Republican radio

By ADAM REILLY  |  October 30, 2006

Several women who say they’ve been victims of violence call during the duration of the show. When they agree with DePetro, he’s kind and solicitous; when they disagree, he’s harsh and dismissive. One says she was molested by her father but could still say nice things about him. “You’re sick!” DePetro shouts.

Another, who says she works at a rape crisis center, complains that Healey’s ad ignores the fact that most rapes aren’t perpetrated by strangers. “All rapes are violent and all rapes are brutal,” she adds. “I disagree,” DePetro says, but doesn’t elaborate.

Howie Carr, 3 pm–7 pm
Pro-Healey talking point: Patrick is anti-white

While not quite as enthusiastic as DePetro, Carr digs the Healey ad too, calling it “as tough an ad as you’re ever going to see” and “a home run.” Compared with Miller and DePetro, though, Carr has trouble staying on message. You get the feeling there’s other stuff he’d much rather talk about. Homosexuality, for example. Carr notes (twice) that Ben LaGuer’s victim was “sodomized.” He reminds listeners that former state senator Cheryl Jacques, a Patrick supporter, is “quote-unquote married to one of her former aides.” And he shows a keen interest in the sexual proclivities of newly resigned Republican congressman Mark Foley and recently deceased Democratic Congressman Gerry Studds (who, Carr notes, actually “buggered” a teenage page instead of just contacting him surreptitiously).

When Carr isn’t distracted by gays or illegal immigrants or hackery, though, he really delivers the goods. About an hour into the show, a woman who seems to be pro-Healey wonders if the LG is overdoing the public-safety stuff. Carr promises her that more anti-Patrick twists are forthcoming, but adds a caveat: the Healey camp won’t be mentioning Patrick’s support of a controversial affirmative-action decision in Piscataway, New Jersey, Carr says, because they think it’s too divisive.

Of course, by bringing up Piscataway, Carr is doing Healey’s work below the radar. A few minutes later, he returns to the subject when Karen from Springfield — a self-described Democrat and public-school teacher — defends her union’s support of Patrick. “I just told you, Karen, how’d you like it if you were fired for a black woman?” Carr says. “You think a guy who wants to fire somebody because they’re white is on your side?”

Because of Carr’s undeniable smarts and talent — he won a National Magazine Award with Boston magazine — liberals who’ve been around for a long time tend to give him a pass on the nastier elements of his shtick. Don’t take that stuff too seriously, the argument goes. That’s just Howie, playing to his audience. Maybe. Still, even if Carr is just performing when he spits out “civil rights” like it’s a dirty phrase (Patrick was a “quote-unquote civil-rights attorney for the NAACP”; “quote-unquote civil-rights leaders” sided with Patrick in the Piscataway case), his listeners are another story. Beyond hinting that Patrick’s civil-rights background is worthless, these verbal air quotes rewrite American history and fan racist sentiment. If Carr doesn’t believe this stuff, it’s almost worse.

Friday, October 20
Scott Allen Miller, 6 am–9 am
Pro-Healey talking points: Patrick is getting angry; the media’s screwing Healey

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Related: Debating pointers, Christy’s choice, Daisy, Horton, ¡Peligro!, More more >
  Topics: Talking Politics , Deval Patrick, David Gergen, Gerry Studds,  More more >
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