2016 Bob Dornan OC Scary Hall of Fame: Hugh Hewitt!
When the Weekly began blogging in earnest a decade ago (back in the days when "blogging" was viewed as something distinct from the print edition), I somehow stumbled upon the radio show of OC's own Hugh Hewitt. It was a loud, whiny three-hour screed on KRLA-AM 830—and I knew it was far more important than any of us wanted to give ol' Hughcifer credit for.
Others didn't agree. See, while I was a newbie to the pundit's blabbery, he was old hat to that generation of Weeklings. Founder-editor Will Swaim knew him on a personal basis, and was a frequent sparring partner on KCET-TV Channel 28's Life and Times back in the 1990s. Coker knew him as the inaugural idiot of the Nixon Library, the one who proposed to ban Bob Woodward from ever using the repository's archives because he was "not a responsible journalist." Others had their own negative encounters, but I nevertheless proposed a cover story on the influence Hewitt was having on a generation of conservative bloggers that were pricking the first punctures onto the MSM's reign.
No one liked my idea, and that was that. (I could've sworn I turned it into a news story, but our ever-useless archives don't show proof). But fact is, both myself and the rest of the Weekly were correct. In the decade since my pitch, Hugh has turned into even more of a national figure, one who frequently appears on network and cable news shows, whose created a digital fiefdom, and whose pronouncements (Hugh's hard on Trump! Hugh endorses Trump! Hugh says Trump should step down! Hugh endorses Loretta! Hugh hates Killary!) themselves makes news. But locally, Baby Hewie (the nickname I eventually gave him), registers less than KPFK. His nationally syndicated radio show isn't even broadcast in Southern California anymore, so low are the ratings—even though Hewitt continues to produce it locally (in Brea, I believe).
That weird dichotomy exemplifies what Hewitt represents: simultaneously pointless, yet far more influential than his critics give him credit for. Baby Hewie represents conservativism at its most hypocritical: pompous while claiming humility, elitist while pretending to be populist, opportunistic when telling anyone who'll listen the virtues of being principled, whiny while taking on the airs of Solon. You know the guy's a fool when he counts disgraced local blogger Matt Cunningham as one of his apostles.
I can go on, but Hewitt is now so inconsequential to the Weekly, I've already wasted enough time on him. But the biggest reason we're inducting him into the Scariest Hall of Fame this year, besides his legacy of braying, is because it's Hewitt's brand of conservatism that made Trump possible, no matter how much Baby Hewie insists he doesn't like Trump. And worse of all? If the Cleveland Indians win the World Series, he'll be even more insufferable. Where's Ebola when we need it? Mitigating factor: Hewitt has UCI Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky on as a frequent guest, in a lame attempt to sound bipartisan.
1998: Dr. Bernard Rappaport (deceased), former head of the county's Children and Youth Services
1999: Gloria Matta Tuchman, vendida Santa Ana schoolteacher behind the anti-bilingual education Proposition 227
2000: Jim Silva, former county supervisor and state assemblymember, eternal dope
2001: Lou Sheldon, director of the Traditional Values Coalition
2002: The confirmed offspring of Bob Dornan
2003: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas
2004: Larry Agran, boss of Irvine and the Great Park
2005: Inductee lost in one of our many website revamps
2006: Greg Haidl, convicted rapist
2007: Catholic Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown (awarded retroactively for his pedo-priest protecting ways)
2008: Disgraced, felonious, adulterous ex-Sheriff Mike Carona (awarded retroactively for the whole indictment thing)
2009: Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido (awarded retroactively for a career that saw him go from Aztlanista to the supreme vendido in Orange County—and in a county where Republican Mexicans have a group called the Hispanic 100, that's saying something)
2010: Orly Taitz, Birther Queen supreme
2011: Barbara Coe (deceased), Walking Cigarette/Anti-immigrant godmother
2012: Orange County Register readers
2013: Dana Rohrabacher, slob congressman
2014: Aaron Kushner, Orange County Register destroyer
2015: Curt "Poll Guard Incident" Pringle, Dark Lord of Orange County politics
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.