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.