About ten years ago, I was a regular listener to California-based conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, regarding him as a far less obnoxious version of the Limaughs and Hannitys that dominated the AM airwaves. Hewitt’s program aired on a tiny station called WTTT in Boston, which went on to become a Spanish-gospel station in the late-2000s.
One of Hewitt’s sidekicks was a fellow by the name of Guy Benson, a twenty-something contributor to Townhall.com who was attuned to the popular culture but who didn’t want to pay any taxes whatsoever, thus making him a typical young Republican. Benson was supposed to be Ed McMahon to Hewitt’s Johnny Carson; he certainly didn’t echo Hewitt’s occasional culture-war rhetoric, but on national-defense and economic issues, Benson was Hewitt’s clone.
I stopped listening to Hewitt after his obnoxious and dismissive treatment of David Frum over a column the latter wrote about the infamous NY-23 special election in 2009; as the interview went on, it appeared that Hewitt still hadn’t gotten over Frum’s criticism of Rush Limbaugh in Newsweek earlier that year–and largely forgot about both Hewitt and Benson. When I heard the recent news about Benson coming out as gay, and fellow conservatives not liking it, I wondered how many seconds it would take before he was effectively driven out of the conservative movement.
Having heard Benson all those years ago, I’m not surprised in the least that he would want to stick with a homophobic movement and party out of a desire to get another tax cut. Having said that, let me give him a tiny bit of credit for acknowledging (in his May 4 appearance on Fox’s The Kelly File, posted above) the role that progressives played in securing LGBT rights and effectively giving him the freedom to be a gay conservative Republican. That’s more than you can say for Sean Buckley.
It will be quite interesting to see if the wingnut backlash towards Benson intensifies. Will Benson soon realize, as David Brock did years ago, that right-wingers aren’t really his friends? Or will be wind up becoming a gay Thomas Sowell?