Orlando morning radio man Pat Campbell on the intense pressure to Lawn Boy Ric Keller’s decision to go white flag yesterday in the House.
HH: What a pleasure now to welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show a friend of mine on the airwaves, Pat Campbell. Pat is the morning drive guy in Orlando. He’s been at AM540 for a few years. He booms out every morning great good news. He’s one of the pros in our business. Pat, good to talk to you.
PC: Always a pleasure to be on your program, Hugh. I’m honored.
HH: Well Pat, I thought of you immediately when I played on the show yesterday Ric Keller, we’re now calling him Lawn Boy Ric Keller, or Ric Runs Like A Deere Keller, we played that, and I said where is this guy from, I’ve never heard of him, and I don’t mind time-serving back benchers, Pat, but he’s your Congressman.
PC: He is, he is, and the lawnmower analogy is certainly one that’s going to go down in the history books. Our listeners, who really are Ric Keller’s voting base here in Orlando, are livid. They’re calling him Benedict Arnold. I don’t know what’s going on with him. It’s one thing…he’s expressed these views before on the radio, but to actually go on the floor of the House and be one of the traitorous 12 as they were initially…I’m hearing, Hugh, they’re up to 17 now? Is that correct?
HH: 17 total.
PC: 17 total. It just blows my mind, and he is, he is undermining the President, he’s demoralizing the troops, he’s giving aid and comfort to the enemy, he has committed, if I’m to believe my listeners who are, like I said, absolutely livid, he’s committed political suicide. I mean, caller after caller not only to my show, but our afternoon host, Bud Hedinger as well, you know, not only do they regret the fact that they voted for him in the past, but they’ll never vote for him again.
HH: Now Pat, this is what I wanted to get to. I have been on the phone with a commander in the United States Navy, active duty about to retire. The guy’s got an advanced degree in politics, he’s been a teacher, he is a combat veteran of the first Iraqi war, and he’s from Florida. And so he asked me, should I move back there…and he’s livid…should I move back there and run against the guy? I brought it up last night on the show, I have probably $25,000 dollars in pledges to give this guy. Can Ric Keller be retired in a primary?
PC: Well, first of all, Keller’s already got some problems, because you see, I think it was…when he ran the first time, I’m trying to remember if it was 2000 or 2002, before I got here, he’s one of these guys that made a term limits pledge, and he’s already announced that well, in retrospect, that wasn’t a real smart thing to do, so he’s already reneged on a promise he made to voters, and announced that he’s going to be running in 2008. So that’s already going to come back to haunt him. There are a number of others…there’s a Republican candidate, a local attorney, Todd Long, who’s already thrown his hat into the ring, but yeah, it’s going to be open season for Ric next time around.
HH: And so you do think it’s possible to take him out with enough money and enough support?
HH: Now tell me about Orlando a little bit, because I’m not on in Orlando…
PC: Oh, you are. You actually are in Orlando, on another radio station which I cannot…(AM660 WORL)
HH: Oh, that’s great. I didn’t know that.
PC: You are here.
HH: Sorry, Orlando. Anyway, but Pat rules the mornings, in any event. Would they support a veteran who’s just come back off of active duty and moved there? Or would he be denounced as a carpetbagger?
PC: I’d support him in a heartbeat. Keller would try to play the carpetbagger thing, you know, because…here’s the thing, though. There are so many people living in and around Central Florida that have only been here five years or less because we’ve had such a tremendous migration, you know, from the north.
PC: And you’re not an oddity. This…I resent that, because you know, I’ve even talked with Keller about that myself, how long you have to be here, you know, to be considered worthy. I mean…
HH: And veterans get to retire and go to where they’re from. He’s from Florida. He’s just from Tampa.
PC: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
HH: Now let me ask you as well about Orlando. Is it becoming more or less conservative? Because the margins have been getting closer for Keller, which is why I think he did this boneheaded move.
PC: Yeah, we are a very strong conservative area. You look at the Congressmen in our area, you’ve got Ric Keller, you’ve got John Mica, you’ve got Tom Feeney, all Republicans.
HH: Feeney’s a great man, he’s a great American.
PC: Which one?
PC: Feeney, yes.
