Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Town Republicans Invite Right-Wing Bloviator to Host Fundraiser

NEWS/COMMENTARY by Ed McKeon

On Monday morning, WTIC-AM conservative talk show host declared that President Barack Obama has a "warped view of America," and in a conversation with Libertarian Presidential Candidate and "author" Wayne Allen Root, Vicevich agreed that Obama's speech to school children probably was designed, originally, to be "indoctrination." In the course of the same morning, Vicevich bashed the President, the President's policy in Afghanistan, the Department of Education, national news sources, universal health care, teachers unions, unions in general and, not-surprisingly, as he and his fellow conservatives call it, the "Democrat Party."

Just a typical weekday morning for a right-wing talk show host who gives himself the label of "libertarian" and uses a variety of familiar tactics to fan the conservative flames for an adoring audience, which evidenced by calls to his show, seem to share his outrage with the supposed impending flood of "socialist" reform proposed by Obama and the Democrats.

So, it's with some surprise that the Republican Party in Middletown, which practices very progressive politics on the local level, and has found support among the city's liberal thinkers, would choose the inflammatory Vicevich as an guest of honor and speaker for it's fundraiser for the mayor and Common Council candidates at First and Last Restaurant Thursday.

Republican town chairman David Bauer has already declared that he will not attend.

"I like to keep it simple," Bauer said. "He's a bully, and I won' t be in town for the meeting. I can choose what I listen to, and Jim Vicevich doesn't make the cut."

Bauer is one of the candidates for Common Council which the fundraiser purports to support.

"I'm always interested in what he has to say," Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said of Vicevich Monday. Though Giuliano added that some of the things Vicevich says are "out of whack."

On his radio show, Vicevich himself disavows the idea that Barack Obama is a racist or a Nazi, though he regularly allows callers to make the case, and then offers a weak rebuttal. He has called Obama's policy "socialist," and has encouraged listeners to join the ranks of those disrupting town hall meetings on health care, and often refers to Barack Obama in the diminutive as "the young president," an insult used among conservative commentators that some feel is the equivalent of calling him "boy." Vicevich regularly and repeatedly (sometimes six, eight, ten times per show, and then another half dozen times the next day) plays bits of speeches by Democratic speakers out of context, and repeatedly plays old film soundtracks which portray Democrats as inhuman, and "zombies," but portrays himself as unbiased.

When asked if he agreed with Vicevich and thought President Barack Obama had socialistic tendencies, Mayor Giuliano said, "I think he displays a few. Is there anything scarier than the federal government taking over more of these important things?"

"The government as a whole seems to be overstepping its bounds," Giuliano added. "Even on a local level we shouldn't take everything over. We can't be everything to everybody."

Democratic council members did not seem alarmed that the Republican candidates were inviting an extremist to their function.

"We've had Ned Lamont," Gerry Daley said. "And this Wednesday I think most of the Democratic candidates for governor will be visiting a fundraiser."

Vicevich is part of a nearly exclusively all-conservative lineup on WTIC-AM, the state's most powerful AM radio station which jettisoned any pretense of balance when if fired Diane Smith, Colin McEnroe and Stan Simpson earlier this year.

30 comments:

RICK said...

Vicevich is nothing more than Limbaugh-lite. He is one of a growing number on untalented radio "personalities" who struck it rich mining the depths of American ignorance (Glenn Beck,erstwhile KC101 d.j., and Lou Dobbs come to mind). They flood the airwaves with lies, gossip, innuendo and opinion and present it as fact.Judging by the comments of these flatulating gasbags and their audiences, they wouldn't know a commie, pinko, socialist,nazi etc,even if one were to bite them on the rear end.

James Streeto said...

Funny, I thought the Republican party was united around a platform and series of policies, and that

"Should a member, in all good conscience, find that they frequently favor the policy positions of the opposing party, he or she should resign their position recognizing they no longer represent the sentiments of the party that nominated them."

http://middletowneyenews.blogspot.com/2009/07/discord-at-republican-town-convention.html

Come over to the dark side David! We have cookies.... (er, prepackaged cookies that have been fully inspected by qualified health personnel).

In all seriousness, it is refreshing to see someone taking a principled stance on such issues. The vitriol in the right-wing blogosphere and general talk radio shows is extremely frightening. I'd suggest all thinking people boycott this event, in common with Councilman Bauer.

