First, Hewitt oddly brackets the most important talk radio figure. While Rush Limbaugh may have criticized Romney, he writes," Rush's vigorous criticism of Romney on these issues is a far, far degree from Smith's lead description."
Limbaugh, who says he likes Romney personally, also said "bye bye nomination" last week. This doesn't strike me as cutting against the thesis that Romney is the "punching bag of the conservative media, though it isn't personal ridicule.
So to make sure I hadn't dreamed up those more vitriolic talk radio segments, I devoted an arduous 15 minute Google search to checking the claim.
Here's Michael Savage, the fourth most popular talker, after Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck: "Romney again is worthless...no leadership whatsoever....he's not been there for us for years...he has no right to run for the presidency."
Mark Levin, the seventh most popular talker in the same Talkers Magazine list, said recently Romney "basically destroyed health care in the Commonwealth of Massachsetts." He continues, "In Iowa he’s for ethanol subsidies [and] in New Hampshire he’s for controlling man-made global warming. I can’t support this man in the Republican Primary. There’s just no way without compromising all my principles."
"If we don't break out of this next-guy-in-line RINO stuff, the society's going to go to Hell," he said.
Neal Boortz, 11th on the list (and seventh of the conservatives on the list), tweeted a few weeks ago, "Romney didn't own up to RomneyCare mess. Romney doth therefore become as charred bread," a theme on which he elaborated here.This is great news. Is it showing how irrelevant talk radio is becoming? While they blast Romney, Romney remains way at the top of the polls. Of course, it is early and Romney could collapse, but at least for now, there are a lot of people who listen to talk radio and simply don't agree or they just don't listen to talk radio.
I'm not sure how you don't pull "untrustworthy flip-flopper" and "grandfather of the hated Obamacare" out of those clips. And I'm not even cherry-picking the real haters lower on the list. Influential regional radio figures, like Boston's Howie Carr (51) and Atlanta's Erick Erickson, who just picked up Herman Cain's show, have been extremely tough on Romney.
That's the result of a very cursory search of top talkers, most of whose work isn't on Google. I've heard other riffs I can't quote from memory; and I'm also just quoting hosts here, not the range of talk radio guests, who include many Romney foes.
Reality-based, governance-minded conservatives has a chance.
By the way, when Rush Limbaugh wails on Romney, it only makes Romney more electable in a general election. Any foe of Rush is a friend of the 75% of the country that hates Rush.