The Folly of Fighting Limbaugh

March 6th, 2009

We’re in deep economic trouble, and it’s been getting markedly worse since Barack Obama became president.  That seems to be because the President himself has spread some doom and gloom, action to address the problem is a confused mess, and many people, most notably business and Wall Street, have little confidence in what’s being done.  So what are the White House and leading liberals doing?

They’re attacking Rush Limbaugh.  This may go down in the annals of politics as one of the dumbest moves ever.

The primary justification for their attacks is Limbaugh’s statement, first made on his radio program and then in his speech at CPAC, that he hopes President Obama fails.  Like most people who attack Limbaugh, they rarely if ever listen to his program, and they cherry-pick quotes to criticize.  The fact is, Limbaugh thinks Obama’s goal is a sweeping transformation of the U.S. into a European-style socialist state and he’s using the economic crisis to accomplish it.  That’s why Limbaugh hopes Obama fails.  If you were a conservative who believes in free-market economics, low taxes, and individual freedom and responsibility, then you would also hope that he fails.

There’s some justification for Limbaugh’s concern.  Rahm Emmanuel has said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is that it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before.”  When arguably the second-most powerful man in the U.S. says that, then you see bailout and stimulus legislation chock-full of stuff right off the liberal agenda, some of it not even remotely related to economic recovery, you have to pretty much understand Limbaugh’s point of view.  As he sees it, Obama is not only talking down the economy when he should be talking it up, he’s using it to advance the liberal agenda with economic recovery as apparently a secondary goal.

Then comes Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee.  I won’t hazard a guess as to why the Republicans picked him for that job.  I could, but I won’t.  They’ve sent a guy with a knife into a political gunfight.  Compared to him, Sarah Palin looks like Alberta Einstein.  Steele stepped all over himself in a CNN interview.  When it was stated that Rush Limbaugh is the de facto head of the Republican Party, Steele took exception:

“No he’s not. I’m the de facto leader of the Republican party,” Steele said. The RNC chief went on to call Limbaugh, who that very day delivered the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a mere “entertainer” whose show is “incendiary” and “ugly.”

Not smart.  Not smart at all.  Like the chorus from Jim Croce’s great song warned,

You don’t tug on superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask of the ol’ lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with…Rush!

Limbaugh responded on the air,

Okay, so I am an entertainer, and I have 20 million listeners, 22 million listeners because of my great song-and-dance routines here. Yes, said Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I’m incendiary, and yes, it’s ugly. Michael Steele, you are head of the RNC. You are not head of the Republican Party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the RNC and right now they want nothing to do with it, and when you call them asking them for money, they hang up on you. I hope that changes. I hope the RNC will get its act together. I hope the RNC chairman will realize he’s not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it, and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats do not nominate our candidates. It’s time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you’re having a tough time pulling off. I hope you figure out how to run a primary system. But it seems to me that it’s Michael Steele who is off to a shaky start.

OK, so the Republicans are in a little squabble.  Not unusual, given that a party goes through a period of leaderless confusion, to one degree or another, when a presidential candidate loses.  But here come the Democrats, seeing an opportunity here to further damage the Republicans.  Typical politicians.  Surrogates like James Carville and Paul Begala, choreographed from the White House by Rahm Emmanuel and Robert Gibbs, see this as an opportunity to hurt Limbaugh, the nemesis of Democrats for the past 20 years.

So who will get hurt most?  Certainly not Limbaugh.  He’s long maintained that he’s a conservative first and a Republican second, supporting Republicans only when they adhere to conservative principles.  His 20-plus million listeners a week aren’t going to turn against him; in fact, this ill-conceived kerfuffle has already increased the number of his listeners.  The Democrats aren’t going to hurt him–he relishes the fight.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are putting the lie to Obama’s promises of hope, change, and an end to partisan fighting.  With the economy in the tank and millions of us hurting, the President and his minions show their true colors by using the crisis to advance their agenda, while taking time to engage in a cheap partisan political fight.

I didn’t vote for Obama, but I had high hopes for him.  He said all the right things, and he started out looking good.  But the economy has gotten worse and worse, and Obama may be proving himself to be just another partisan hack–assuming, of course, that his senior staff and his party haven’t gone totally rogue on him.  Either way, he’s beginning to look like a serious disappointment.  By the time Rush is through, he’s likely to look even worse.


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4 Responses to “The Folly of Fighting Limbaugh”



  1. Kevin |

    Rush Limbaugh is the political equivalent of an ambulance-chaser, with the morals to match.

    The “socialism” cannard finds fertile ground among the ignorant and feeble minded. Which just happens to be Limbaugh’s prime demographic. I should know, I used to be a Limbaugh “dittohead” way back when I was much younger and vastly more ignorant.


  2. duggy |

    I agree with your assessment of the rush to attack Rush.
    Obama has gotten off to a miserable start with his much heralded “Change”. It doesn’t help that he is following the old adage of “if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck”. The same is true about socialism whether it be Obama or Chavez. I applaud Limbaug’s efforts to stand up for what he believes is in the best interest of this nation.


  3. Tom |

    Kevin, I really don’t think Limbaugh is an ambulance chaser, and I don’t think all his more than 20 million weekly listeners are ignorant and feeble-minded. I’ve listened to him off-and-on since the early 90s, along with lots of other talk radio. I listen sometimes now, maybe 3 or 4 shows a month. Limbaugh is a conservative, for certain, and I don’t agree with everything he says. But he’s well-informed, makes a strong effort to be accurate, and he’s also very funny and entertaining. I few years ago, I listened to Air America and various conservative talk hosts for a while in order to compare them. Here’s part of what I wrote about the comparison:

    What I’ve heard [on Air America] has been disappointing and discouraging. Instead of reasoned discussion of liberal views, I heard wild rants, distortions of truth, disregard for or ignorance of facts, and an unsettling amount of bigotry. Added to that are crude language and personal insults of a kind rarely heard in serious media programming. …

    I know that some conservative talkers, like Michael Savage, are also over the top. But the extremists aren’t promoted as the saviors of conservatism, the voices in the wilderness delivering truth. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, is moderate compared to much of what you hear on Air America. His humor, optimism, courtesy, and concern for being factually correct put Air America to shame.


  4. doris |

    I listen to Rush, occasionally and I listen to laugh. I find him arrogant and close to idiotic. He clearly stretches the truth to the conservative side, clearly. Who cares if he wants Obama to fail??? Who gives a rats rear what he wants? He has a lot of listeners, but I think a lot are like me, listening for entertainment, not facts and ideas. You gotta admit, Obama came into a huge, horrible, republican engineered economic disaster. He is trying and maybe not succeeding, but I think it was too far gone before he arrived. Now we are just riding the train to the bottom of the ravine, Obama is throwing us a rubber band, not much use.


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