- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham says the nation’s elites are opposed to traditional Middle-American values such as patriotism and religious faith.

Miss Ingraham’s new book, “Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the U.N. are Subverting America,” published by Regnery, is a stinging rebuke of liberal elitists both at home and abroad.

“Elites in the United States today believe that America needs to outgrow itself and its traditions and its culture,” she said. “There is one problem with that approach: We live in a representative democracy and the voters don’t much care for those kinds of views.”

The book’s title stems from her experience years ago at an Eagles concert in the District, where singer Don Henley began criticizing the evils of Disney and corporate America. Miss Ingraham said the crowd in her section responded by shouting, “Shut up and sing.”

“The ‘Shut Up and Sing’ sentiment captures the frustration many so-called ‘average Americans’ feel toward the elitist mentality, not only of the entertainment industry, but in politics, universities, the United Nations and Europe,” she said.

Miss Ingraham, a columnist for the New York Sun, whose nationally syndicated radio show is carried by about 175 stations, is a no-nonsense conservative populist. She is known as a less-strident version of Ann Coulter, the combative conservative columnist famous for her withering attacks on liberal politicos and left-wing causes.

Miss Ingraham, 38, said her book is intended to be a “love letter to the average American.”

“They’re tired of the Sean Penns and the Kofi Annans lecturing them and trashing their country,” Miss Ingraham said.

“A significant minority within the United States and abroad look down upon American values,” she said. “They are against patriotism, faith and the Second Amendment.”

Miss Ingraham was a criminal-defense lawyer and clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas before her career as a commentator and talk-radio host. Born in Glastonbury, Conn., she said she was raised in a “traditional” household, and her mother worked as a waitress for 35 years.

But there is nothing ordinary about her soaring success. Her book is on the New York Times bestseller list for the fifth consecutive week, and she expects her four-hour daily radio program to be picked up by more stations, including in the District, in the coming months.

Does this mean she’s ready to challenge Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as the country’s leading conservative talk-radio hosts?

“I wish,” she said. “Those guys are all-stars, and have been in radio … for many years. I’m still pretty new to this world and still feeling my way.

“But I would shrivel up and die if my show was entirely focused on politics. I think you win hearts and minds with facts, passion and humor,” Miss Ingraham said. “And you win young minds by knowing the culture, not just by trashing it. I’m a huge [Bruce] Springsteen, Coldplay and Ryan Adams fan … and they are all hopelessly left-wing. Hence the title, ‘Shut Up and Sing.’”

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