Monday, August 22, 2016

Charlie Sykes' War on His Conservative Audience

Call it the tipping point or the straw that broke the camel's back.

Whatever you want to call it, I'm there regarding Charlie Sykes.

I've had enough of the hateful rhetoric he's directed at some conservatives for months and months, more like a year. He has mercilessly mocked and belittled Trump supporters, "Trumpkins."

Since his radio interview last March with Donald Trump before the Wisconsin primary, Sykes has given himself fully to the Never Trump movement.

That interview gave Sykes national attention that morphed into a gig with Democrat bastion MSNBC. He became the go-to guy for the likes of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell to assist in their gross mischaracterization of conservatives and their pro-Hillary efforts.

It's been disturbing to see that Sykes was comfortable playing that role. It's also disturbing that apparently, according to Sykes, he's being bombarded with angry, vulgar emails from his audience, vowing to stop listening to his program.

It's a mess, with many behaving badly.

Sykes claims to be taking the high road, insisting that he's sticking to his principles with his anti-Trump crusade. He doesn't see the hypocrisy involved when he complains about the inappropriate treatment he's receiving while he heaps mounds of ridicule on Trump supporters. Sykes is very vocal when it comes to criticizing Trump for saying rude things but he doesn't seem to realize that he's being equally offensive and abrasive and crass.

The proverbial last straw with Sykes was put in place when I read the Politico piece by Erick Trickey, "Charlie Sykes' Air War - How one of the most influential #NeverTrumpers is battling his party's nominee and questioning some long-held beliefs."

There are quotes from Sykes in the article that I hope he regrets.

“When I would deny that there was a significant racist component in some of the politics on our side, it was because the people I hung out with were certainly not,” Sykes says. “When suddenly, this rock is turned over, there is this—‘Oh shit, did I not see that?’

“I kind of had that reaction this morning, with that woman [caller referring to terrorism carried out by Muslims]: Did we ignore this? There’s got to be some serious introspection, because of the things that we either didn’t see, or that we ignored, or that we enabled.”

So now Sykes thinks there's a "significant racist component" among conservatives.


That's as insulting as it is wrong.

Is Sykes blind to the "significant racist component in some of the politics" on the Left?

He's certainly not interested in discussing that on MSNBC or with Politico.

Some serious introspection is in order, on Sykes' part.

It's particularly annoying that Leftists really like the way Sykes has turned on his listeners.

[H]e’s wrestling with his listeners, from whom he is feeling increasingly estranged.

“I am dealing with the daily flood of emails on how we’re never going to listen to you anymore,” Sykes says. Longtime listeners write him to say conservative talk radio should criticize Hillary Clinton and not Trump.

“If I lose listeners, that’s a price I’ve just got to pay,” he says. He’d rather say what he really thinks than fall in line with other broadcasters’ embrace of Trump. “I feel dumber every time I listen to Sean Hannity. I don’t want to be that guy.”

I don't think Sykes realizes that he's alienating listeners in the middle, those of us reluctantly backing Trump because President Hillary is unthinkable. In the crowded Republican primary field, Trump was at the rock bottom of my list. But lower than Trump is Hillary.

I don't think he cares about conservative principles. No conservative could ever be content with the idea of Hillary in the White House.

We're not bad because, given the choices we have, we're willing to vote for Trump.

The stuff Sykes says here and what he's said elsewhere about Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, and Reince Priebus is not good at all. Sykes takes a holier-than-thou stance that, quite frankly, is nauseating.
“Walker and Ryan have no illusions whatsoever about who Donald Trump is,” Sykes insists with the authority of a confidant. “They could have a conversation for an hour and a half with me, and everything [I] say about Donald Trump, there would be no disagreement. It’s just, at the end of the conversation, they would say, ‘Yes, but we can’t elect Hillary Clinton.’ I would say, ‘I can’t bring myself to vote for Donald Trump. I think he’s unfit to be president.’”

