Broadcast Stews

Remembering Those Wonderful Few Weeks On The National Affairs Desk.

By Tom Danehy

JUST LIKE THAT my radio career has come to an abrupt end. It really wasn't a career, exactly; that would require work. But I did get to have fun and ridicule people from a distance.

I'm going to miss that one hour each week. I had strong ties to the regular listeners. There was Phil, the Libertarian gun-nut conspiracy theorist. And Luis, who knew every movie that Katy Jurado ever appeared in. And finally, there was Ken, my very own Canadian stalker.

Danehy You know what a Canadian stalker does? He follows you around and talks about the benefits of socialized medicine. Actually, he talks to you uh-boot socialized medicine.

I had been doing the Monday show with my friend, the former Brown Shirt (but never Brown Noser) Emil Franzi. Emil got the gig when local talk-show god John C. Scott decided to run for the state Legislature. Every Monday, Emil would take over the show while Scott did political stuff, which usually amounted to taking prospective constituents out to lunch with free coupons from Mama Louisa's. If only the campaign had lasted another 12,473 weeks. He could have taken everyone out to eat and won unanimously.

It was going to be a permanent thing for Emil had Scott been elected. Alas, he ran third in a three-man race which had two winners. I'm really surprised Scott lost. Schottel's a weenie and no one has ever heard of Huffman. I smell a conspiracy here; I should ask Phil.

Actually, I live in that district and I think I know what the problem was. John C. had these cool-looking, wrapped-in-the-flag placards and billboards. But there was one problem: He went with his real name, John C. Scott Ulm. That Ulm stuff is death.

Just say it out loud. Ulm. It gives you that feeling in the back of your throat like the time your mother made you eat liver.

John, Boobie, next time go with John C. Scott. It's your professional name; it's how people know you. Heck, when Sonny Bono began his meteoric rise in politics, he went with "Sonny," not his real name of Giuseppe or Clyde or whatever his name was.

Of course, Bono also had a meteoric descent, but we won't go into that.

Anyway, the Monday after the election, I'm driving around town, running errands, and I tune in to Scott's show. The Starr Report had been oozed to the press a couple days earlier and there was quasi-political electricity in the air. This should be a good day for talk radio! Or so I thought.

Let me interject here that I'm a lifelong Democrat who voted for Bill Clinton twice. As a Democrat, a husband and father, and a Catholic--which is sort of a Christian--I'm very, very disappointed in what he did. I think he should be ashamed of himself.

At the same time, I don't think what he did is impeachable, even if he lied to a grand jury. They need to save impeachment for serious stuff. Heck, they all lie; that doesn't make it right, but it does make it expected. Alas, lying is part of the process.

And if you don't agree with that, I have a little test. Go back and name the worst president of your lifetime. More than half will probably say Jimmy Carter, even though he's far and away the most decent and honest man to have occupied the Oval Office in the past 70 years. Heck, maybe ever. Honesty doesn't always make for a good president. And conversely...

Anyway, that Monday, the nutbirds were in full flight. I really didn't learn much that day, except that there are a limited number of ways that you can arrange the words "scum," "sleaze" and "bag."

One woman called and said it's a scary time in America. "People are afraid to speak out." Where the hell have you been, lady? Absolutely no one is afraid to speak out. On virtually any subject. Our problem is that people won't shut up.

Another woman: "After he's impeached and out of office..." Will someone--anyone!--take the time to explain to these simpletons that "impeached" does not mean removed from office? It's embarrassing that what passes for political discourse is at a third-grade level.

I just want to know where all these outraged patriots were when Ronald Reagan and Oliver North were shredding the Constitution and using it for toilet paper. Or, in Reagan's case, Depends.

Back when I was an altar boy, I heard a great story from my parish priest. For those who don't know (and that apparently includes most Catholics), the term Immaculate Conception refers to the Virgin Mary, not Jesus Christ. It was Mary who was born without sin. So this priest told me a story to help me remember that.

Jesus and Mary were going into a small town when they saw an angry crowd about to stone a sinner. Jesus raised his hand and said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

So Mary jumped down off the donkey and started throwing rocks.

And Jesus turned around and said, "Y'know, Mom, sometimes you really piss me off."

(I told you a Catholic is sort of a Christian.)

We've all sinned, and I get the feeling the power-hungry politicians in Congress have sinned more than most, especially in the sex area, which seems to go hand-in-hand with power.

Just last week, we learned that Henry Hyde had a five-year affair with a married woman 30 years ago. That just shows that back in the '60s, everybody had a chance to have sex. I'm betting that Hyde's won't be the last name to surface in this sex mess.

The Republicans are threatening to have the FBI investigate whether the White House had anything to do with Dan Burton and Hyde being outed as hypocrites. Wait a minute! You're trying to kick this dude out of office for having had an affair and lying about it? If you're going to call this guy a snake, you'd better make sure your back doesn't have scaly skin. TW

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