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For Me, the Party Is Over

Posted by: Audiegrl

Op-ed by Michael Smerconish

Michael Smerconish, Columnist, Radio Host

Michael Smerconish, Columnist, Radio Host

It took only the single tap of a computer key, and just like that I’d exited the Republican Party after 30 years of active membership. The context might sound impulsive, but I’d been thinking of becoming an independent for a long time. I just hadn’t expected that a trip to renew my driver’s license would mark the end.

Just before my photo was snapped, I was asked if I wanted to register to vote. For me, the question was borderline offensive. I first registered after turning 18 in the spring of 1980 and haven’t missed an election since. And I’m not just talking presidential races. I mean all elections. Congress, town council, school board, whatever.

I’m already registered,” I offered. Next came the unexpected question of whether I wished to change my political affiliation. I’m not sure why that is asked of someone renewing a driver’s license, and I question whether it is even appropriate for most. But in my case, it was the only impetus I needed.

Years ago, I grew tired of having my television or radio introduction accompanied by a label, with some implied expectation that what would then come from my mouth were the party talking points. That was me 26 years ago, when I was the youngest elected member of the state delegation to the Republican National Convention, but not today. I’m not sure if I left the Republican Party or the party left me. All I know is that I no longer feel comfortable.

The national GOP is a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on social issues by the religious right, with zero discernible outreach by the national party to anyone who doesn’t fit neatly within its parameters. Instead, the GOP has extended itself to its fringe while throwing under the bus long-standing members like New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a McCain-Palin supporter in 2008 who told me she voted with her Republican leadership 90 percent of the time before running for Congress last fall.

Which is not to say I feel comfortable in the Democratic Party, either. Weeks before Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh’s announcement that he will not seek reelection, I noted the centrist former governor’s words to the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib. Too many Democrats, Bayh said in that interview, are “tone-deaf” to Americans’ belief that the party had “overreached rather than looking for consensus with moderates and independents.

Where political parties once existed to create coalitions and win elections, now they seek to advance strict ideological agendas. In today’s terms, it’s hard to imagine the GOP tent once housing such disparate figures as conservative Barry Goldwater and liberal New Yorker Jacob Javits, while John Stennis of Mississippi and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts coexisted as Democratic contemporaries.

Collegiality is nonexistent today, and any outreach across an aisle is castigated as weakness by the talking heads who constantly stir a pot of discontent. So vicious is the political climate that within two years, Sen. John McCain has gone from GOP standard-bearer to its endangered-species list. All of which leaves homeless those of us with views that don’t stack up neatly in any ideological box the way we’re told they should.

Consider that I’ve long insisted on the need to profile in the war against terrorists. I believe that if someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has actionable intelligence on future terrorism, you try the least coercive methods to extract it but ultimately stop at damn near nothing to get what you need to save American lives. I want the U.S. military out of Iraq, but into Pakistan. I’m for capital punishment. I think our porous borders need to be secured before we determine how to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already within them. Sounds pretty conservative. But wait.

I think that in 2008, the GOP was wrong to adopt a party platform that maintained a strict opposition to abortion without at least carving out exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life. I was appalled that legislators tried to decide Terri Schiavo’s end-of-life plan. I don’t care if two guys hook up any more than they should care about my heterosexual lifestyle. And I still don’t know what to think about climate change.

I think President Obama is earnest, smart, and much more centrist than his tea party caricature suggests. He has never been given a fair chance to succeed by those who openly crow about their desire to see him fail (while somehow congratulating one another on their relative patriotism). I know he was born in America, isn’t a socialist, and doesn’t worship in a mosque. I get that he inherited a minefield. Still, the level of federal spending concerns me. And he never closed the deal with me that health insurance is a right, not a privilege. But I’m not folding the tent on him. Not now. Not with the nation fighting two wars while its economy still teeters on the brink of collapse.

All of which leaves me in a partisan no-man’s-land, albeit surrounded by many others, especially my neighbors. By quitting the GOP, I have actually joined the largest group of American voters. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, 39 percent of Americans identify themselves as independents — compared with 32 percent who say they are Democrats and 26 percent who are self-described members of the GOP. Nowhere is this more pronounced than locally, where a shift away from the Republican Party has taken place in the four bellwether counties surrounding Philadelphia.

I will miss casting a ballot in the spring, as current state election law prohibits unaffiliated voters from voting in GOP or Democratic primary elections. Instead, I’ll join the others who bide their time until fall, when we can temper the extremes of both parties.

