Quotes of the day

“So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain…

Over the years, I have asked many politicians what happens when Limbaugh and his colleagues attack. The story is always the same. Hundreds of calls come in. The receptionists are miserable. But the numbers back home do not move. There is no effect on the favorability rating or the re-election prospects. In the media world, he is a giant. In the real world, he’s not.

But this is not merely a story of weakness. It is a story of resilience. For no matter how often their hollowness is exposed, the jocks still reweave the myth of their own power. They still ride the airwaves claiming to speak for millions. They still confuse listeners with voters. And they are aided in this endeavor by their enablers. They are enabled by cynical Democrats, who love to claim that Rush Limbaugh controls the G.O.P. They are enabled by lazy pundits who find it easier to argue with showmen than with people whose opinions are based on knowledge. They are enabled by the slightly educated snobs who believe that Glenn Beck really is the voice of Middle America.”

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Limbaugh brushed off the Times columnist’s criticism by asking ‘how many Americans know who David Brooks is?’ — a view supported by another popular conservative radio host.

Mark Levin, author of the best-selling ‘Liberty & Tyranny,’ asked two questions in an e-mail to POLTICO: ‘David Brooks? Does he run Brooks Brothers?'”

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“Republicans lost the election in 2008, not because of misplaced faith in the power of talk radio; they lost because as the party they broke trust with the conservative values that most Americans on some level agree with. And these are the same values many of our radio commentators espouse. And while conservative talk radio may not stuff the ballot box, it does have an impact: from the immigration debates of 2007-08 to the tea parties, the health care debate, and what I am sure now will be the critical debate over Obama’s bungling of Afghanistan.

Men like Rush, Sean, Mark and Fred were sticking to their principles, and talking about those principles, like free markets, the rule of law, respect for life, federalism, long before the 2008 campaigns, and have continued to do so. They haven’t shifted with the political winds. The same cannot be said for Mr. Brooks.”