Conservative talk radio is a lot crazier than it used to be, according to former House Speaker John Boehner, who ripped hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for going “to the dark side” in the pursuit of ratings.
Boehner argued in a series of interviews with Politico writer Tim Alberta that Hannity and Limbaugh had become radicalized by competition from rival Mark Levin.
“I always liked Rush. When I went to Palm Beach I would always meet with Rush and we’d go play golf,” Boehner said. “But you know, who was that right-wing guy, Levin? He went really crazy right and got a big audience, and he dragged Hannity to the dark side. He dragged Rush to the dark side. And these guys — I used to talk to them all the time. And suddenly they’re beating the living shit out of me.”
Hannity currently enjoys a close association with President Donald Trump, but it’s very likely that once the conservative establishment — the network of activist groups, radio hosts, website operators and think tanks that effectively constitute the entirety of center-right media — decides that Trump is no longer useful to them, he will likely turn on Trump as well.
It’s hard to point to when the change happened exactly, but it is true that Limbaugh had much closer relationships with Republican politicians in his earlier life. For instance, in 1994, he was named an “honorary member” of the House of Representatives. He was also in regular communication with both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, even being invited to stay nights in the White House.