August 10, 2010

"'Krush' (Karl-as-Rush) was the palest simulacrum of a Rush Limbaugh."

Writes Tunku Varadarajan about Rove's guest-hosting on yesterday's show.

Oh, but no one can step in and imitate Rush. With the exception of Mark Steyn, all of Rush's guest-hosts mostly make you think about how much better Rush is and: When is Rush coming back? (Steyn does his own thing, and it's brilliant. I prefer him to Rush.)

It would have been foolish for Rove to go all bombastic and over-confident on his first radio show, so Varadarajan's criticism is lame:
Rove, by comparison [to Rush], is a lightweight. What we learned today is that he does not have the voice for radio. By that I mean not just that his timbre is too thin, his tenor too brittle, but also that he has little oratorical or rhetorical structure, and no apparent ability to cast a spell over listeners. 
Ha. He's from Austin, Texas. He sounds like a character from the movie "Slacker." I found that charming ... disarming. Rush gets a lot of his oratorical power from his self-conception as an outsider — actively excluded from the power-elite in Washington. Rove is the opposite — so self-restraint is good.
Reading his weekly column in The Wall Street Journal, one was already aware of the modesty of his mind. In fact, his column has done much to baffle many Americans: How on earth did this man become the dark genius of the liberal imagination? Listening to him riff on the radio, one was filled with retrospective alarm: Was this the mastermind in the Bush White House?
Oh, Tunku! Do you really imagine the President, in his confidential, private conversations, listening to a Limbaugh-like blowhard overwhelming him with a big rant? Try to imagine why Rove's style works in the context in which he was highly successful. Gentleness and friendly, quiet, sound advice... is it really such a puzzle?

42 comments:

Big Mike said...

Steyn does his own thing, and it's brilliant. I prefer him to Rush.

You, too?

AllenS said...

I wasn't able to listen to all of the show, but from what I heard I thought Rove did quite well, considering that he doesn't do radio for a living.

mesquito said...

I had to miss most of it. Did he have any guests?

It's an awesome thing, speaking into a live microphone for three hours.

Yeah, and Steyn is the only guest host I really enjoy. He doesn't dumb it down any, for one thing.

Fred4Pres said...

I missed Karl on Rush.

Fred4Pres said...

I agree about Steyn, but it is hard to do three hours of radio day in and day out. That is what Rush does.

TosaGuy said...

All the guest hosts are told to do or not do certain things, therefore, they don't come off as natural. Mark Belling in Milwaukee is way better than Mark Belling on Rush.

Rich B said...

Mark Steyn is pretty good now, but he wasn't so good the first few times he was on. It takes a while to understand how it's done, especially if you are not a professional radio host.

tomfaranda said...

I heard much of Rove's show and I thought he was fine. He had a good opening monologue, and I thought his discussion of Christina Romer and her Memo was right on.

He's not Rush and he's not Steyn - who is great - but he's certainly up to the job.

Of course, over at MSNBC, the classy Ed Shultz referred to Rove as a turd. ...

traditionalguy said...

Very nice analysis. That reminds me again of why I like to read the posts here: they always point out a way to get under the surface of the usual polemical assertions being made in the media.

Lem said...

Snerdley kept interviewing him at first.. and we could not hear Snerdley.. I find that annoying.

Camp Runamok said...

No big surprise here. Rove is an intellectual political strategist; a total behind the scenes guy. Limbaugh, OTOH, is a showman and entertainer. There's a reason why the former is an adviser to presidents and the latter has a wildly successful radio show.

Chase said...

Rove was fine and, considering this is the very first time he's ever done something like this, obviously someone of tremendous radio potential.

Varadarajan completely swings and misses with his attempt to minimize Rove's demonstrated political abilities. In fact, his writing effort is so poor, I began to wonder if Varadarajan is really as smart as I thought he was all these years:

How on earth did this man become the dark genius of the liberal imagination? Listening to him riff on the radio, one was filled with retrospective alarm: Was this the mastermind in the Bush White House?