HH: So what…how did this guy get there?
PC: Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Keller, he’s sort of evolved over the last couple of years. You know, I know this guy. I’ve talked with him personally, and I don’t understand why he’s doing this now. And what bothers me even more is another one of the twelve, the original twelve, is my former Congressman from Eerie, Pennsylvania, Phil English, who is a great guy, and he’s usually right on.
HH: Wait a minute. You’re from Eerie, Pennsylvania?
PC: I was born in Buffalo, but I grew up in Eerie, yeah.
HH: Did you go to Camp Notre Dame?
PC: No, but I know…one of my brothers did, as a matter of fact. Why, did you go there?
HH: Oh, I went to Camp Notre Dame every summer, yeah.
PC: Get out of here.
HH: Yeah, Roman Catholic Irish kid. You know, that’s where they sent you.
HH: The Gannon boys came over and…
HH: …thank goodness none of them went to jail for messing with the campers, but that was…yeah, I’m from Warren, Ohio, so I know your part of the country well.
PC: Good, good.
HH: Now anyway, let’s go back to him. Did you ask him to come on the program?
PC: When he originally came out with this position, yes. And he came on and he explained it. And he was able to articulate it in a way…he said look, he said I don’t think we should commit any more troops. He said…and he worded it differently at the time. He said his thing was to get the Iraqis to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their own country. And when he worded it that way, it made sense, okay? But what he’s done now, you know, clearly, again, on the floor of the House, he’s undercutting, undermining the President. This is like betraying a family member. I mean, you just don’t do this kind of garbage.
HH: And the guy’s a Vandy lawyer, a Vanderbilt lawyer. But he sounded like an idiot.
HH: I mean, the lawnmower stuff?
PC: Yeah, we had a little fun with that on the radio.
HH: Well, I think Lawn Boy Ric Keller is permanent.
HH: There’s a debate whether or not it ought to be Ric Runs Like A Deere Keller, but I’m leaning towards Lawn Boy. Have you heard of the Victory Caucus, yet, Pat?
PC: No, sir.
HH: Go to www.victorycaucus.com. You’ll see they’re running a Photoshop contest on him right now. So is he a smart guy? Or is he just a time-serving back bencher?
PC: You know, I think he has taken a calculated political risk here. He really…I think he thinks he’s on the right side of this issue at this time, and he’s, I don’t know, jumping ship like a good rat.
HH: Oh, my goodness. Hey Pat, I want people to know how to find your website, so that they can…you’ll be tracking this one very, very closely…
PC: Oh, absolutely.
HH: And we’re going to become pals, because I’m going to…whether or not my friend goes back there and runs, or whether it’s somebody else, I’m for anyone who’s not Ric Keller. And honestly, the body bags are permanent comment? I will never forget hearing that and saying this guy’s got to go.
PC: Well, our website’s www.540wfla.com. And when you go there, just type in the keyword Pat, and that will take you to my page. In fact, I’ve got the video up of his five minute, whatever it was, one second speech from the floor of the House, where he gets into the lawn mowing analogy. And I’ve also got some great e-mail on the website, too.
HH: Oh, you’re blogging. I’m there now. Well, good for you. Last time we talked, it was about blogging, and you promised me you were going to get into this stuff.
PC: No, no, no. This is the station’s website. There’s also a link to my blog from that as well. It should be on the left hand side of the scroll.
HH: Oh, there it is. Good work.
PC: I maintain both. No, you sold me on the blog, and I got on board, I think, it was February of 2005.
HH: Pat’s PC 540. There it is. I’m there. Well, good to chat with you, Pat, and by the way, your afternoon guy’s hammering him, too?
PC: Oh, big time. We call him the Bud man, Bud Hedinger. He’s a former newsman down here in Orlando. He’s got a big following, and yesterday afternoon, it was just wall to wall people crushing Ric Keller.
HH: Well, I hope they keep it up, and I hope whoever you have on from 6-9 drops the microphone.
PC: I got you.
HH: All right. Hey, Pat, always a pleasure. Thank you, friend. We’ll check back with you on the blowback on Ric Keller sometime next week if you’re available. I appreciate it a lot.
End of interview.