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‘Why God Created Roger Ailes,’ by Howard Fineman

Ailes_1.16.jpgNewsweek’s Howard Fineman thinks he knows who the de facto head of the GOP is: it’s Roger Ailes. Fineman, an MSNBC political anaylst, knows Ailes. Ailes “counseled” him before he signed up with MSNBC, “so consider this an assessment penned by a frenemy,” Fineman writes.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum-which is why God created Roger Ailes. The president of Fox News is, by default, the closest thing there is to a kingmaker in Anti-Obama America. And that, in turn, makes him the de facto leader of the GOP. In a relentless (and spectacularly successful) hunt for cable ratings, Ailes has given invaluable publicity to the tea partiers, furnished tryout platforms to GOP candidates, and trained a fire hose of populist anger at the president and his allies in Congress. While Beltway Republicans wring their hands or write their tracts, Ailes has worked the countryside, using his feel for Main Street resentment to attract and give voice to this year’s angriest — and most powerful — voter-viewers…

As for Ailes’s latest hire: Sarah Palin, Fineman writes, “Her marathon session with [Glenn] Beck was a chiffon of ignorance, hairstyling, egotism, and shtik. Palin had a moment of panic when Beck asked her, in the friendliest of ways, to name her favorite Founding Father. ‘All of them,’ she said nervously. Prompted by Beck, she settled on George Washington.”

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