Reminds me of what's written about Satan himself at the end of the world:
Everyone there will stare at you and ask,
‘Can this be the one who shook the earth
and made the kingdoms of the world tremble?
Is this the one who destroyed the world
and made it into a wasteland?
Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities
and had no mercy on his prisoners?’
Isaiah 14:16-17 (NLT)

Chase said...

The point above being that when it comes to writing ability, Varadarajan is no Isaiah the prophet.

ImHappynBP said...

Tunku is so in loved with his own prose it is almost embarrassing to be caught reading it in public. I felt like I had stumbled upon a man, in the privacy of his own home, masturbating.

The Ghost said...

speaking of sticking to your day job I would suggest that Var may want to get back to teaching ...

Charlie Martin said...

Reading his weekly column in The Wall Street Journal, one was already aware of the modesty of his mind. In fact, his column has done much to baffle many Americans: How on earth did this man become the dark genius of the liberal imagination?

Hmmm. Sixteen years of surprising success as a political advisor, versus TV saying he's an intellectual lightweight. I wonder which to believe?

edutcher said...

Fred and Rich hit the mark on the mechanics of talk radio, as I understand them (big WWDB fan in the 80s and 90s), so Rove is not going to hit it out of the park the first few times.

And Camp is right about Rove's long suit. I've seen him a lot on Cavuto and Hannity and picking things apart analytically is what he does best.

Ann's analysis of his style - Southern gentleman, all the way - is on the money. It will need some grooming if he wants to do more talk, although he doesn't have to morph into someone very assertive to be successful at it.

jr565 said...

Rove is a numbers cruncher and a damn good one, not an orator. I do like him as a guest on some of the shows he appears on where he lays everything out on his whiteboard using magic markers. But that's probably where he's best. As a guest, not as the star of the show. THough,again, maybe we should give the guy a few days to find his radio legs.

I just love the fact taht he is on radio, thus dashing the hopes of all the libs who were hoping for him to be frogmarched from the White House. Sorry, but no frog marching. We might see some frogmarching in congress though, with all of those democratic scandals coming to a head.

Scott said...

I wish Ann would guest host the Limbaugh show. El Rushbo quotes her once in awhile; and I think she's got the stage presence and intellectual chops to do an entertaining three hours.

She can't be more boring than Thomas Sowell.

Rich B said...

Actually, having Ann be a guest host on Rush is an interesting idea. She's certainly had practice eviscerating people on Talking Heads.

orbicularioculi said...

Rush is simply the Master of his medium. Karl Rove did an excellent job yesterday. I enjoyed listening to part of his comments.

And yes, I prefer listening to Mark Steyn also. But Rush is "da man". Turku is on another wavelength.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

I love Mark Steyn, too, but he does have the advantage of that cute accent.

Karl did OK for his first day and being a tenor. He can't help it if his larynx isn't that big (sorry, tenor friends). Baritones and basses always have an advantage in commanding attention verbally.

Toy

chuck b. said...

I thought Rove sounded good yesterday. Not at all what I expected, never having heard him speak before. I expected something nasal, with higher pitch. That said, he did get wonky and I did get bored. I became most aware of that when he said "Let's read the report together after the break".

But then Rush's psychodramas bore me too, eventually. I should say they wear me out. Rush can be exhausting.

Roux said...

Rove's strategies worked because he ran the numbers. He knew how districts, regions, states were going to vote based on those stats. He's not Rush. Let's see Tunku give it a try. I really can't stand people who think they are the smartest guy in the room. Mostly these types are wrong.

ricpic said...

Steyn's humor is forced at times. Mark Belling is a real pleasure to listen to and doesn't come up lacking relative to Rush when he guest hosts, IMO.

Rick Caird said...

I don't understand why Tunku even wrote this. What message was he trying to get across? How many of us who don't listen to Rush even knew Rove would be on?

Conor said...

I loved Rove hosting Rush's show. Clearly knows what he is talking about and very interesting as he picked apart legislation.

Criticizing Rove because of his voice is like criticizing Krauthammer because he is in a wheelchair. Neither can do anything about the way he is.

Some of us are more interested in content than entertainment, I guess.

