Here’s a little history for you. On Election Night in November 2000, I was working as a poll watcher in East Windsor, New Jersey. I was living in Hightstown at the time, but East Windsor was where I voted. After the polls closed, I observed while the count was taken from each machine and then tallied up. Once I had the numbers, I called them in to a number I had been assigned, and then I left to go home.
When I got in the car, there was some great news. Al Gore was projected to be the winner. The polls had closed in most of Florida, but they were still open in the heavily Republican Panhandle that borders Alabama. There wasn’t much political news back then on the radio. I didn’t have the POTUS channel on Sirius. So, I tuned to WABC out of New York City which was carrying The Sean Hannity Show.
I had actually been listening to Hannity for a couple of months on my way home from work because it was the only program on my radio discussing the election at that time of day. I’d grown to loath the man, but I needed my political fix.
I had been disturbed enough by the whole impeachment fiasco to get involved in politics for the first time. Initially, I worked tirelessly as a volunteer for Bill Bradley, but when he lost I focused on things like becoming a poll watcher and trying to help beat Rep. Chris Smith who was my congressman. I had learned from the Republican Mercer County Executive (his wife was my secretary) that Chris Smith was so opposed to abortion that he wouldn’t set foot on any part of the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton because they had an department of obstetrics.
In any case, my nut-job congressman aside, when I turned on my radio, Sean Hannity was apoplectic. He was screaming from his studio in New York at every resident of the Florida panhandle, imploring them to get off their butts and go vote because it looked like Gore was winning the Sunshine State and was going to become the next president. He was beside himself with terror.
We all know what happened next. The first results showed Bush ahead, Gore called to concede, then called back to unconcede, and the country and the world took a ruinous path.
Somewhere in my head, I was always tempted to credit/blame Hannity’s last ditch desperate pleas on the radio that evening for ripping a hole in the fabric of history and setting us on this disastrous course.
I mention all this, because Hannity is growing similarly apoplectic.
The conservative pundit told listeners of his talk radio show on Wednesday that he was “sick and tired” of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others who condemned Trump’s controversial criticism of the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier.
“If in 96 days Trump loses this election, I am pointing the finger directly at people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and John McCain,” Hannity said. “I have watched these Republicans be more harsh toward Donald Trump than they’ve ever been in standing up to Barack Obama and his radical agenda.
“They did nothing, nothing — all these phony votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, show votes so they can go back and keep their power and get reelected,” Hannity continued. “Sorry, you created Donald Trump, all of you. Because of your ineffectiveness, because of your weakness, your spinelessness, your lack of vision, your inability to fight Obama.”
He added: “I’m getting a little sick and tired of all of you. I am, honestly, I am tempted to just say I don’t support any of you people ever.”
I won’t blame those folks for Trump losing, but I agree with most of the rest of what Hannity has to say about them. The only thing I really disagree with is the idea that they didn’t fight Obama. They did what Hannity asked even when it was clearly a suicide mission. They went right along with Hannity’s Gallipoli Campaign against a far smarter adversary in the president. Sometimes they grumbled that sending waves of riflemen against machine guns and artillery fire wasn’t going to be effective, but they were told that they lacked vision and spine and not to demonstrate weakness or compromise.
I don’t know what’s going to be left of the Republican party by mid-November. Hannity doesn’t seem to have effective plan for that either.