Opinion | Meet the GOP Insiders Rebranding as Bad Boys of Conservative Talk

Inconsiderate, which can be streamed on all major podcast services, has built a cult around self-proclaimed “minions” as a clear right-wing alternative Pod Save America and his brothers. But is it good?

In more than 100 episodes, the show has shown some real strengths – two of its three presenters are PR professionals, they know the pressure points and hypocrisies of the political media all too well and pounce on them with righteousness – but it’s flaws that make the overall product deeply unsatisfactory.

On the one hand, his success in penetrating the conservative powerhouses of DC shows the immensely unpleasant contradiction at its core: For a podcast that puts its brand on a bad boy image and the willingness to slander sacred cows, it is inseparable from that Connected to the establishment, ex-President Donald Trump railed against it, and this is almost literally embodied by his hosts.

But worse, it commits the cardinal sin of any cultural endeavor that prides itself on being the standard-bearer for a new, totally-in-your-face Generation. It’s often just as the kids would say flinch, its geriatric millennial hosts who combine an overly online, strangely hostile digital patois with a series of outdated cultural references – the “Fame” soundtrack, more than a reference to Milli Vanilli – and they sound like the self-proclaimed “cool” teachers try to have a “rap session” with their students.

Of course, it is not a sin to do a dull podcast and those who listen eagerly Inconsiderate every week will be satisfied as long as they think the above libs are in possession. But more than the awkwardness of what the hosts say, it ultimately shows what they are not say about the uncomfortable status quo of the GOP after Trump.

Holmes and Duncan are corporate men to the core, sores surrounding the pandemic, January 6 riots and false claims of election fraud are eagerly avoided in their interviews with Republican hopefuls to form a united front before 2022; the banter that makes up the rest of the show is no longer introspective. The podcast explicitly asks how Republicans can regain power in the midst of liberal politics and media. But the implicit question it raises is far more difficult to answer: is it possible for the conservative establishment to reassert itself with little more than an anti-establishment slick?

No partisans who are worth their money, and certainly not those who are paid well for their work, will turn their platform into some kind of endless Maoist battle session. But the overall effect of Inconsiderate is to put Republicans in some sort of rhetorical Potemkin village whose view changes for each guest, ’22 race and real contingency, with the unwavering, strangely almighty perfidy of the Democrats being the only constant. It’s red meat for the devout, and likely an effective alka-seltzer for spoiled mainstream conservatives in liberal geographic bubbles (like the show’s hosts). For everyone else, it’s a disorienting, frankly uncomfortable listening experience – and fatally one that, in view of the reality, seems almost comically shy compared to its conservative media rivals.

Conservatives have a special connection with talk radio. There is, of course, the late Rush Limbaugh, who reshaped the right-wing media landscape to his own image, and followers like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, who have made their ascent to great success with that of Fox News; In modern times, roughly half of the 20 most popular American political podcasts on Apple’s podcast service, according to industry tracker Chartable, lean conservative. (Inconsiderate, currently ranks 40th. During one recent episode, hosts complained about Apple’s unfair advertising treatment for ideological reasons, even though numbers two and three on the same list are being hosted by the decidedly non-liberal Steve’s Crowder and Bannon, respectively.)

The movement and format go well together, the latter providing hours of blank space that any insane truth-teller ready to step up and challenge the liberal establishment can fill. Which must have made it all the more annoying when liberals after years of failed attempts – Air America, everyone? – finally cracked the code. Pod Save America, led by a group of former Obama employees who have been and will remain a cultural phenomenon with # resistance taste. His appeal to beleaguered, apocalyptic-minded liberals over the past four years has been easy to understand, sustained (like Inconsiderate) the relaxed relationship between his hosts and a parade of quasi-news-pep talks with the top brass players of their party.

Pod Save America demonstrated in real time how a common enemy in the Trump administration united the divided big tent of the Democrats and the Pod storage Crew and their followers a scrappy Corps spirit the fragmented conservative media was sorely absent. Inconsiderate does not do so, and his many mistakes stem from his half-hearted attempts to mend these threads.

His hosts applaud the mindless partisanship of the die-hard Trumpist right without fully embracing Trump himself; They recognize the need for the Republican Party to “evolve,” but not the compromises involved in adopting their party’s ideas reformist colleagues; they throw PG-13, “Let’s go Brandon“-Style insults without accepting the cheerful rudeness of internet native rights. It leaves the show weird with neither fish nor poultry, and avoids both Claremontian scholarship and feverish anger in a triangulation difficult to imagine pleasing the often inflexible, irascible conservative media consumer.

This dynamic is most evident in the show’s interviews with the handful of Republican leaders who are almost synonymous with inner-right controversy, like the VP mentioned above. Performed in front of a giggling audience that started by. celebrates Pence’s new non-profit organization, Holmes starts the interview with a variation on the same submissive no-question on the “Good Morning America” ​​level that the show opens most of its interviews with elected officials: “Four years, worked as hard as you can get you to the backend” . you have a nice life like that, you have nice friends … you just keep driving in, you started this special group, you have a podcast, you travel all over the country, still in the middle of the game. ”

In a playful way, Pence offers a lot about duty, calling and the work still to be done for the conservative movement. The rest of the interview follows that formula for the most part, but for a brief, fleeting moment it threatens to slip into something truly compelling when the pseudonymous smug asks Pence how often he does talked to his former boss since they left office. Pence, whose literal execution the crowd demanded on Jan. 6, describes the end of the Trump presidency and events of that day as “difficult” and “dark”, but for a moment the Republican Party is “over.” Which of course he is right about – the GOP strategy that the Inconsiderate Hosts try to avoid his flag-bearer’s anti-democratic excesses like an uncomfortable drunk uncle on Thanksgiving, regardless of Trump’s own erratic performances.

This is understandable, but it leads to an extremely boring conversation. You don’t have to be an alarm bell-happy, fascist # resistance guard to acknowledge that the 6th “Dream politics“Spilled over into the violent reality. Inconsiderate is basically boring because – by nature an almost official GOP campaign arm – it cannot discuss anything that gives today’s conservative intellectual and political world its turbulent, unexpectedly radical character.

The lack of openness or weight makes it all the more fatal that the show is as excruciatingly uncomfortable as it is. Rush Limbaugh was not an intellectual heavyweight, but when he said his talent was “God borrowed,” even his fiercest opponents had to acknowledge his ability as a broadcaster. Holmes, Duncan and Smug, moonlights as they are, don’t exactly bring the same heat. Despite the superficial similarities to Pod storage, the show’s combination of avoidance policies and clumsy faux-edginess makes it hard to imagine who she actually is to the – and hardly imaginable that it fulfills the same function as its liberal counterpart as the media engine of an organizing juggernaut.

It’s really a missed opportunity: if you screw up your eyes, you can see an outline of the post-Trump barstool Republican in the show’s sleazy lad ethos. But when his hosts, all of them accomplished insiders, spend a significant amount of their time nagging about Bill Kristol or Jen Rubin columns, or, as in a recent episode, sit in a foam denouncing the ills of capital gains tax, that burdens the gullibility of imagining them as populist champions.

Ultimately, “Ruthless” is a deeply contemporary product that combines an explicit political message with a ready-made cultural stance that audiences can embrace. This phenomenon has an unsavory, propagandistic aftertaste, no matter which side of the aisle, and how good or bad it is. Inconsiderate just makes it very, very bad.

Leave a Comment