Yesterday a close friend of mine wrote a letter to Howard Dean and got a quick and pleasing response.
I am writing to you because I feel you should be made aware of a recent letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer from a Democratic Party precinct captain, Dusty Rhodes. I hope you will take the time to read it because I think it is emblematic of attitudes expressed by some in the Democratic Party that are self-defeating and damaging to this party’s proud legacy.
Mr. Rhodes responded to a recent opinion piece by another Democratic Party precinct captain who had written to express his support for giving progressive radio a chance here in Cincinnati. Mr. Rhodes letter is rife with right-wing talking points, and his points as to the reasons that this format did not succeed in Cincinnati are way off the mark.
I have sent the following to Mr. Timothy Burke, who is the Chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, expressing my dismay as a fellow Democrat that one of our own would express sentiments that more closely resemble talking points one would hear on right-wing talk radio or the noise-machine at Fox:
“Dear Mr. Burke:
I am writing to you as a fellow Democrat here in Hamilton county because I felt compelled to express my dismay at the recent letter Dusty Rhodes sent to The Cincinnati Enquirer in rebuttal to a letter supporting the need for progressive talk radio here in Cincinnati. I think that you should know that there are democrats here that were disgusted by Mr. Rhodes letter. It is my sincere hope that leaders of this party here in this county might take the time to express some of our concerns to Mr. Rhodes.
His letter is hardly factual, and I think that it doesn’t take an expert in radio such as Dusty to know that he is spouting Right-Wing talking points straight out of Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of their ilk. His contention
that nobody listened is hyperbole of the first degree. I am a social worker here in Hamilton County, and I can assure him that several of my coworkers were very enthusiastic that finally there was a format that spoke to
progressives- a format I might add that in many ways was far more open to a real discussion of ideas that matter rather than just hyperbole much like the kind in Mr. Rhodes’ letter.
He is sorely mistaken in his contention that the so-called technical problems experienced by listeners of this format on both stations were typical of radio across the dial. I listened to the format on both WCKY and WSAI, and there were instances of dead air and “cross feed” that I have never heard or seen on any radio or TV format. I trust Ed Schultz when he informed his listeners that the reason for this had more to do with the
attitude of the individuals entrusted to run and promote this format here than anything else that Mr. Rhodes might like to attribute to its demise.
The manager or managers of this station had openly expressed hostility to the format much like the hostility that Mr. Rhodes expresses toward its listeners in his letter.
And that is the crux of my dismay, Mr. Burke. Does it bother you to see someone, a Democratic Precinct Captain no less, write a letter that is so openly full of the Right’s garbage-attacks on most of the things that the
Democratic party has stood for at least since the days of FDR? It should.
Mr. Rhodes is more than entitled to his opinions, but I think that it is incumbent that if someone is making statements, some of which are simply not true, that seem to support the opposition party’s talking points and
certainly are meant to denigrate a very real and growing segment of the Democratic party itself, someone should be made aware that there are those who have actively participated in canvassing and other events who are not pleased (such as myself). If this makes Mr. Rhodes or others uncomfortable, I guess I would have to conclude that this is a good thing because there are those who are simply fed up with this kind of rhetoric from individuals who so obviously haven’t taken the time to better inform themselves of the diversity of our community (and certainly of this party). Or maybe they just don’t care. Either way, it is letters such as his that get the hair up on the back of those in this party who care about making it something more than just some opportunistic alternative for someone to spout the same rhetoric as the other party while pretending to care about Democrats.
I sincerely hope that you and others in this party have read this letter and possibly share some of my concern that regardless of Mr. Rhodes’ opinions, some of the things that he is saying are damaging to the Democratic party and its proud legacy of liberal reforms.
Thank you for your time.”
Mr. Dean, I cannot tell you how disgusted this letter has made those Democrats in this county who care about the proud legacy of liberalism that many feel is the heart and soul of this party. At the very least, it is an insult to the intelligence of those who care to dig a little deeper than Mr. Rhodes appears to have done.
I know you are very busy, but I do appreciate your taking the time to consider my concerns. There are many like me who have given of at least some of their time for the benefit of Democratic Party causes who read things like this letter and begin to lose faith that this party truly is representative of even the most basic ideals that can be seen in the history
of things such as those programs that FDR implemented. For those of us who truly believe in that legacy, our work has only just begun. Apparently for some others, it is nothing more than a platform where they feel they can say whatever they want however damaging it might be to this party’s cause.
Thank you for your time.
And Howard’s reply:
I agree, This is not only disappointing, but this gentleman appears to be in the wrong party. Progressive radio has it’s problems, but airing disagreements and attacking other Democrats is unhelpful. Feel free to share this with the county chair. We are investing large amounts of money in Ohio. Fortunately the Democratic leadership in general is far more constructive than this particular precinct captain, who should be replaced.