My decision should not be interpreted for more than it is: a very difficult, deeply personal one. . . . I value my independence. I am not motivated by strident partisanship or ideology.”

Those are Bayh’s words, not mine. But he was speaking for both of us.

Cross-posted with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

President Barack Obama (L) speaks as he is interviewed by radio show host Michael Smerconish (R) during a live broadcast from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House August 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Other than being interviewed by Smerconish, Obama also took questions from a few call-in audience members.

President Barack Obama (L) speaks as he is interviewed by radio show host Michael Smerconish (R) during a live broadcast from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House August 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Other than being interviewed by Smerconish, Obama also took questions from a few call-in audience members.

Michael Smerconish is the Philadelphia radio market’s premier talk host who is heard daily on Infinity Radio’s 50,000-watt WPHT, found at 1210 AM. The program reaches Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Smerconish is also a frequent guest host for Bill O’Reilly on the nationally syndicated Radio Factor. For several years, Smerconish has been a popular columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. In 2003, author Bernard Goldberg re-published one of Smerconish’s Daily News columns in his book Arrogance, a follow-up to his bestseller Bias. Smerconish is a familiar face on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN where he provides commentary on current events. Contact Michael Smerconish via www.smerconish.com

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The Bidens’ Love Story: Jill & Joe Talk Policy Fights, Lunch & Political Marriages On Good Morning America


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Filed under Culture, Dr. Jill Biden, Media and Entertainment, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day, Vice-President Joe Biden

Lopez Tonight! Guest Schedule for 12/14 thru 12/17



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Monday, December 14, 2009

50 Cent
Mark Harmon

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

George Lopez Show Cast Reunion
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mariah Carey
David Beckham

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ray Romano
Lake Bell

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Funniest Clip from Last Week’s Show

George welcomed one of “The Original Kings of Comedy,” Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric chatted about watching Shaquille O’Neal try to text with “them big fingers,” old-school Christmas gifts, and his thoughts on Tiger Woods ruining it for married men who want to play golf.

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Strong Start For Lopez Tonight

Posted by Audiegrl

georgeLopezTBSWebLatina Magazine/Lee Hernandez—By George, I think he’s got it. Comedian George Lopez’s new late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight, premiered to a very healthy 3.1 million viewers Monday night on three Turner Networks: TBS, TNT and TruTV, says Variety.

1.7 million of those combined total viewers watched the show on TBS—a good thing for the show since that’s where it will air weekly at 11 p.m. But more importantly, the debut—which featured guests Eva Longoria Parker, Kobe Bryant and Carlos Santana—performed solidly among adults (1 million viewers) in the key 18-49 demographic that advertisers love. “That’s higher than the current season averages (though not the premieres) of the adult demo draws for talk shows like CBS’ Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. If you use the combined three-net number, the show was sampled by more adult demo viewers than Conan O’Brien or David Letterman’s average,” writes The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd.

In even more good news for Lopez Tonight, the show, which aired in place of TBS’s usual reruns of My Name is Earl drew 70% higher household ratings than Earl. “Viewers are ready for a change, and George Lopez is an exciting addition to late-night television,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “We are extremely proud of the success of last night’s premiere of Lopez Tonight and are confident the show will continue to be a big late-night hit.”

Lopez Tonight‘ offers surprising DNA test to Larry David

larry-davidOrlando Sentinel—TBS’ “Lopez Tonight” is billing itself as the first late-night show to offer DNA testing of its guests.

The shows promises that its Thursday episode will be different: “Larry David (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm‘) will get the surprise of his life when his true ethnicity is revealed.”

And the show hosted by George Lopez made this questionable boast: “It’s sure to be as good as an episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.‘”

Spoiler Alert: On the show last night, Larry discovered that he is 63 percent European, and 37 percent Native American.

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The Wanda Sykes Show Premiere’s Tonight

Posted by Buellboy

Wanda Sykes promises to pull no punches on new show

wanda-sykes-200x225McClatchy/Rick Bentley—Comedian Wanda Sykes says her talk-show topics will hit on everything from entertainment to politics.

Wanda Sykes has no problem speaking her mind, rattling off jokes or creating conversation.

Now, she’ll try to get others to be funny and interesting as she joins the world of late-night chatters when the weekly The Wanda Sykes Show launches at 10 p.m. Saturday on Fox.

Hosting a talk show is new for Sykes but the format is not. She got her start on HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, a talk show that had no restrictions because it aired on premium cable. The freedom was perfect for Sykes, who finds humor in everything from politics to sex — and talks about it frankly.