Varadarajan's comments strike me as jealous. Sounds like a guy who is mad that they the WSJ editorial page has not recognized his brilliance.

edutcher said...

Scott said...

I wish Ann would guest host the Limbaugh show. El Rushbo quotes her once in awhile; and I think she's got the stage presence and intellectual chops to do an entertaining three hours.

Very good idea. She's fast on her feet intellectually from how she's handled herself in some of the set-tos she's had here, presumably speaks well from 20 years of conlawproffing, and has a very wide-ranging set of interests. She's also far enough left on some things that she'd get a lot less of a cheering section and more of a debate going.

HDHouse said...

Turd Blossom can barely immitate a turd in a punch bowl...

ooops strike that.

yes he can.

perfectly.

rick said...

To sum it up:

1) Rush is the best....ratings support that.

2) Mark Steyn is without question, the best guest host.

3) For his maiden voyage as guest host, the Architect, did quite well.

4) Our hostess should be given shot.

5) HDH is a turd connoisseur.

rick said...

number 4) should read ....Our host should be given a shot.

Freeman Hunt said...

Walter E. Williams is an excellent guest host.

I heard about twenty minutes of Rove, and I thought he did well.

Freeman Hunt said...

Tunku's column was more boring than any guest host I've ever heard on Rush.

Bob said...

"Oh, Tunku..."

That reminds me of how everyone in the movie The Ten Commandments was always exclaiming "Oh, Moses, Moses!", especially Ann Baxter.

The Opinionator said...

This may have been mentioned but the reason Rush and Steyn are so good on the radio is that they were both disc jockeys in past lives. The understand the medium and how to fill air time. Everyone else is either a political talker with no entertainment radio experience or someone moonlighting like Rove. Frankly, I love Steyn as well. Rove was not as good on the radio, nor should one expect he would be. However,he did have an amazing command of the facts which is probably what really had Tunku all wound up.

Fen said...

Rove is an intereting guest.

I dont understand why libtards like Tunku insist everyone be a celebrity. But it explains how we got Obama. Seriously, these Libtards would vote Oprah in if she was on the ballot (see: Al Franken).

Anyone know why its taking Obama so long to capture Osama? Maybe if he spent less time working on his slice...

Patm said...

I love reading Mark Steyn, but I can't stand listening to him when he subs for Rush. He laughs too much at his own jokes.

JAL said...

Heard part of Rove. Thought he did well for a newbie guest host. Nobody expected him to unseat Rush. Good grief.

His take on the health care nightmare was good. So Obama & Co, nationalized student loans so they could pay for some of Obamacare. Banks lost an in with potential custoners because Obama & Co. wanted their slice of the pie so they could control how the wealth is spread around.

Think any more people are going to get tired of this by November?

I hope.

JAL said...

Heard part of Rove. Thought he did well for a newbie guest host. Nobody expected him to unseat Rush. Good grief.

His take on the health care nightmare was good. So Obama & Co, nationalized student loans so they could pay for some of Obamacare. Banks lost an in with potential custoners because Obama & Co. wanted their slice of the pie so they could control how the wealth is spread around.

Think any more people are going to get tired of this by November?

I hope.

Jeremy said...

The Queen - "Oh, but no one can step in and imitate Rush. With the exception of Mark Steyn, all of Rush's guest-hosts mostly make you think about how much better Rush is and: When is Rush coming back?"

Good lord...sucking on the fat man.

Paul said...

I like the O'Reilly factor better when Laura Ingraham is subbing for him. She had Karl Rove on and actually had to nerve to point out to him that Obama's immigration policy is not much different than Bush's.

The brilliant Rove did not do a very good job coming up with meaningful distinctions. He still seems to think the Republicans have a good shot at getting Mexican-American voters, which is simply absurd. (Ask John McAmnesty how all the pandering worked out for him.)

Rove is smart on some things, but very dumb on some others, unfortunately.

Revenant said...

I disagree with Rove's views almost as often as I agree with them, but he has always seemed like a reasonable person. He gets compared to James Carville a lot, but he seems more like the right-wing Pat Moynihan to me.