Walker’s Vist to Hugh Hewitt

An example of rationalization.

So, in writing my post the other day about the Walker story, I came across the transcript of his visit to the Hugh Hewitt show. At a minimum, it is a cavalcade of nonsensical answers from Walker about the various allegations against him. But it includes the following from Hewitt:

HH: So Herschel, let’s close by talking about Pastor Warnock. I am amazed. I stayed away from the story about the domestic violence against his ex-wife or wife. I can’t remember who he ran over. But I didn’t do that when he ran in the runoff. It’s just not what I do on this show. Are you getting hit by a double standard in the media where the Pastor gets a pass on his double salary and you get hammered on anonymous allegations like this? Is it a double standard, and do Georgians know that?

So, I have several thoughts about this passage.

First, the grossness of “I stayed away from the story” while talking about it just, well, choice and it is a classic example of a partisan commentator claiming to be above it all while very directly attacking an opponent.

Second, I will confess I was unaware of (or did not remember) the particulars, which end up being less sensational than Hewitt’s innuendo suggested. Via the AJC (from 2020): Warnock’s ex-wife calls him ‘great actor’ in police footage of dispute’s aftermath.

Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock’s ex-wife told Atlanta police officers that her husband was a “great actor” after he denied her claims that he ran over her foot with his car, according to body cam footage of the March 2020 incident that aired late Tuesday on Fox News.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in March that Warnock wasn’t charged with a crime and an officer said in a police report that medical officials didn’t find visible signs of injury in the foot. 


He told police that his wife refused to close the right rear passenger door of his car so that he could leave. He told authorities he began to “slowly” drive forward — and then heard his wife accuse him of driving over her foot.

The report said Ouleye Warnock was able to wiggle her toes and that Grady Hospital first-responders were “not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones.”

A good look for a candidate, especially a pastor? Probably not. “Domestic violence” as suggested by Hewitt? Not even close from an evidence-based POV.

Third, this connects directly with my previous post as it is an example of a Republican partisan (Hewitt) rationalizing that his party’s opponent (Warnock) is just as bad, if not worse, than his party’s candidate (Walker) because Warnock did bad things, too. It certainly gives Republicans in Georgia a possible out for voting for Walker over Warnock.

Moreover, I suspect that a lot of Georgia Republicans are willing to say things like, “of course a famous football player sewed some wild oats, but a pastor ought not be getting a divorce!”

Rationalization is a powerful thing.

FILED UNDER: 2022 Election, Media, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    Some of the hardcore Walker supporters try to rationalize it; others, like Dana Loesch, simply don’t care. She said she didn’t care if Walker paid for “600 skanks” to have abortions, what mattered above all else was taking the senate majority.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @CSK: Which, if you’re a fervent supporter of the GOP agenda, is perfectly rational. Sad, but rational.

  3. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: I would sooner vote for a pedophile or a cannibal than a Republican, so it makes sense. The policy outcomes matter more than the quality of the tool used to get there.

    So far, to the best of my knowledge at least, I have not had to vote for a pedophile. Or a cannibal.

  4. wr says:

    And of course Hugh Hewitt has always been a sanctimonious bag of crap, they goyishe verson of Dennis Prager. The word “ooze” was coined to describe them.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    I was so glad to see you say you got to this interview researching Walker. I would have been disappointed to find you regularly read Hewitt.

    Speaking of rationalization, over at LGM Paul Campos quotes Dinesh D’Souza, an even sleazier back of spit than Hewitt, on why GOPs should vote for Walker, it’s all lies from the media, it never happened.

  6. Kurtz says:


    it’s all lies from the media, it never happened.

    But he did give a nod to that by referencing “anonymous allegations.”

  7. CSK says:


    Julie Walker, Walker’s current wife, knows about the woman and the child she didn’t abort. They’ve texted back and forth for years, according to NBC.

  8. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    Oh, I know. I was just saying that the fans have three ways of dealing with this. The first is to decry it as fake news, the second is to rationalize it, and the third is to blow it off as inconsequential.

  9. Kurtz says:


    I wasn’t questioning the story…I was pointing out that Hewitt used a less direct lying media argument.

    As a side note, I saw a video of Gingrich defending Walker as resilient wherein he cited the former RB’s multiple concussions.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @wr: @gVOR08: Among the many reasons that I never made it to the big leagues as a pundit is that, at heart, I’m an analyst and not an operative. So, for example, even when I was rooting for John McCain to beat Barack Obama, I was going to call him out for his horrible choice of running mate and note that Obama, despite being a relative amateur, made a comparatively outstanding choice.

    Hewitt surely thought the same thing. I’m not sure D’Souza is capable of such thinking. Regardless, they’ve made no bones about carrying water for the GOP being their highest priority.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    Steven, thank you for changing the picture. That big, full face, smirking asshole shot of Hewitt was disturbing.

    @James Joyner: Yes. The key to success as a pundit is to find an audience and tell them what they want to hear. You’re too honest a man to make it big that way.

  12. @gVOR08: Credit where credit is due: James must have changed it. I was too lazy yesterday to seek out a new one so used the only one we had in our archives.

  13. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:

    Which, if you’re a fervent supporter of the GOP agenda, is perfectly rational. Sad, but rational.

    My issue all along has had less to do with partisans explaining away the many flaws of Walker. Sad, but rational, as you say.

    My issue is the fervent support for the GOP agenda – authoritarianism as a means to secure unpopular policies – in the age of Trump. Rational, but fascist.