I wrote earlier this week about how hard it will be for conservative talk-radio hosts to modify their views, even if pressured by more moderate GOP factions to do so. Here’s an example of how this looks on the air:
About a month and a half before the election, on KFKA’s morning radio show, hosts Devon Lentz and Tom Lucero, who are prominent Larimer County Republicans, were more than happy to plug Dennis Lynch’s underground film, arguing, as Lynch put it, that people aren’t crossing the U.S.-Mexico border just “to cut your lawn” but “to cut your throats.”
The tone of the Greeley radio show changed last week when Lentz and Lucero talked to Michael Barrera of the conservative Libre Initiative, which is advocating that Republicans be nicer to Hispanics.
Barrera complained to the talk-show hosts about the nastiness of some Republicans when it comes to immigration:
Barrera: Some of the rhetoric that’s coming from some of the folks on this issue has been pretty bad. Like, you had a guy – a state legislator out of Kansas that came out and said, “We ought to shoot these illegal immigrants like pigs off a helicopter.” That’s horrible!
I would have asked if the “cut-your-throats” comment and Lynch’s fear-mongering movie, which had been so warmly received by the talk show hosts, was in the same ballpark, but who am I?
Barrera: The only thing that [Hispanic voters] did hear, you know, from candidate Romney, who I think is a good man, but you know, mainly his words regarding immigration that they remember were “self-deportation”. They saw him embrace Arpaio [Barrera pronounces it “Air-A-PEE-O] out of Arizona. They saw him embrace Kolbeck out of Arizona. [He] embraced Arizona law which many Hispanics felt was a bad law for immigration. So, they saw him embrace all these things, rather than embrace something like the DREAM Act. When that came up he actually attacked other candidates for supporting the DREAM Act. And even when Rubio tried to come up with his own act, again, he didn’t embrace that, he embraced these other [inaudible]. And so this is what they saw, this is what they remember. And when you feel like you’re not being — you feel like you’re dealing with a candidate you can’t trust, or a candidate doesn’t care about you, you’re not going to vote for him.
Lentz did not say she gets mad when she sees all the Spanish words in the packaging department at Wal-Mart. That’s what she said when Lynch was on the show before the election.
But she asked a good question, saying she thought jobs and the economy were the top issues for Hispanics, not immigration.
Lentz: … in my mind, it’s not just the DREAM Act, it’s continuing to let anybody come into our country that’s going to affect our jobs and our economy because it’s more people we need to supply jobs to and it’s a bigger drain on our entitlement programs, in some cases. How do you make that balance and how do the Republicans back up and say, ‘Are jobs the most important thing to you, because if we don’t have jobs, we don’t have jobs for anybody.’
Barrera said Republicans have to get the “immigration issue behind us,” but his amorphous suggestion of allowing undocumented immigrants to work here legally, as long as they aren’t criminals, didn’t seem to grab Lucero or Lentz.
They didn’t say, “That was phenomenal,” as Lucero had told Lynch when he was fear-mongering about undocumented immigrants just a few weeks back.
And that’s the problem Republicans will have going forward with talk-radio hosts and the GOP base that listens to them.
The problem will be exacerbated by people like Tom Tancredo, who’s a star guest on many Colorado talk shows where he loves to say stuff like:
“We can’t let those who actually believe the answer is comprehensive immigration reform…aka massive amnesty…take us back down that path again. We must stop them cold, as we did before–because we know that will be the end of the line for America,” Tancredo emailed his supporters Nov. 16, as reported by Fox 31’s Eli Stokols.
Tancredo, you recall, was a talk-radio host in Colorado Springs for a long stint after he ran for President, on an anti-immigration platform, and he still loves to make the talk-radio rounds–or any rounds where a microphone is present.
But even if Tancredo disappears, whose ideas do you think are more likely to win over the talk-radio hosts and audience, Barrera’s? Or Tancredo’s?