Monday, February 2, 2004


Laura Ingraham

Regnery, $27.95, 368 pages

Conservative radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham’snew book, “Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America,” exposes the hypocritical mindsetand agenda pervading this country’s liberal elites.

The no-nonsense Miss Ingraham, a columnist for the New York Sun, takes on liberal politicos and left-wing causes both in her nationally syndicated talk show and in her book. Hailed as a peer of Ann Coulter, Miss Ingraham doesn’tholdbackthe punches when it comes to promoting her conservative convictions. In Bill O’Reilly-style rhetoric, she isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade or name names in order to fight injustice and corruption.

In “Shut Up and Sing,” Miss Ingraham takes a politically incorrect view of an elite mindset bent on destroying the values of Middle America. Miss Ingraham, who calls the book “a love letter to the average American,” cites numerous examples where elites infringe on the rights of average Americans.

She believes the elite agenda is comprised of six core beliefs: 1) they are smarter than the average American; 2) there is no objective morality; 3) there is no “real religion”; 4) the only place to really live and experience culture is in a major city on either coast; 5) every minority is oppressed; and 6) we live in a global community. And, of course, as Miss Ingraham reiterates throughout the book, elites think that you are stupid, that your SUV is evil and that war is not the answer.

Miss Ingraham debunks these liberal elitist myths with wit and humor. Key chapters include “God, You’re Fired,” on the elite’s attempt to eradicate religion from society, and “Bordering on Insanity,” an insightful look at lax immigration policies that threaten America’s national security.

Miss Ingraham advocates a populist conservatism that champions moral traditionalism. The book’s witty title originated from an experience Miss Ingraham had a few years ago while attending an Eagles concert in the District. When Don Henley, the lead singer of the band, began criticizing the evils of Disney and corporate America, the crowd in Miss Ingraham’s section responded by shouting, “Shut up and sing.” The fans had paid good money to hear what Mr. Henley does best: sing, not mouth off anti-American gibberish.

According to Miss Ingraham, “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 argues that this anti-American, anti-capitalist and anti-Christian worldview is prevalent among many of America’s elites in politics, the media and Hollywood.

Among her targets are Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Peter Jennings, Sam Donaldson, Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, to name a few. These and other prominent figures consistently attack the values of patriotism, self-reliance and hard work that have made America the country that it is. And for the past few decades, they have also sought to undermine the religious underpinnings that have been pivotal to the development of American democracy.

Miss Ingraham believes that mainstream Americans are tired of having the country they love and honor belittled by leftist internationalists. “They’re tired of the Sean Penns and the Kofi Annans lecturing them and trashing their country,” she says. “A significant minority within the United States and abroad look down upon American values. They are against patriotism, faith and the Second Amendment.” This is what motivated Miss Ingraham to write her book.

Miss Ingraham is the daughter of immigrants. She was raised by a mother who waited tables for a living. She strongly believes in the heroic virtues of Middle America. It was precisely those “red state” Americans that elected President Bush in 2000. She rightly warns that if liberal elites continue to disparage traditional America, they will relegate themselves to permanent political minority status. They would be wise to start singing a different tune, or else face an endless succession of electoral defeats.

Loredana Vuoto is an assistant editor on the national desk at The Washington Times.

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