Ten years ago, I bought my first satellite radio for all of the usual reasons. Commercial terrestrial radio had become a torturous hellscape of 10-minute ad blocks, and, myself, having departed radio for the internet, it just seemed like a dying format. Along with the industry's slow-motion suicide, progressive talk shows as well as talkers like Howard Stern were driven from terrestrial broadcasting due to its dwindling revenue base and the lack of any talk outside of right-wing hate radio.
You can imagine how refreshing it was, then, in the last fading years of the Bush administration, to have discovered both the Stephanie Miller Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, both of which became appointment-listening, especially as my political writing career was advancing upward and my thirst for political news reached an all-time high.
Of course, anyone who's listened to the Hartmann show knows that Fridays were all about "Brunch with Bernie." It was perhaps the second best feature of Hartmann's show, trailing closely behind interview segments in which Hartmann would skillfully destroy the talking points of his various conservative guests. But the hours in which Bernie Sanders took calls and spoke with bold authority about the middle class and the dismal status of the American economy during the dark ride of the Bush administration were almost as compelling.
Whether Bernie was right or wrong on the wonky details didn't seem to matter. The Vermont senator, then in his middle 60s, comported himself just as he does today -- with unwavering articulation and a level of expertise on a variety of domestic issues unrivaled by his peers in the upper chamber of Congress. Even more astonishing was the fact that Bernie absolutely forecasted the Great Recession. In fact, both he and Hartmann seemed to grasp what was forthcoming before Wall Street itself knew.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't take those predictions seriously enough, and was therefore plowed under by the crash three years later.
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