Michael Medved starts most mornings with a cup of coffee in one hand, and a stack of newspapers in the other. Pink highlighter in hand, he rapidly brings himself up to speed on the stories of the day.
But last week was slightly different.
The Seattle-based radio host broadcast his syndicated show live from the 2016 Republican National Convention, and he joined the Washington delegation for breakfast July 19.
He arrived just before the publication of an upcoming book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic, and offer his home state’s delegation a short speech about his thoughts on Donald Trump, media, and the convention.
“Your perception of the world is shaped by the media,” Medved said. “If a plane lands on time, or ahead of time it is never news. If something goes terribly wrong with that plane, God forbid, that makes it to the news. The problem is Americans are consuming more news than ever before, and most of the news is bad.”
He warned that this media influence should be of particular concern for conservatives because “this is the way liberals and big government conservatives have always promoted some radical new big government program.
“Liberals base their entire political philosophy on this idea of perpetual crisis,” he said. “But who would rather live at any other time in human history than today?”
The next day he was flanked by dozens of broadcast booths inside “media row”— a converted parking garage across the street from Quicken Loans Arena — as he prepared to go on air. The subject of the day was “Blue Lives Matter,” and he handled questions from all his callers across the political spectrum, despite the fact that he has “voted a conservative for president every year since Reagan.”
He reflected on his 20 years in radio, and on the convention.
“I got involved in radio in 1996 after I started writing books,” he said. “I had been asked to guest host the Rush Limbaugh Show in 1993, back when Rush was more of a mainstream conservative and Republican.
“I would say Rush has gone further off to the edge since then,” Medved said, laughing.
Medved’s humor is contagious, and he wastes no time finding the ironies in life.
“I’m a vegetarian,” he wisecracked, “and I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time. I also don’t own a gun, although I believe in the Second Amendment.”
One of the stations that carries his broadcast ran a tagline that it is the “meat eating-est, gun toting-est station west of the Mississippi” — “As you can imagine, I protested against that,” he said jokingly.
Medved asserts that the conservative movement depends on broadening the base — a serious lesson many think the party should have learned in 2012, he said.
He identifies as white, religious (he is Jewish), and has “pretty conservative values,” but he still thinks the party needs to “win people of different ethnic extractions and different religious groups.”
He is encouraged that the benediction on one day of the convention was performed by a Muslim from American Muslims for Trump. “It’s a small group, but it ought to be larger,” he said.
He also came out strongly in favor of Sen. Ted Cruz’s decision not to endorse Donald Trump. Citing the passion, strength, and conservative principles of Cruz’s words, Medved praised him for drawing attention to the idea that “the conservative cause is more than one man.”
He credited Cruz with drawing attention not only to the presidential race, but also all the crucial conservative downticket races that would appear on the ballot as well, saying all of those candidates deserve support.
“I, for one, salute Ted Cruz. He was conscientious, admirable, and I was not his supporter in the primaries, but I give Sen. Cruz a lot of credit.”
Medved didn’t disagree with Washington delegate Brenda High of Pasco, a Cruz supporter who criticized the Republican National Committee for forcing all 44 delegate votes from the state to be cast for Trump.
“It’s deeply stupid,” Medved said of the party’s treatment of the delegation.
“I completely agree with the Washington state delegation, the people who wanted to vote against Trump should have had their votes counted,” he said. “I understand rule 466b or whatever says that if a candidate has dropped out, you can’t vote for them, but they should have suspended that rule. The delegates should have been allowed to vote their conscience.”
“Trump would have won the nomination anyway, and the party would have looked bigger,” he said.