But even with the strict rules that come with network TV, Sykes doesn’t plan to pull any verbal punches.

I believe Fox has given us the opportunity to put it out there. I mean, that’s what they want. They booked me to be me,” Sykes says.

The network does have a safety net. Like all network talk shows, The Wanda Sykes Show will be recorded in advance. How far in advance might change depending on how much has to be bleeped. Right now, taping the show on Saturday afternoons means Sykes can be topical with her material.

Sykes, a cast member on The New Adventures of Old Christine and Curb Your Enthusiasm, wasn’t looking to host a talk show when Fox contacted her. She especially wasn’t that interested in a network job because of the potential limitations in language and topics.

The Barack Obama campaign made her change her mind.

I was like, ‘Wow, I really wish I had an outlet where I could go out there and just speak on this on a week-to-week basis and be current.’ And I thought, ‘You know what? This talk show … I can do that. I can do the things like we did on Chris Rock.’ And that seemed like what they were getting at, what they wanted. And so I’m like, ‘This is the time. This is the time to jump into it.’” Sykes says.

Executive producer Eddie Feldmann says the show will look at what has happened in the world through Sykes’ eyes.

More @ mcclatchylogo2

In an interview, Sykes explains the show’s premise to Zap2it:

wandasykes260xStoryQ: Will anything be off limits?
A: No. I told the writers as long as it’s relevant, if I can see why we are doing it, it has to be grounded in reality, let’s not be mean-spirited. I’m not going to just call somebody fat.

Q: What’s the format?
A: I am going to do a monologue. It will be the big story – whatever the hot story is everyone is talking about this week. I have a sidekick, Keith Robinson. We have been friends for over 20 years. He’s a very funny comic who opened for me on the road. The audience can see me with my real friends. He pushes my buttons.

Q: So you can riff on anything from reality shows to philandering politicians. Then what happens?
A: Then it’s just a big hodgepodge. We’re calling it “Wandarama.” That will be video clips and photos, doing all of the stories of the week, then a three-minute produced piece, a man-on-the-street or correspondent. This weekend I went to Adultcon, the convention for the porn industry, asking them to go green. What’s wrong with a solar-powered vibrator?

Q: What is your goal for the show?
A: To be funny, to have people talking about it. Do people still say “water cooler”? I would love water cooler. Of course, now you just go online. I would love it to be a show people are looking forward to and say, “I can’t wait for next Saturday.”

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Media Matters: Fox News Has Been Attacking the Obama White House Since January 20th

media matters logolargeMedia Matters—Following Anita Dunn’s description of Fox News as an “arm” of the Republican Party, Fox News personalities have suggested or claimed that the White House declared “war” on the network. In response, Media Matters for America has released a video showing the factually inaccurate smears, blatant political organizing, and explicit lobbying that Fox News has engaged in. Many of these activities have been occurring since January 20 and have only increased in frequency as time has passed.

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Rachel Maddow Sets the Record Straight on Fox News

Posted by Audiegrl

rachel maddowbuttons211x320Last night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow was joined by her MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann to set the record straight on White House criticism of Fox News and the dishonest campaign Fox has launched to dispute those claims.

Using both photographs and video as evidence, Maddow examines the way Fox functioned as a right-arm of the Bush Administration & the Republican Party, who at the same time, excluding journalists and media outlets that were perceived by the White House as being left-wing.

She points out that the big difference between this administration and the last one, is that President Obama’s White House has also met with conservative columnists and journalists as well as progressive outlets. President Bush, on the other hand, froze out The New York Times for all eight years of his administration, never once giving them an interview. Going as far as being caught on a hot mic during his 2000 campaign saying:

    There’s Adam Clymer — major league a$$hole — from the New York Times,” Bush said.

    Yeah, big time,” returned Cheney.


President Bush also froze out MSNBC toward the end of his last term, which WH Press Secretary Dana Perrino readily admits on a Fox interview.

Hannity's faux sign

Hannity's faux sign

So essentially, the purpose of all the faux outrage from Faux News is to obfuscate the simple and widely accepted fact that even their ‘straight news‘ shows are done with a biased political agenda in mind. President Bush 41, being interviewed regarding the lack of civility in politics, decided to prove he agrees with his son on progressive pundits, by calling Maddow and Olbermann ‘sick puppies‘. With all due respect, Sir, you are not helping things.

What I’d really like to know is how can we get some of that famous peach cobbler Rachel and Keith talked about? Bloggers need love too. 😉

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