Radio Rebel: Laura Ingraham Turns Against the Establishment
“The establishment is the establishment for a reason,” says talk radio host Laura Ingraham, reflecting on her 2014 endorsements of long-shot Republican challengers to incumbent politicians. “They usually win; they kind of have it all tied up.”
Once a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, Ingraham cited the conservative champion as her political inspiration.
“Reagan understood that, and he understood that it’s very difficult; it’s a long struggle, and I think most races you won’t win,” she said.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Ingraham reflected on her radio and television media career as it increasingly verges towards political activism and away from punditry.
Ingraham recently made headlines for endorsing Joe Carr, the challenger to Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. After she held a rally in support of Carr, former Governor Sarah Palin stepped up to support Carr as well. And she even recently said she's considering running for office herself.
She acknowledged that Carr’s challenge was a different race than the surprise victory of David Brat against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia, but said that she was willing to support it on principle—noting that there were some similarities between the two fights.
“If you don’t try, if you don’t fight, if you don’t try to make cracks in the armor of the establishment, then the knight will keep charging right through the American middle class,” she said.
“I think there’s a greater sense of urgency now, given how long the middle class has been suffering,” she explained, referring to a “flatlining economy” and “uninspiring” recovery.
On top of it all, she noted that there were 50 million people out of work in the United States, but the government was willing to bring in 30 million immigrants into the country.
“The people who are suffering the most right now are the people that they swore to represent and whose Constitution they swore to uphold, which is the American middle-class, and the lower-middle-class workers in this country who can’t get ahead,” she said.
In response, critics from both parties have criticized her for her uncompromising stance on the issue.
“It’s not easy to take on these people; believe me, I’m not the most popular person around Washington,” she said.
The ferocity of the attacks against her, Ingraham explained, are the clearest indication that she is making progress, dismissing them as typical character assassinations accusing her of being a “xenophobe” or a “restrictionist.”
“Last time I checked, I had two Russians and a Guatemalan in my house,” she said, referring to her adopted children, adding that she not only lived in Central America but speaks Russian and Spanish.
Ingraham scoffed at her Republican critics, accusing them of imitating the left.
“When the establishment on the right takes on the tactics of the left, which is what they did in Mississippi, and they direct them at me, I’m like, ‘OK you’ve officially lost the game,’ so it doesn’t bother me at all,” she said.
But Ingraham thinks that Republicans have a lot to answer for, and she’s not interested in becoming a pundit that reflexively “circles the wagons” when the party is criticized.
“The country has moved on in many ways because they’ve seen, sadly, that a lot of what they thought was going to be delivered from the GOP establishment were actually either untruths -- they missed the boat on a lot of these major crises, or they just plain mislead us,” she said, referring to the Alan Greenspan era of low interest rates, Bush-era spending, and the difficult wars in the Middle East.
“It’s harder to actually say that we kind of screwed things up,” admitting that at one point she was “all ra-ra” for the war in Iraq.
She argued for a modern Republican party that would not only fight for it’s conservative ideals, but be willing to admit their failures to the American people.
In spite of the many flaws that Ingraham sees in the Republican Party, she notes that she draws inspiration from the new surge of political activity.
“I want people to be energized, not demoralized,” she said, as she prepared for her Nashville rally for Joe Carr that would draw over 600 people .
“I think it’s much better to be a conservative today than it was in 2007 and 2008,” she added. “This is a cool time, this is the beginning of something new.”