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April 20, 2016

Cruz: Some Talk Show Hosts Have Chosen to Go "In the Tank for Trump"

At Hot Air. He mentions this at about 10:10 in the below-linked video.

One aspect of our increasingly Roman culture is the importance of tribunes of the plebians in our social order. The word "tribune" derives, simply enough, from "tribes," and a tribune was the representative of a tribe in military, religious, political and cultural affairs.

As more power has moved away from the people to the Imperial capital in Washington, an informal power structure of tribunes of the people (or plebians) has risen up in reaction to it -- major representatives of the tribes on talk radio, or from advocacy groups, etc.

I have no problem with this system, except for two:

1. I'd like to see the cause of it, the centralization of power among a particular class located in three key imperial cities, demolished, razed, and salted so that no green thing ever grows there again.

2. This system has caused what I see as a dysfunctional and dumb (and very Roman) over-identification of people with their tribunes, the media-connected warchiefs of the tribe.

As to 2, I know there is a general distress and anger when certain tribunes (such as the top tribune, Rush Limbaugh, or another newer tribune, Sarah Palin) are so much as criticized. Or, lately, Trump, a tribune seeking to become consul.

One cannot, it seems, so much as make a single criticism of the claims made by these tribunes without giving significant personal offense to the tribe they speak for.

O'Reilly and Hannity do not seem to have actual tribune status, as I've never really seen anyone object to any criticism of them. Criticism of them seems pretty rampant.

But I imagine someone out there must consider them their tribunes, or else their ratings wouldn't be so high.

And they certainly consider themselves to be tribunes of the people (even if not so many people actually agree with that.)

So these comments by Cruz, pointing out simple reality -- yes, Sean Hannity, you are in the tank for Trump; this is as unobjectionable and as uncontroversially true as stating "you host a radio show" -- will result in angry denunciations by the Tribunes, who must, after all, protect their dignities and positions as tribunes.

Especially because this is an unofficial position -- unofficial positions are lost when people simply agree to no longer acknowledge that someone should have that unofficial position.

This leads to a common and serious defect in the debate had on the right, where things tend to be overpersonalized and involve the defense not of ideas, but of particular people -- the tribunes themselves. It is difficult to criticize Trump without people becoming pretty certain that you are "disrespecting" them for finding personal fault with him. (And my criticism of him tends to be pretty personal -- I support some of his program (to the extent he has one) and on some of the stuff I don't support, like his protectionist impulses, I also don't strenuously object.)

But we're now in for three or four Hot Radio Talk Show days of the various Personalities and their Supporters doing a lot of shouting in defense of themselves, as people, and championing themselves, as personalities, instead of discussing the actual ideas that we anachronistically continue to pretend still matter.

Hannity is in the tank for Trump. Period. I don't really know about O'Reilly but only because I don't watch him.

But I'm sure his stupid Talking Points Memo will be All About Bill O'Reilly and how he's nothing but "facts" and "objective an-al-y-sis, objective an-al-y-sis." ("Facts" are opinions Bill O'Reilly agrees with, and "objective an-al-y-sis" is what O'Reilly does almost uniquely in the world -- he's not like the "conservative talkers" and "partisan" on the radio or the "smear merchants" at MSNBC.)

The O'Reilly Factor, I'm sure he will pontinficate tonight, is all about two things: providing a No Spin Zone for you, The Folks (of the tribe), and plenty of Factor Gear.

It should not be a highly charged, emotional dispute to discuss things that are obviously true.

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posted by Ace at 06:26 PM

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