Arlen Specter’s Conduct Reminds Talk Radio Listeners Why He Got Booted From Officeby Stephen Littau
Sen. Arlen Specter was last Friday’s guest for The Jason Lewis Show to promote his new book. The interview started casually enough, discussing topics such as the Trayvon Martin case and various policies Sen. Specter supported while in the senate. Sen. Specter’s main complaint in his book, as he explained in the interview, was that there’s no room for moderates in either party and that “compromise” has become a dirty word among the base of both parties (Sen. Specter has no love for the Tea Party which played no small role in getting him swept out of office).
After the first commercial break, Sen. Specter complained that he didn’t want his dinner interrupted to do the interview to listen to several minutes of commercials if he wasn’t going to have a chance to promote his new book. Lewis basically brushed the criticism aside and politely debated the senator on principled differences between moderates and Tea Party conservatives. As Lewis challenged the senator on various issues, Sen. Specter seemed to become agitated by his tone.
Then the next commercial break came, then all hell broke loose.
“Jason [Lewis], I have one final comment,” Specter said.
“I gave you 10 minutes. You’ve been over every subject except for my book. I’ve listened to two rounds of your commercials. I think it’s insulting. I’ve been in a lot of interviews in the course of the past 30 years and you are absolutely insulting!”
Specter continued, “This is no way to run an interview!”
“Listen, I’m talking about somebody who’s civilized!” said Specter.
“I told you the last time around I wasn’t looking to sit around and listen to your commercials, and I didn’t want to hang up on you. But I want to tell you this is no way for anybody to run an interview. I’m as experienced as you are, if not more so. And that’s all I have to tell you, so goodbye!”
Baffled by Specter’s tirade, Lewis said, “Good lord, senator — no wonder you got beat.”
“This is the most intolerant guest I’ve ever had on the program. How on earth do you — Does he only do NPR interviews? Is that the deal? I’ve never heard anything like it. Well, good luck with the book. I think you’re going to need it.”
For those of you who are not familiar with Jason Lewis, he’s not one of these talk radio hosts who scream at callers* or guests who disagrees with him. As political pundits go, Lewis is probably fairest person I’ve listened to; certainly among the most “civilized.” Sen. Specter’s problem was that he was being challenged rather than swooned over, IMO.
And while I do find the commercials annoying** I understand that they are necessary. Talk hosts have little to no control over when the commercial breaks occur because the radio station’s contracts with the advertisers have to be honored.
Sen. Specter doesn’t understand this, but why would he? He spent most of his adult life in government.
*Like Mark Levin or Michael Savage
**On the network I listen to, its mostly commercials about gold, emergency food, water filters, vitamins, etc.