Ind. man said...

its not like there raising money for george bush... their trying to raise money for their own campaign - to unseat the current common council and BOE- the people who got rid of bulky waste and then complain about dumping in the northend and the same people who threw some guy named Ed McKeon for trying to speak at a public meeting...
There trying to win - something the republicans haven't done since 1991!!
Think about it-

NOBO said...

How dare a right-wing, bully,extremist, inflammatory, flatuating gas bag of a bloviator call our President "young"!
Do you people look in the mirror at all? Do you recollect the last eight years? When the shoe is on the other foot it doesn't feel so good, does it?
Vicevich has a degree in Economics which, apparently, Obama does not.He can explain what's going on which, apparently, Obama can't. Vicevich's sister is a state's attorney in Florida and read the entire Health Reform Plan which, as we all know, Obama did not, nor did anyone else in Congress.So Mr. Bauer, like a milkweed spore, just keep blowing in the winds of voter popularity. You have as much substance.
P.S.- I listened to Diane Smith on WTIC this morning.She did the whole show with Ray.

Anonymous said...

Vicevich is constantly touting his degree in economics like it makes him some kind of expert. He ran a business into the ground and declared bankruptcy to avoid creditors. Genius.

His sister is an attorney. And how many of those do we have in the country? My sister is a nurse, and you'd better not let me near you with a hypodermic needle.

Vicevich is a fraud masquerading as a demagogue and he does it all for the paycheck.

He's about as deep as a puddle.

Gerry Daley said...

I am concerned that the piece about Jim Vicevich attending a local Republican fundraiser took my comments out of context. By saying Council Democrats were not alarmed about "an extremist" attending the event and then quoting me about Ned Lamont and Democrat candidates for Governor attending local Democratic fundraisers, some may infer that I was suggesting we had our own "extremists". I was not commenting on Jim Vicevich status as an extremist - or even his conservative point of view. My point was each local party invites people to their fundraisers and that we Democrats had "big names" coming to ours. If it is legitimate to judge candidates by "the company they keep", I am glad to be associated with Ned Lamont and Democratic candidates for Governor rather than Mr. Vicevich.

NOBO said...

Anonymous 8:18 has cut me to the quick! Who could argue with logic like that?
So your Microsoft Word has a Thesaurus too?

Anonymous said...

From Anonymous 8:18

A thesaurus because I know what a demagogue is? I've read enough history to know who Huey Long and Father Coughlan are.

BTW, as for Vicevich's well-publicized economics degree, someone who has to run around telling you what his academic credentials are, is either on tenure track, or insecure about what he really knows (which is, not much, BTW). It reminds me of the old minute-long PBS comedy/science spots of the past, Ask Mr. Science, where the host would say (ironically of course) "I've got a Master's degree!"

Don't kid yourself. With 50,000 watts at his beck and call, Vicevich is a real danger. His specialty is yelling "fire" in a crowded movie house.

As for Republicans who consort with him, they better think twice about getting out the discontented Democratic vote.

Finally, I think Bauer is genuinely brave for boycotting the meeting. I'm sure he is being called all sorts of things by Middletown Republican insiders. But if Republicans think that hanging out with a crackpot is good for their political careers in town, I guess I understand why they are always in a minority.

Bill Wilson said...

Jim Vicevich may not speak for those posting here but there are many who agree with what he says on issues. Especially health care and cap and trade that he and democrats in congress have purposed. Just look at the poll numbers and they will show you that.

Those who think Vicevich is just some right winger look at what he does for the troops http://www.melaniemorgan.com/index.php?start=30 and how he and others sent packages to our troops overseas.

Of course that is not posted just what that he disagrees with Obama on a number of issues. That is his right and if people don't like it change the channel.

man of the town said...

Interesting that Democrats are more interested in who is coming to a republican fund raiser than worrying about the million dollars they turned down from the unions in concessions.
So maybe this is the issue the democrats will focus on because there dealings with the city budget the past 18 years has been so good.

One last thing did either councilman ever hear of freedom of speech or is that only for those who agree with you.

NOBO said...

Sounds like somebody has wattage envy! How is that Air America thingy doing?
Oh,well. Maybe after his Health Reform beatdown the young president can focus his attention on the Fairness Doctrine again. Wouldn't "Fairness Doctrine" be an oxymoron? Look it up in your thesaurus.

Anonymous said...
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Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Well, NOBO, thanks for revealing your racism. It makes a lot of things clear.

Broadcasters are obliged to serve their communities fairly. Those airwaves are not owned by the broadcasters but leased from us, the citizens who own them.

