Improving talk radio and mustering an army (Part 1)

The threat of the re-imposition of what is called the “Fairness Doctrine” is real, and the Democrats running the federal government must be fought all the way on this issue. In addition to that important struggle, however, I’d like to suggest that the political right must not only fight to keep conservative talk radio but to improve it as well.

Why do we need to improve conservative talk radio when we have such a terrific array of smart voices out there performing a valuable public service? These voices are entertaining, interesting, informative, and act as a powerful (albeit partial) check on the often out-of-control mainstream media.

What then is the problem? What needs to be improved? It’s obvious from recent election cycles that talk radio is not reaching enough people. That’s not the fault of this important industry or the people in it. Unfortunately, there just never will be enough people tuning into Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or the many other successful communicators found along the radio dial.

But those men and women can extend their reach by applying as much passion to encouraging political action from their listeners as they do in putting together quality shows.

If they were to do this, we could start to put this nation back on the right road in relatively short order.

Let’s state the problem in plain language: platform supporting Republicans are still not reaching enough voters with a winning message.

We don’t lack for good ideas – the political right has the market cornered when it comes to think tanks and research institutions. What we lack is strong principled leadership backed up by an informed electorate. We’ll never see more strong principled leaders or a more informed electorate without more Americans stepping up to actively engage in the political process.

The challenge ahead is to build a principle-based Republican Party at all levels. We need a troop surge of people to help carry to their communities and neighborhood streets the message of the need to restore and preserve limited government and traditional values.

Again, talk radio is great – but there is no arguing the results of recent election cycles. George Bush barely won the White House in 2000 and 2004. While Republicans held power, they failed to reach enough people and move public opinion in support of policy reforms and so were tossed from both political branches in 2006 and 2008.

Surely if talk radio was the answer to the nation’s problems, conservative principles as outlined in the Republican Party’s platform would by now have been enacted in enough cases so a majority of Americans would be supporting “real change” (as Newt Gingrich calls it).

Talk radio alone cannot overcome all the resources of the political left: the mainstream media, the K-12 public schools, liberal university professors, radical interest groups, and pop culture. It’s going to require efforts on all these fronts, including the through the Internet, and where possible, the main stream press and pop culture.

Between the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the members of the State Policy Network, those who agree in part or entirely with GOP platform principles continue to provide an abundance of materials when it comes to research, commentary, and excellent policy ideas. But how many Americans ever read anything published by them? In addition, there are so many excellent conservative commentators writing and talking it’s impossible to keep count. Who can keep up with everything that’s posted on just Townhall.com?

All that good news, however, is weighed down by the bad. All those things I just mentioned constitute what amounts to an air force. What we haven’t seen are ground troops able to match the Obama political machine.

Up next: The Obama political machine is not fooling around.

©2009 John Francis Biver