August 31, 2007
The Republicans' Sykes problem
By Bill Kraus
Charlie Sykes has a daily radio show and a weekly TV show. In Milwaukee. Charlie has set up camp on the right edge of what passes as conservatism these days. He also never misses a chance to take a cheap or even a deserved shot at any politician who messes up or has an ideological persuasion not in accord with what Charlie believes.
And Charlie is a true believer.
Charlie not only defines Republicanism, he runs the admissions department. If you claim to be a Republican and do not accept the Sykes agenda in toto and to the letter, he brands you as a RINO (Republican in name only) or worse.
The question is not whether Charlie has the right to do this. The question is why the Republicans believe him and are deathly afraid of Charlie’s censure.
His audience is in southeast Wisconsin which is predominantly Democratic territory. His broadcasts are in the morning, when all good Republicans are or should be at work and out of range of Charlie’s daily vitriol.
We know that Republicans are scared to death of AARP and the golden oldies they claim to represent, of the NRA and the thousands of gun lovers who take their marching orders from them, from the tax oppressed residents of the northern suburbs of Milwaukee and of Waukesha County and, of course, from the theocrats of every persuasion.
But Charlie Sykes? Whatever is it about him that scares Republican legislators into foolishness like un-indexing the gas tax?
Politics, of course, is full of mysteries and absurdities.
And Charlie Sykes’ power is both.
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