WTIC has failed in that responsibility. Unfounded accusations, innuendo and plain untruths do not serve the community. They obviously serve your version of the truth. Hoorah for you.

NOBO said...

So is it just me, Ed, or do you call anybody who disagrees with the President a racist? that seems to be the liber.....I mean "Progressive" thing to do.What's ironic is that our young President surrounds himself with VERIFIABLE RACISTS!Isn't it annoying when a bunch of gun-toting, bible-thumping hicks actually read and study and research the facts, instead of falling in lock-step with the rest of the sheep?
As for your comment on broadcasters--did you actually write that with a straight face?
ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Dan Rather? Are you kidding?Fair and unbiased? Read about GE and NBC. You have to go on the internet, you won't find it in the Courant or New York Times. That's right, we simps can read AND shoot.
Controlling the media worked for Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, but as long as we can maintain a free internet (Turn in a blogger.Org. anyone?),there will be an educated public- which is bad news for the libera...."Progressives". Well, fat chance of THIS ever getting posted!

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Anyone who calls Barack Obama "the young president" is trying to diminish the legitimacy of his stature as president by referring to his age. It's an old and despicable ploy that was used for decades by people to deny black men and women their full stature. "Young president" equals "boy," and that's racist. You, and other conservative commenters, insist on using the pejorative "young president" knowing full well that it's an insult. So spare me the generalization of playing the race card. I'm using a very specific accusation. Your use of the phrase identifies you as a racist. If you don't want to be identified as such, don't use the term. But until then, a lock-stepping, script-reading conservative wouldn't know any better. Everything you say has been said before, and it's all baloney, my bigoted friend. You accusations of fascism don't hold water. Just read the historical record. It's guys like you who wear the brown shirts.

Anonymous said...

Hey Streeto, Bauer has have proven the biggest differences between Middletown Democrats and Middletown Republicans is Republicans are allowed to have their own thought process and opinions.

Maybe you should break the chains and come on over to our side?

James Streeto said...

Hey Anonymous:

1. Why not put your name out there? I thought your comment was hysterical....and not unfriendly. I don't turn down many party invitations, actually. :) (sound like Jon or Bill to me (hi guys!)).

2. Democrats "aren't allowed to have their own opinions"--are you serious??! You couldn't get a roomful of Middletown Democrats to agree on ANYTHING. Do you remember the story that Bill Daley did on the convention a few years ago: it began "at least no one was armed." There are by my count at least 3 "democratic" parties in middletown, and we fight constantly. And believe me, its vicious. But to be honest, I've never been pressured from WITHIN the party to vote a certain way if I sincerely expressed a conscience issue on the vote....and yes, there are some votes I regret, in retrospect.

I presume you're a Republican--I can't speak for your side, I've never been one. As for becoming a Republican--ok, we're in the silly season, but nevertheless I'll tell you that most of your local folks are lovely, conscientious people (including your new arrivals). I haven't always agreed with their judgment (or the judgment of Mr. Roberts, the independent candidate)--but I respect their integrity and commitment to the community (and Mr. Roberts IS included in the assessment as well).

During one of my fights with the party I considered a shift (we all have, as have all of you--admit it! :)) but came to the conclusion that I simply couldn't stomach and support some of the positions your national party espouses.

Look at the party platform from the 2008 convention--you can still find it on line. It included an explicit statement espousing "the rights of the unborn"--"we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unbornkeeping with that commitment, child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." I could read this no other way than to conclude that the party platform eradicates a woman's right to choose.

The platform also downplayed the risks and prospects of global climate change, a perspective not shared by any reputable scientist on the planet. It opposed card check legislation, criticized laws protecting employees, and recommended the adoption of social security savings accounts, a partial privitization of that program.

It states "we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides, whether in education or in corporate boardrooms"--I could read this no other way than as a frontal assault on affirmative action.

I could go on and on. I realize these are controversial questions, and reasonable minds differ. But I feel at some point, the party you espouse should reflect (locally and nationally) your own core beliefs--and a good many of mine are too far removed on such statements for me to ever agree with them. So, thanks for the invitation, but I think I'll stay put (unless our own platform takes a radical shift).

Anonymous said...

Jim, you're party has taken a radical shift you just don't see it or don't want to see it. My issue is the local political scene and it's time Middletown gives Mayor Seb his entire team to work with.

Seb has done a good job working with a Democrat common council but could do an even better job with his team.

