Sean Hannity the cuckoo in the GOP coal mine

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If you want to know what’s happening within much of the Republican Party these days, just watch Sean Hannity. He’s become the cuckoo in the GOP coal mine.

Last week, for example, Hannity went off on an angry, frustrated rant on his radio show against those conservatives who had dared to point out that Emperor Trump is prancing around naked. If Trump loses, Hannity complained, “I am pointing the finger directly at people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and John McCain. I have watched these Republicans be more harsh toward Donald Trump than they’ve ever been in standing up to Barack Obama and his radical agenda.”

“I’m getting a little sick and tired of all of you,” he added. “I am, honestly, I am tempted to just say I don’t support any of you people ever.”

Bret Stephens, a WSJ conservative columnist who has himself been highly critical of Trump, responded on Twitter by calling Hannity “Fox News’ dumbest anchor.” That’s doubly cutting because, well, Fox anchors are already not the fastest swimmers in the pool, so to speak. Hannity then responded with an epic, curse-laden Twitter tirade that I am not at liberty to republish on this fine, family-oriented website.

This is only early August, folks; Election Day is still three months away.  Yet you’ve already got various factions within the GOP at all-out war over who to blame for the coming catastrophe. Hannity and fellow Trump supporters say they will never forgive the treason that they see perpetrated against their candidate; Erick Erickson and others in the #NeverTrump camp are taking the opposite course, declaring that those who inflicted Trump on the party should have no role in its post-election resurrection.

“Don’t blame us,” as Erickson wrote last week, addressing the Hannitys of the world. “Blame yourselves. You championed the braying jackass, even attacking good conservatives in the race, and the only thing happening now is exactly what the rest of us have said all along would happen.”

For a long time, Republicans have used the charge of party disloyalty as a weapon to keep each other in line, and it’s been very effective. But now that there’s no agreement on what the party line even is, every faction of the GOP is firing accusations of RINO at every other faction. It’s like watching a political version of that biker shootout down in Texas last year.

We will always have a conservative party in this country, but at this point I can’t imagine how you put all this back together into a functioning political organization after November. Because as Hannity demonstrates, nobody in the party seems to be in a mood to forgive each other, to say the least.

Speaking of our cuckoo in the coal mine….

In another segment last week — this one a typically fawning interview with Trump — Hannity had sympathized with Trump’s suggestion that the election was being rigged. If Trump loses in November, they suggested, the outcome won’t be a legitimate expression of the American people but instead an outcome dictated by voter fraud and other trickeration.

The whole idea is stupid for any number of reasons. The most obvious is that when your Chosen One is losing by double digits in your own network’s polling, election theft is not your most pressing concern. Democrats have no need to try to steal an election that Trump is handing them in a gift-wrapped box topped by a pretty silver bow.

More importantly, as CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out, Trump’s repeated warnings of a rigged election are part of a highly destructive effort “to delegitimize our democratic process without proof.” The machinery of self-governance depends on a willingness to accept the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, and if Trump wants to call that into question as a means to salvage his own ego, “it is unpatriotic for any interviewer or any journalist to help him,” as Stelter put it.

“This is dangerous,”  he said, aiming his criticism at both Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. “Suggesting an election is going to be stolen, this is Third World dictatorship stuff.”

Hannity responded to Stelter as he did to Stephens, with an angry Twitter rant in which he endorsed the theory that the 2016 election was being rigged. He also resurrected bizarre claims that Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat had also been the result of massive voter fraud in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

That tells us a couple of things:

1.) The GOP base that Hannity represents is nowhere near coming to terms with the fact that they are a minority in this country. They do not yet recognize that the world view that has been so carefully tended on their behalf within the hothouse bubble of Fox News and talk radio simply collapses when exposed to the rigors of the outside world. The denial is so strong that they are already preparing an intellectual “safe space” to which they can retreat after Trump’s defeat.

2. ) The GOP establishment invented the threat of large-scale voter fraud out of thin air and sold it to their base for a very practical if cynical reason, as an excuse for their inexcusable attempt to discourage voting by minorities and the young.  Such fraud claims never had any basis in fact, as multiple studies have proved and as federal courts around the country have ruled in recent weeks. But like so many of their useful if fictional narratives, GOP leaders have now lost control of it, allowing it to mutate into the kind of destructive nonsense propagated by the likes of Hannity and Trump.

