KNUS’ Kelley has moved to the right, but he still asks decent questions in interviews

Sometimes KNUS’ Steve Kelley seems embarrassed by his own morning rants and rages against Obama and the nasty Democrats. The other day he asked, “Do you really want to hear a rant from middle-aged white guy?”

Kelley’s current behavior looks different from what you heard during of his 19 career at KOA, where he at least acted like he didn’t have the answers.

But Kelley’s more level-headed roots return when he conducts interviews, which usually feature straight-forward questions you’d want, but don’t expect, from someone seated behind a microphone.

This morning, for example, during his Kelley and Company show, he asked Rep. Cory Gardner this really good question:

Kelley: Why do you guys [Republicans] seem to be losing the PR battle [on the fiscal cliff]? I mean, it’s so easy to blame a Republican, but it seems to stick to you?

Gardner: Well, you know, it’s tough. We’ve got to do a better job of messaging and explaining to people who are in the middle class, people who are lower income earners, that people who will be affected by this tax increase are people like you, people who are working hard to make ends meet, people who are struggling to pay the mortgage, because their business are going to be hard hit. That’s going to result in lower take home pay because the businesses they work with are suffering and struggling to bear the burden of the tax increases. That’s the bottom line and so the President controls the bully pulpit, regardless of who it is in the White House, whether it is a Democrat or a Republican. They have a tremendous opportunity to shape the outlines of the message.

Listen to audio of Rep. Gardner talking fiscal cliff on Denver radio station KNUS 710 AM on 12-11-12

Kelley was on the right track, but to get to the heart of the GOP’s fiscal-cliff problem, Kelley should have contrasted Gardner’s head-spinning response with Obama’s crisp lines on the topic, which he delivered at a rally Monday:

Obama: “We can solve this problem. All Congress needs to do is pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income,” he said. “When you put it all together, what you need is a package that keeps taxes where they are for middle class families, we make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need, and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate.”

In another question, which Kelley didn’t acknowledge actually related to his previous question about the GOP’s PR problem, Kelley asked Gardner whether he’d compromise on a tax increase:

Gardner: “We cannot agree to a tax increase. That is not the solution. That is not going to solve our $16 trillion debt. That’s what I am urging our leaders, Speaker Boehner and others, to make sure they are adhering to…I think he knows that the [Republican] conference does not support a tax increase, that there is no will to increase taxes amongst the Republican Party and the House majority.”

That’s obviously part of the Republican PR problem on the fiscal cliff, but Kelley didn’t get into the fundamentals. Maybe he thinks it would be bad PR.

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