consideration of the fact that Medved regularly embraces the ad hominem attack generally and Politically Correct attacks specifically is more than sufficient. Real conservatives have neither the desire nor the need for such vicious and baseless non-arguments.
Medved is a sad figure. He has become a mean-spirited and irrational little man.
If only he would have sought help for his Paulophobia a long time ago, he may have been able to prevent his present condition from coming to pass.
Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.