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The verdict is in: the Anti-Defamation League has declared Glenn Beck “scarier” than his conservative talk radio rivals Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity!

One name that used to make such silly lists was that of Lou Dobbs. But as everyone knows, the veteran broadcaster abruptly left CNN last week. At the American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord penned a touching, perceptive piece called “I was Lou Dobbs’ Last Guest,” about what sets Dobbs and his fellow pundits apart from their petty critics:

In fact, as with Fox News, all of talk radio itself is in the midst of a golden era of creativity, from founding father Rush Limbaugh to Hannity and Levin and Dobbs and Beck all the way down the chain to your local morning drive team. Who could possibly have imagined the O’Reilly Factor except for – Bill O’Reilly? Who could have created the Rush Limbaugh show except – Rush Limbaugh? Who could dream up the Beck shows – except Beck? These are just a few of limitless examples of what creative people – in any field they call their own – can do when they have the freedom to create, to use their talents and skills to make their Swiftian visions come true. Ironically, it might even be said that liberalism itself – and at the moment Barack Obama – are the necessary irritating grains of sand in the communications oyster that is creating all these conservative media pearls.

Rush Limbaugh

The undisputed highlight of Rush Limbaugh’s week was his interview with Sarah Palin on Tuesday. Normally, Limbaugh’s audio files are members only, but both parts of his interview are available on YouTube – for now (FREE audio): Part one and part two.

Among other things, Palin told Rush, “America’s not ready for a third party.”

A furious unemployed “conservative” caller named Katie had Rush fans talking on Thursday. The good news was her angry rant inspired Rush to deliver what he later called “a legendary monologue” about personal responsibility and the American dream.

Glenn Beck

On Monday’s show, Glenn Beck announced that he and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News were going on the road. Their “Bold Fresh Tour” is already sold out in some cities, with extra shows being added. From their repartee on Beck’s show that day, it sounds like audiences are in for a treat (FREE transcript):

O’Reilly: Beck comes out in full Beck regalia. So he will be dressed as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. He comes down, he’s got the blackboard, he’s got all the accoutrements. He does 35, 40 minutes, you know. He whips the crowd into an apocalyptic frenzy where they are all basically going to buy bunkers when they leave the arena.

Beck: They all have bunkers, Bill. You are the only one who hasn’t committed …

O’Reilly: So Beck presents his vision of the country and then he is removed by a couple of guys in white coats. He is removed so he can rest. And then I come out and I give you the no-spin look at where I think things are heading. So you get two distinctive points of view.

Tomorrow, Nov. 21, Beck promises to unveil something called “The Plan” at the Villages in Florida. Hint: He says, “All next year, this show is changing” (FREE video).

One of the more thoughtful recent critiques of Beck appeared at the Enterprise Blog. Written by the esteemed Charles Murray, it read in part:

“Beck is spectacularly right (translation: I agree with him) on about 95 percent of the substantive issues he talks about,” Murray writes. “He is a full-throated libertarian in a world of wishy-washy Republicans. The man is a gifted communicator. His style doesn’t happen to be one I like, but many times I’ve sat there on my sofa wishing I could make the same point as effectively. … I don’t really want to shut him up. I want him to change.”

Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity wants listeners to get to know their congressmen. This week he announced a new project called Conservative Victory: 2010, to let voters know where candidates stand on the issues.

“We’re putting the tough questions to every candidate, and we’ll give every candidate the chance to respond,” announced Sean.

The interactive web site is just getting under way, so keep visiting as Sean adds more information gleaned from his interviews with candidates.

Like so many of his colleagues, Hannity sat down with Sarah Palin to talk about her new book, “Going Rogue” (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

On Tuesday, David Frum called Sarah Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party” during a debate on Laura Ingraham’s show with pro-Palin filmmaker John Ziegler. It was all downhill from there, with the real yelling starting around thirteen minutes in (FREE audio).

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager occasionally steps away from his radio mic and appears on TV shows like “Hannity.” Now, watching Democratic strategist Bob Beckel do his “Aunt Pittypat” routine is one of the guilty pleasures of watching that Fox News program. Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to give Beckel the ideological vapors, but Dennis Prager’s contrasting calm made Monday’s segment especially entertaining:

Beckel: Do you really believe, in your heart of hearts, would you feel comfortable with [Sarah Palin] being President of the United States?

Prager: More so than the present president, more so than Joe Biden.

Beckel: What? What?!

Prager: There’s no question. With all of what I said about gravitas, in a heartbeat.

Beckel: Prager, you’ve lost your mind. … Y’know, you’re one of the smartest conservatives I know, which is an oxymoron, but for you to say that is amazing.

The exchange on Hannity’s panel makes for this column’s first weekly video highlight, viewable below:

Mark Levin

Like Prager, Mark Levin occasionally guests on other shows. On Wednesday, he didn’t mince any words talking to Don Imus about President Obama, whom he called “an incompetent ideologue and an egomaniac.”

Levin joked that Obama went to China because “he’s visiting all the regimes that he admires” and criticized the President for bowing to so many dubious world leaders, including “one of the inbreds from Saudi Arabia” (FREE video).

Back on his own show, Levin also spoke to Sarah Palin that day, and their chat didn’t disappoint. I think her phrase the “lame-stream media” will likely catch on!

Brian and the Judge

Not everyone was impressed with Sarah Palin during her recent media campaign. Judge Andrew Napolitano, for one, told his radio co-host Brian Kilmeade that she was a “goofball” (FREE audio).

Hugh Hewitt

On Tuesday, National Republican Congressional Committee chair Pete Session announced a new endeavor on Hugh Hewitt’s program. ReverseTheVote.org is collecting money for the GOP nominees running against the most vulnerable Democrats who voted for Obamacare.

“Dig deep and send a message,” urged Hewitt on his blog.

After Hugh played excerpts of Mark Steyn’s new Christmas album on Monday, the CD quickly sold out at Amazon.com.

Steyn called in to the show on Thursday, and talked about how he’s rehearsed before going into the studio to cut the record:

“There’s a great, big, long note at the end of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ that I wasn’t sure I could do,” he said. “I was driving along in New Hampshire singing along with a piano guide, and I couldn’t do the long note at the end, and I was worried about it. And then I took my seat belt off, and I could do the long note, so I was kind of reassured. Fortunately, New Hampshire is one of the remaining jurisdictions in the Western world where you can take your seat belt off. So I was able to do the long note, and then of course, I careened across the median and into the logging truck, but at least I got the final note right.”

Fred Thompson

“The war has been lost,” said Fred Thompson said on his radio show Thursday.

In a nuanced statement about Afghanistan that was quickly picked up in the blogosphere, Thompson added, “I say this because of one sad and simple fact. The president does not have the will and determination to do what’s necessary to win it. His heart’s not in it and never has been. The Taliban knows it. Al-Qaida knows it. Our allies know it. And the American people know it” (FREE audio).

From the left side of the dial …

Sarah Palin was the main topic of conversation on liberal shows this week, too. As Brian Maloney reported, the likes of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough took turns mocking Palin.

Scarborough’s jibes look particularly foolish, given his alleged “conservatism” and his own dismal book sales. (Palin’s book sold 300,000 copies on its first day alone!)

Palin seems unfazed by the sniping. When Mark Levin asked her if she had a message for her “media stalkers,” Palin said they needed to “get a life.”

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