BTW,there are some very high profile Democrats that behind the scenes are supporting our Mayor. Some sit on the council, some sit up in Hartford and some are on your town committee.

It's time to support the rest of Seb's team and move Middletown in the right direction.

James Streeto said...

Anonymous,

Its so true! MY party has taken a radical shift. 50 years ago, within the lifetime of many of us, the democratic party split over the issue of civil rights--remember the "dixiecrats"? And last year, for the first time in the history of the United States, we nominated, and worked for, and supported, and elected an African American as President. That's a shift all right--and its a beautiful thing. A delegation of active Middletown democrats (organized and led by Councilmen Lofreddo and Faulkner) were among the first groups in Connecticut to endorse Obama, and I was proud to be a part of that group.

One of the stated goals of the Obama campaign was an elevation of the level of discourse in American politics. This is actually a more significant problem than many that receive more press. We're not always going to agree, but if we can't reason together and be civil together, how can we possibly live together?

Its one reason the elevation of talk radio personalities is so disturbing to me. These individuals bear the same relationship to reasoned and civil political discourse that professional wrestling bears to the Olympic Games. I am sorry, but I'm with David on this one--why on earth would you let them speak for your party? That's certainly not reflective of the views, belief system, and personalities of several Republicans I'm proud to call friend.

But if you don't approve of their ideas, their tactics, or their opinions, why invite them to our community? Frankly, its a serious question--it doesn't jibe with any of the people in the Republican party I know.

Anonymous said...

Earth to Jimmy….Under Obama this is the most divisive America has even been and people are taking to the streets in droves to protest. So much for all that talk of a different America and bipartisanship.

What I really care about is Mayor Seb getting elected but I guess you, Lofreddo and Faulkner with all of your big connections to Obama, will be getting him here to stump for your Mr. Nobody unless of course the Serra’s tell Obama not to show too like they did so many others. Bwahahaha!

Anonymous said...

One of the primary goals ofthe Obama administration was transparency. 0 for 1
Another was an honest, law-abiding cabinet. 0 for 2
How about a half million protesters march on Washington and NOT A WORD on the network news or press ( O.K. the Times mentioned about 60,000 showed up).
I'll listen to the "talk show personalities" thank you very much.

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Jim, I love the WTF/Olympics analogy. Hope you don't mind if I steal it.

I agree with you totally about the seriousness of inviting people as "guests of honor" with whom you don't necessarily agree.

Aside from Bauer I couldn't find a single local Republican who would disavow Vicevich, giggling that he was that "guy from television."

In fact, many local R's agree quite totally with him.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with having a speaker that doesn't agree with everything our party jibes with? I thought the whole point of a Democracy was to listen to new ideas and concepts; some are good, some stink and some need modification. The point is, I attempt to be as objective as I can, but leaving any party in power for 17 years, in Middletown it's the Democrats, is not a productive thing to do.

The Vicevich event was very interesting at First and Last Tavern. The first game we played was the picture game; we tried to figure out who on the wall has been in trouble with the law or in jail.


"Smiles, smiles, smiles, welcome to Fantasy Island," -Mr. Rourke

Jon Pulino said...

As host/co-host of three live public access television programs, I find it amazing that year after year, voters complain about high taxes but vote for the same folks on a regular basis due to party loyalty. British author George Orwell, political novelist of such classics as Animal Farm and 1984 warned others of such abuse of power when he said:
“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
Although Orwell’s comments are most likely aimed to those that live in countries that live under a dictatorship like Cuba or the former Iraqi, the quote is also valid to local American governments that refuse to change due to party loyalty; in a sense this new form of government has become a hybrid of democracy and lunacy due to people’s misunderstanding of how a local government/municipality works.
The Middletown Democrats have been in power on the common council since 1993, a seventeen-year tenure in which they were/are allowed to become lazy and complacent due to party loyalty and voter’s habits. During their tenure, taxes have been increased on a constant level and spending has been at an all time high. When blamed for their indiscretions or attitude toward spending, their answer is a variation on blame the mayor, or as one wife of a Democrat councilman said on television: “He’s the C.E.O. of the town so he should be able to reduce the budget.” The quote is indicative of Orwell’s Animal Farm with the pigs gaining power and constantly changing the rules and messages in order to maintain what they have. Don’t educate the voters, use them and abuse them.
It is the Democratic controlled common council and not Mayor Giuliano who has the final word on a budget as per the charter of Middletown. One needs to understand that Mayor Giuliano or any mayor for that matter, Democrat or Republican, can only vote in order to break a tie. In Middletown, the Dems hold 8 council seats while the Republicans hold 4 seats; whose budget is it?
It is the Democratic controlled Board of Education that controls approximately 64% of Middletown’s money and does not hesitate to ask for more. As a pubic school teacher since 1998, I fully support the Board of Education and their support of the schools, but it is also very important to point out that BOE will ask for money and not give the town an explanation as to what it will be used for.
It was the Democratic controlled common council that refused to take a $1,000,000 in union concessions. These are the same Democrats that allocate monies into their budget before it is even approved. (I.e. Remington Rand or Cucia Park) Imagine giving all that money back during today’s economy; the local Democrats feel that the taxpayer should feel the burn and ignore the union’s generous package. Do these eight Dems realize that when Aetna takes off in 2010, Middletown will be faced with another giant budget hole?
I urge everybody in town from all parities to ask themselves one basic question before they vote in November: Am I really happy with a party that has been in power since 1993?

