Exuding Lauren-Boebert-to-the-principal’s-office vibes, Sean Hannity hosted the congresswoman for a segment billed as the “Hannity Hot Seat.” There, he berated her for not reflexively endorsing Frank Luntz’s roommate merely because the donor class decided he was their guy behind closed doors.
Is this an election or a coronation? Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have the votes to win, so he won’t win. The guy has a 45% favorability rating among the Republican rank-and-file. Thirty-nine percent think he should remain in a leadership position. The People’s elected representatives don’t want to elect him. That’s how representative republics work.
Who does Hannity think he is? Boebert works (theoretically) for her constituents in Colorado, not a Manhattan multi-millionaire in makeup who cosplays Captain America on cable news.
Scuffles like this show the difficult line Hannity attempts to walk. He has to pretend to be populist to retain his audience, in order to retain advertisers, in order to keep raking in his bloated salary. Populism is his whole shtick – “I’m not a republican, I’m a conservative,” as his frequent refrain goes.
But deep down, behind the mask, Hannity is just another RINO hack. The ultimate company man, he trots out the same tired focus-grouped talking points he’s been using since the W. Bush days because he’s a dyed-in-the-wool neoconservative neoliberal.
Watching him try to square his RINO-ism with Trumpism in the post-2015 era was painful and entertaining – for instance, the contortions he twisted himself into to maintain his ultra-hawkish foreign policy (the ideology he built his brand on) while nominally embracing America First.
Trump’s ascendance in the Republican Party in 2015 was a direct repudiation of the entire corporate neocon philosophy Hannity has espoused on the airwaves for decades. Yet he thinks so little of his loyal audience – and maybe rightly so – that he thought he could just shoehorn his failed ideology into America First and no one would notice or care about the contradiction.
Compare Hannity’s party-line rhetoric to Tucker Carlson’s, his channel-mate, who doesn’t pay lip service to the GOP establishment and is free to speak truth as he sees it in a way Hannity can’t or won’t.
Carlson now crushes Hannity in the ratings because, no matter how slick Hannity’s rhetoric or how polished his goofy Boy Scout image, enough viewers see through the BS to tune out when the 9 p.m. EST GOP Propaganda Hour With Hannity rolls around.
As Carlson has noted, “people know what’s true. They can smell it.”|