Our friend John Hinderaker over at Powerline is no longer listening to his favorite radio talk show. He is not a McCainiac, but "I can no longer listen to her bash McCain day after day." Over at National Review Online, our friend Byron York talks to two pro-life conservatives who back McCain on the war, despite huge disagreements on immigration and taxes. "But what about what they're hearing about McCain on talk radio? 'I wish it would stop. I'm a little surprised by Sean Hannity. ... I was listening to him in the car today, and I had to turn it off, I couldn't listen any more, because it was like he was talking about Hillary Clinton or Al Gore or John Kerry.'" The hosts are being urged on by most of the people who call into their programs, but while this goes on, unknown numbers of others are turning the dial, or turning them off, or turning the sound down until those rare moments when they find a different pinata to thwack at. They may not come back, and if they do, they may always look at them differently. While the radio hosts may complain about McCain fracturing the base of their party, they are fracturing the base of their listening audience, which always included large numbers of non-movement and small-c conservatives, who enjoyed listening to them take on the liberals, and wish they would go back to doing it. If they get in the end what they seem to want now - to elect a Democrat to punish an unruly Republican electorate that refused to follow their orders and wishes - they will lose the war in Iraq, lose the Middle East, lose the Supreme Court for the next generation, and face the moment when a Democratic Congress sends a law authorizing the return of the Fairness Doctrine to a President Obama or Clinton, who will, of course, sign it. And very few of their former supporters will be in a mood to object.
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