Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dwight Garner writes this in The New York Times Book Review about Peter Schweizer's new bestseller, Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy:

It steams Schweizer's beans that conservatives - William J. Bennett (gambling), Rush Limbaugh (drug use) - are so often brought low on charges of hypocrisy.

Excuse me, but on what planet have Bennett and Limbaugh been "brought low"? According to the most recent ratings published by Talkers magazine, Limbaugh still has nearly 14 million listeners a week -- he's been the top talk-radio guy for about a decade and a half, and he's still so influential that the White House dispatched Dick Cheney to kiss his ring when it was still fighting for the Harriet Miers nomination.

Bennett, meanwhile, reaches about 2 million listeners a week on his radio show -- that's a bigger audience than Al Franken's -- and his standing on talk radio seems not to have been diminished at all by his gambling scandal or the racist gaffe in which he immediately leaped to the subject of unborn blacks while talking about the notion of aborting possible future criminals. He's never apologized for that, and not one organization with which he is affiliated has seen fit to distance itself from him.

And to most Americans it's still not a slur to suggest that a politician is an ally of Rush Limbaugh or William Bennett, while it is very damaging in much of the country to describe a politician as a "Ted Kennedy liberal," or to suggest a philosophical similarity to Michael Moore. So don't try to tell me Limbaugh and Bennett have ever truly been "brought low."


UPDATE: Oh, and let me also mention this announcement of a forthcoming William Bennett book project, courtesy of Publishers Lunch (subscription only):

William J. Bennett's AMERICA: The Last Best Hope, a two-volume history of the United States, counteracting histories that "have treated the American story largely as a social study of missteps and injustices," focusing on the glory, romance, and exceptionalism of American achievement while not shrinking from any hard truth's from the past, to [be published by] Nelson Current, with publication of the first volume in May 2006, and the second in 2007, [agented] by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Nelson Current is an imprint of Thomas Nelson, a highly successful publisher of religious, inspirational, and (recently) business books; it will publish Billy Graham's next book. Robert Barnett is Bill Clinton's book agent. Bennett's doing just fine.

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