- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is an honor and privilege to live in the United States, the greatest country in the world. Yet for all its blessings, American society is beset by serious problems, including jihadists seeking weapons of destruction who want to create a world caliphate; a violent, sexually loaded popular culture that targets our children; unelected judges who ignore the Constitution and abuse their powers; and a disrespect for human life that has resulted in tens of millions of abortions.

It is possible to become demoralized and conclude that everything is hopeless, and that we should withdraw from the political and cultural debate and abandon the nation to Harry Reid, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Moore, Britney Spears and the like. But doing so would be moral cowardice, and, as radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham demonstrates in her excellent new book, “Power to the People,” the truth is that we have only begun to avail ourselves of the tools at our disposal to fight back and win.

I like this book for the same reasons I have enjoyed listening to Miss Ingraham’s radio show for nearly five years: 1) She is a conservative who shares my values and beliefs; 2) she has an ability to poke fun at herself, and, best of all, at arrogant, preening politicians and knavish show-business types; and 3) she’s an optimist in the tradition of Ronald Reagan who believes in the ability of the American people to change things for the better.

In this book, she provides real-world examples of how this can be done — and is already being done. Miss Ingraham details how talk radio and movement conservatives stood up to the Bush administration and its allies in Big Business, Big Labor and the Democratic congressional leadership to kill the mass amnesty bill earlier this summer.

Earlier, the talk-show host, whose radio program is heard on more than 300 stations, played a leadership role in mobilizing opposition on the right to President Bush’s October 2005 nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. In the end, Miss Miers, whose judicial philosophy was a mystery, withdrew her name from consideration.

Miss Ingraham, a lawyer and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, points out that the development of the alternative media (conservative talk radio and the Internet) was one reason why Mr. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees — John Roberts and Samuel Alito — fortunately did not meet the same fate as Robert Bork, nominated to the high court 20 years ago by Mr. Reagan.

In her book, Miss Ingraham demonstrates how conservatives can combat some of the moral sewage masquerading as “cultural expression.” Earlier this year, she exposed the fact that Verizon Wireless was sponsoring a rap musician named Akon, an ex-convict who served time for armed robbery. Akon specializes in “performance art” that has involved pulling a woman out of the audience and staging a simulated rape of said woman onstage.

Miss Ingraham told her listeners about this, and after they inundated Verizon Wireless with telephone calls and e-mails, the company terminated its sponsorship of Akon, costing him millions of dollars.

One of the best things about this book is the author’s attentiveness to the ways in which advertisers constantly try to force sexual messages on very young children. It has become very difficult to watch television or listen to the radio (especially sporting events, news broadcasts or talk shows) without hearing advertisements about the danger of an erection lasting more than four hours.

All of the above barely scratches the surface of the important material in this book. Miss Ingraham also does a masterful job of analyzing and explaining such diverse issues as what is at stake in the war on terror, the benefits of federalism, the need for choice in education, myths about “global warming” and climate change, and how arrogant and out of control large segments of the judiciary have become.

Some parts of this book dealing with her personal life are funny (her battle with a crazed leftist professor while a student at Dartmouth), others quite moving and inspirational, including her mother’s death from lung cancer in 1999 and Laura’s own bout two years ago with breast cancer. Reading this book reinforces my view that Laura Ingraham is a remarkable person with an important message about how we can take our country back.

Joel Himelfarb is the assistant editor of the editorial page of The Washington Times.

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