Jonathan Pulino
Republican Member Board of Assessment Appeals

man of the town said...

I don't agree with you Mr. McKeon but again that is what makes America great. Differing views on different issues. I guess that is a huge issue for you to see Mr. Vicevich at a local fundraiser by the republicans and yet you sit by while the democrats continue to wildly spend money they don't have. You know Kleen energy, Cucia park money from the Army and of course Remington Rand. Those things are the real issues not a speaker that you disagreeat a fundraiser for republicans. Nice to see where your priorities are along with councilman Streeto and councilman Daley.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the bait.

Ask Councilman Daley or Streeto if I or Eye, have spared the foibles of the Democratic Council in my/our reportage.

I have been a lifelong Democrat, but I have reported many contradictory actions of local Democrats.

All the postings are available in our archive. Take some time and read them, and then tell me I/we favor the Democratic leaders in this town.

This issue, honoring a conservative radio host who makes it a daily quest to mock Democrats, liberals and progressives, and uses hate and fear as his tools, is not about party, it's about stupidity.

The Republicans are blind to the fact that many progressive voters in Middletown have been with them, and that associating with a right-wing crackpot is exactly the way to lose their vote.

The mayor stated that President Barack Obama had socialistic tendencies, if that's smart politics then I will congratulate all the town Republicans who get elected because they associate with the ideas and notions of the extreme right wing on national issues.

I've often said that party politics, especially about national issues, shouldn't matter on the local level, and when local politicians make them a platform of their campaign, it's a big mistake.

Anonymous said...

And how have we Middletown Republicans done playing patty cake and trolling for the liberal vote?

L O S E

NOBO said...

But it's OK for the Left to call the Right "Nazis" and "racists"?
Read your own comments!You guys are in hysterics over a local talk show host!
Funny, I usually get censored out when I "sound off" and call people names, but -when you control the medium you control the message.

Anonymous said...
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James Streeto said...

Bill W--

Thanks for the candor. I respect your right to choose your own sources for ideas and opinions--but it does surprise me.

I'm also surprised if the Mayor contended that President Obama has "socialistic tendencies" as reported above--that's a very provocative statement. Is it accurate?

Jon--

I followed the "Animal Farm" analogy with some interest (and nostalgia for my college days--we all should re-read Orwell from time to time) but I kinda got lost here--are we Democrats the pigs, the socialist, or the socialist pigs? :) (sorry: couldn't resist).

Seriously, my lament was for the decline in civility in American political discourse. I don't think the fact that we disagree means we have to pin ugly names on each other (and this is true on both extremes). I find it extremely depressing to hear that a substantial plurality of registered Republicans think there's actually some doubt about Obama's place of birth--or that anyone in the country could believe that George W. Bush knew about the 911 attacks and didn't stop them. Voting is a civic RESPONSIBILITY; a citizen has a duty to garner accurate information and form informed opinions.

As for Middletown since 1993: I note there have been 4 democratic primaries in 8 elections since 1993. We're about as monolithic as a randomly selected group of citizens would be.

But ask yourself this question: if the Democratic council is really responsible for everything that's happened in Middletown in that time, has there been any progress? Downtown development? Hundreds of acres of open space? I assume you're giving us credit for that, if we really have that degree of control. Ask yourself whether Middletown is doing better than it was in 1993.

Jim

(PS If I remember my Orwell correctly, in Animal Farm the pigs' abuses only began after they purged their dissident members. Care to weigh in on this one, Councilman Roberts? :))