Again, I don’t have the slightest idea how this ends. Trump is going to lose, yes, but I suspect that we’ll look back on that defeat as the real beginning of this story rather than the end of it.


UPDATE: On “Morning Joe” today, host Joe Scarborough and Bret Stephens — both of them conservative — had a conversation along these very lines.

SCARBOROUGH: What do we — I don’t want to speak for you. I’m a registered Republican, I don’t know if you are or not. I’m a conservative, I certainly know you’re a conservative. How much do we look at our own party and say, well, you look at a lot of polls and in some states 50 percent of people not only wanted to ban Muslims, they wanted to ban mosques in America. Shouldn’t we, after this election, have a post-mortem, not just about the candidates we nominate, but the party that we’re in?

STEPHENS: Well, I think the point you’re making is an important one, in that too much of the Republican Party became an echo chamber of itself. And so, if you spend your time listening to certain cable shows all the time, listening to nobody else, if you’re prone to the kind of conspiracy theories that whiz around on Twitter or certain fringes of the internet, you end up having this kind of conversation that’s just increasingly divorced from reality. The people coming over the border, from south of the border, is not a horde of Libyan jihadists, but you would think, talking to some large segment of the GOP base, that that’s the kind of challenge that we face. Trade is not hurting working class Americans. Trade is helping working class Americans. But, again, because of the echo chamber that we created — and by the way, one large problem I would add, and a wise Republican friend of mine made this point, because of redistricting, because red districts are so red, and the only challenges that incumbents face are primary challenges, we are moving in a kind of a self-polarizing direction. That doesn’t help the country, doesn’t help the Republican Party.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I mean basically — and you saw it even with Mitt Romney’s campaign. They watched Fox News. They still believed at two in the morning that — they were still — or at least they believed late into the evening, when everyone else knew the election was over, that they were going to win, because their entire campaign apparatus was inside the bubble. The Republican Party has been inside the bubble now for too long.

STEPHENS: Well it’s a kind of a Pauline Kael phenomenon. I guess she was the New York or New York Times movie critic who said, “I can’t believe [Richard] Nixon won, all my friends voted for [George] McGovern.”

SCARBOROUGH: Didn’t know a single person that voted for Nixon, right.

STEPHENS: And a lot of people have no idea that Trump is headed for a historic defeat. That’s why, I think the larger the defeat, in a sense, the healthier it will be for the Republican Party. At least if it doesn’t bring Paul Ryan’s speakership down with him and there’s a kind of healthy divided government, because it might be a wake-up call to those Republicans who have existed in this little thought bubble of their own that this isn’t a winning form of politics.

Reader Comments 0

1292 comments
Tim Duke Sr.
Tim Duke Sr.

Number one watch news I'll take my chances let's go Hannity

Jim Chapman
Jim Chapman

Hannity has not a single honest bone in his body.

Scott Groves
Scott Groves

Boo boo. A five year old little girl with his arms crossed stomping his foot!

John Cooper
John Cooper

Bookman the cuckoo in the Dem establishment.

Barry Clark
Barry Clark

Jay Bookman an his wife are libturds

Louella Smith-Rabsatt
Louella Smith-Rabsatt

Well, those were my words a few years ago when I censored talk show hosts who spewed so much trash. Trump came out and spewed the same garbage. While others thought it entertainment, I knew my educated self could not listen and so I censored Trump, too. They pandered to the ignorant and uneducated. I wished they were students in my classroom....lots of lessons to learn!!

jeffcamaro
jeffcamaro

But it's really pretty easy why they aren't on board with Trump, they are looking ahead.  When Trump loses--probably by a lot--they (Ryan and the lot) will still have elections to be in.  One can already imagine the TV ads in 2018 - "He Supported Donald Trump".  They can't afford to get his stink on them.