Sykes sympathizes with Ryan's and Walker’s political quandary, but he’s unsparing in his critique of Reince Priebus, who, as the state GOP chairman, boosted Ryan and Walker’s careers before he ascended to the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. After Priebus declared Trump the presumptive GOP nominee, Sykes stopped talking to him for a couple of months.

“I just didn’t want to hear about the Kool-Aid,” Sykes says after a long sigh. “Reince is a friend. Reince has no illusions about Donald Trump, but made this decision not just to support him, but to go all in. It was painful watching somebody who I knew knew better. That’s why I describe him as a tragic figure.”
Sykes is being completely unrealistic.

Trump was elected. He's the Republican nominee. It is unreasonable to expect Walker and Ryan and Priebus to turn their backs on the Republican nominee.

Of course, Priebus should support Trump. That's not tragic. It's his job.

Perhaps the worst part of the article is when Sykes says Hillary is better than Trump.

This does not mean he can contemplate voting for Trump’s opponent. (When pressed, he says he’s willing to consider voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson.) “Hillary is awful and potentially corrupt within historically understandable parameters,” says Sykes. He holds his hands about a foot and a half apart. “She’s awful like that.”

Then Sykes throws his arms out wide. “Trump is potentially awful at this level,” he says.

In Sykes’ eyes, Trump is “a serial liar, a con man, a fraudster, a narcissist and authoritarian.” Clinton, meanwhile, is “a welfare-state liberal Democrat” and “big government” supporter with her own character problems.

“In any other scenario, Hillary Clinton’s lying about her emails, and her pay-for-play relationship with the Clinton Foundation would be disqualifying issues,” he argues. “The only reason they’re not disqualifying is because Donald Trump is a fundamentally more repellent, dishonest figure.”
Hillary lied to the families of Americans killed in Benghazi.

She's a crook. She's dishonest - the private server, the deleted emails, the lies upon lies.

She is a serial liar.

Any reasonable, relatively intelligent person knows that Trump is not fundamentally a "more repellent, dishonest figure" compared to Hillary.

Speaking of narcissists, perhaps Sykes needs to consider what truly motivates him and fuels his Never Trump crusade.

The Politico piece ends with Sykes considering the likelihood that his listeners are racists and he's previously been blinded to that fact.
A week earlier, Sykes had said Milwaukee’s racial divisions would also be a part of his coming reevaluation of the conservative movement. He’s thinking again about a 2014 New Republic piece that depicted Scott Walker’s political base in the Milwaukee suburbs as a hostile racial environment and argued that conservative talk radio hosts such as Sykes play a role. Sykes calls the piece “ridiculous,” “tremendously overblown” and a “really, really negative hit job.” But he says he’s going to grapple with it when he writes his next book.

“I’m going to reread it and go, ‘OK, as much as I really seriously hated this story’—this is the nagging thing in the back of your head—‘Is there some grain of truth in the criticism that I spent 20 years denying?’”
This is too much. It's really unconscionable.

The Walker political base in the Milwaukee suburbs is a hostile racial environment in Sykes' new world?

Perhaps Bill Penzey will ask Sykes to do a column for his next spices catalogue.

I don't get why Sykes doesn't realize all the positive feedback he's getting from the Leftists is not a good thing. Instead of reading it as a warning, he's allowing himself to be swallowed up by them with no concern for when the time comes that they will spit him out. And that time is coming.

The most troubling part of the Sykes Never Trump sideshow is the way he has turned on his audience and the terrible things he's saying about his listeners.

No, I take that back. The most troubling part is that he doesn't care that he's undermining Ron Johnson's reelection chances and aiding the extremist, radical Russ Feingold campaign. Sykes is actively working to doom Republican candidates.

No, that's not the most troubling part. I think it's that he considers Hillary, with her extreme Leftist agenda including her war on the unborn, a better candidate than Trump.

Bottom line: I've had enough of Sykes' sanctimonious crap. I've had enough of his insults. I've had enough.

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