I have been listening to a fair share of WBEN radio the last few days during the presidential race post-mortems. I know — I am a glutton for punishment.
While listening, I couldn’t help but think of what NBC’s Chuck Todd reported a prominent conservative was quoted as saying after Republican Mitt Romney lost the presidential election to President Obama.
“Our party needs to realize that it’s too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it’s too late,” said Al Cardenas, a Republican leader who heads the American Conservative Union.
Add “too mean” to too old, too white and too male and it describes WBEN’s local afternoon talk show host Sandy Beach and national host Rush Limbaugh, and it isn’t far off with younger morning host Tom Bauerle, who is approaching 50.
They are as out of touch as the Republican analysts Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie and others who predicted that Romney might even win by a landslide and were startled when it didn’t happen.
Listening to Beach and Bauerle can be a painful experience that ends with one often asking, “who can listen to this garbage for more than 15 minutes?” All right, I mean more than 15 seconds.
So I did some research. I called a local radio expert and discovered that 68 percent of the station’s summer audience was over 55, about half over 65 and 24 percent over 75. In other words, mostly old people listen.
I did find it amusing Tuesday before the election when somehow a caller got through to Beach and said he was voting for President Obama because he didn’t think he got much of a chance to correct things in four years because of the Just Say No Republican Congress. My immediate thought was how did he get through to interrupt Beach’s local radiothon for Romney votes?
After President Obama won, the local blowhards have taken up Limbaugh’s rant that the Dems won because the voters like free stuff and don’t want to work hard. It’s as if they just heard Romney’s devastating 47 percent speech, which he disavowed because he realized it was disgusting.
On Thursday morning, Bauerle went to great length describing how hard he worked at minimum wage jobs even while attending high school and college because he wanted to take personal responsibility unlike those darn Democratic voters.
The WBEN talkers not only demean Democrats, they demean Republicans who make some good, thoughtful and valid points about how they believe it is best to fix the country.
Do Bauerle and Beach really believe that many of the demographic groups that voted for President Obama – the young, women, African Americans and Latinos – don’t want to work?
I teach four courses at two colleges with diverse student bodies. Many of the students support the President, as do a majority of younger voters. Almost all of them are working while going to college. Some of them work full-time. I have one guy who comes to class at 2 p.m. after finishing a full-time work shift that starts at 5 a.m. I have a few female students who work full-time as waitresses late at night before coming to class early in the morning.
Beach and Bauerle should be ashamed of themselves for practically calling all Democratic voters bums who are looking for handouts. Bauerle even suggested Thursday that some of them “squirt out 15 babies” to go on public assistance.
Don’t they realize that there are hard-working Democrats who remember that the United States is a nation of hard-working immigrants who may need some help at times? Don’t they realize that they include women who wonder why Republicans want to deregulate business but regulate their bodies?
One of my Democratic friends once said Republicans want the government to force women to keep their pregnancies but they don’t want the government to pay for the children after they are born.
There are real differences between the parties on issues concerning the environment, business, health, gay rights, the military and others. One party doesn’t have the only supporters who work hard or who get government help.
The harshest critics of Republicans since Romney lost haven’t been Democrats and liberals, but fellow Republicans.
ABC’s Nicolle Wallace, who worked for Sarah Palin in the 2008 campaign, said after the election that pro-life Republicans have to realize that being pro-choice doesn’t mean that someone is pro-abortion. It means even some pro-life women believe other women should have the choice. It is a point that was lost on two Republican Senate candidates who damaged Romney’s chances. Wallace seemed to have the revolutionary thought that Republicans have to consider the other side’s views.
If you stayed up past 1 a.m. Wednesday, you would have heard Republican strategist Mike Murphy – who used to work for Romney – tell NBC’s Brian Williams that the party has to reconsider many of its policies to expand its supporters if it ever expects to win the Presidency again.
The overall feeling one got from listening to Republicans like Murphy who know Romney is that he is a good and decent man who had to go too far right on immigration and abortion during the primaries to get the nomination and it cost him the Presidency.
The next Republican presidential candidate in 2016 would be wise to ignore extreme positions, ignore Limbaugh, ignore the local Limbaugh clones like Beach and Bauerle, and enter the 21st Century on issues that many old white men don’t understand or haven’t accepted.