Bhavna Iqbal
Bhavna Iqbal

Stupid and idiot. Who's can't see the truth!!!\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

omark
omark

The GOP has problems that go well beyond nominating a loose cannon for president. Einstein’s famous definition of insanity, doing the same thing over, and over, expecting different results, could serve equally well as a definition for conservative. Go ahead cut the taxes if your goal is to create record deficits. Deregulate the banks. Things always work out great when bankers are allowed to gamble with taxpayer’s money.

Donald’s bold new plan for the economy, is the same crap we’ve heard so many times before. Physicist tell us that alternate universes might exist. There may actually be places where supply side economics actually works. Just not here. Sorry guys, you can’t cut taxes, and increase defense spending if your goal is cutting the deficit. We’ve tried that. Didn’t work. Time for a new plan.

That’s the problem Donald’s new plan sounds a lot like the old plan. We’re not going to make America great again by bringing back coal, and steel. Obama didn’t kill the coal industry. In case you missed the memo, natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than coal. Are we going to force power plants to burn coal when they have cheaper cleaner alternatives? Car makers are turning away from Steel in favor of lighter stronger aluminum alloys. It’s called progress. Old industries die. New ones are born. Ten years from today, millions of Americans will be employed in jobs that don’t exist today. By the same token, many jobs that do employ many today, will go the way of the pterodactyl.

In the long term change is good. In the short term it can be painful. Donald needs to tell those coal miners how he’s going to help them make a successful transition. He’s not bringing back the coal industry. Life is a little more complicated than some would have us believe. Sometimes cutting taxes, and deregulating industry just doesn’t feed the bulldog.

Tony Browne
Tony Browne

Hate Radio, Hate TV! Good Politics don't need these behaviors!

Terry Maxey
Terry Maxey

No mr wilson its sean who can't bully the liberals got it!!!

Nick Brown
Nick Brown

Mike Wilson You're. If you are going to call someone an idiot at least use proper grammar.

Terry Maxey
Terry Maxey

Mr templeton i can't. Tell can any one else? ??

Terry Maxey
Terry Maxey

Not to worry people thats the judgement of god working on him amen.

Roger Woehl
Roger Woehl

I hope he keeps his promises this time!

Lori Burroughs
Lori Burroughs

Bookman writes the same bashing stories everyday. I've decided to drop my subscription so the AJC can bite the dust. Maybe everyone else will drop theirs too.

Dale Moore
Dale Moore

Book an is a left wing fool and the AJC is a left wing rag.

Iris Lopez
Iris Lopez

Leave fox 5 and you don't have to be bothered by any of use

Mick11
Mick11

Great column jay!  I listen to hannity's opening segment on his radio show everyday and he lies repeatedly...no credibility whatsoever but...people believe his repetitive lies, it's so very sad, especially since he is reaping in millions spewing hate lies.  Hillary, will keep him in the money; without even a thank you...

Sherrie Chaney
Sherrie Chaney

Best journalist of them all, he tells the truth from both sides!!\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8\U0001f1fa\U0001f1f8

Hilda Howell Morris
Hilda Howell Morris

And you know what Sean Hannity your the only one on the Fox News that I like cause you always tell it like it is ..... Can't say that about the others they are Fake as a $2 dollar bill\U0001f577

Tiffany Turner
Tiffany Turner

\U0001f602 You know $2 bills actually exist right?

Obo AC
Obo AC

Hannity is a cuckoo, and the dumbest anchor in Fox News.

Joe Dan Draffen
Joe Dan Draffen

Bomb throwing Irisher! Does and says whatever will call attention to his show.

Margaret Rayburn
Margaret Rayburn

Some guy name Erickson is jealous of Sean. Erickson must be one of those perfect ppl. Every once in a while someone who thinks they are perfect comes s long, must be this nobody. NOT

Brenda Glenn Neely
Brenda Glenn Neely

Some people are just stronger and have more confidence than others.

Rudy Lewis
Rudy Lewis

AJC lies like Hillary and that's saying a lot.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

I see the Republicans are here supporting Trump until their bitter end.

Get off my lawn!

Hahahahaha!

Robert Tyler
Robert Tyler

#theyworried #Hillarysucks but not as good as Monica

Amy Parks
Amy Parks

Read the letter from the former republican security leaders that was released today.

Jeff Estep
Jeff Estep

Staying stoned on his own farts. Sad. :-)