Blankley tells his side *

Tony Blankley, who we revealed on Jan. 25 is the new Mr. Right on KCRW's "Left, Right & Center" talk show, explains in today's Times why he took the challenge of matching wits with Robert Scheer and Arianna Huffington every Friday. His mildly snarky op-ed piece says that the station may have had trouble filling the spot "because Santa Monica is unfriendly territory for our kind of people. Or perhaps the conservatives who went on the show got tired of being shouted down by their co-panelists. Maybe they decided it was easier just to stay home and preach to the choir." Anyway, now they've got him:

Why am I doing it? I suppose for much the same reason that 19th century Christian missionaries took creaky steamboats to the ends of the world: There weren't enough heathens left to convert in London or Stockholm back then, just as there aren't enough liberals left to convert in Washington today.

This isn't the first time I have set out to turn the liberal tide in Southern California. I was born in London, but I grew up in L.A. . And, although it was not the Democratic Party bastion it is today, the whole darn country was liberal back then. When I debated capital punishment at John Burroughs Junior High in 1960, only 35% to 40% of Americans supported it. Today more than 70% do.

I always had a taste for campaigning deep behind the lines (although this time I'm doing it over the airwaves, since I'm not actually leaving Washington, D.C.). In 1964, I went door to door passing out campaign literature in the Fairfax District and discovered just how much strength those old folks had when they slammed their doors in my face. I rarely got much past, "Hi, I'm from Goldwater for President Headquarters, and . "


The audience is extraordinary for a conservative: These are listeners who would never be caught tuning in to Rush Limbaugh. If we were on television, they would surely grab for their remotes and mute my heretical words. But on radio sandwiched as I am between Scheer and Arianna I have my chance.

If I can convert just a couple hundred thousand West Coast liberals to the great conservative worldview, California could be competitive for Republicans.

Air time is Fridays at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., at 89.9 FM and on the Internet.

* Not sure why Blankley omitted mention of Matt Miller, but in response to some email, yes Matt still holds down the center (by LR&C reckoning) and most weeks is the show's moderator.

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