Fools rush in

(Yes, another tired pun on the word “rush.”)

What do I think on the great debate about Rush Limbaugh and the GOP?  I don’t think there’s any way in which it can be good for the Republican Party to be seen as in thrall to The Mouth That Roared, any more than it would be good for the Democrats to be seen as in thrall to their big fat idiot.  (I will say that I don’t think the DNC chairman wouldn’t call Michael Moore’s rhetoric “incendiary” and “ugly” for fear of alienating his fan base, but I also doubt that Moore would be the star speaker at a gathering of liberal activists.)

Jonah Goldberg defends El Rushbo here.  Among other things, Jonah asks why it’s wrong for Rush or any other conservative to say that he or she wants Obama to fail, considering that Obama’s agenda — to “remake America as a European welfare state” — is one that conservatives naturally oppose.  But there are many ways to say the same thing.  I, for instance, would say that I hope Obama succeeds in turning the economy around, but fails in foisting upon us the big-government programs he is seeking to enact.   Surely, Rush Limbaugh is smart enough to figure out something like this.

Jonah also asks:

Besides, since when did hoping for the failure of ideological agendas you disagree with become unpatriotic? Liberals were hardly treasonous when they hoped for the failure of George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization scheme.

No, but they were certainly called unpatriotic or downright treasonous — and rightly so — if they hoped for the failure of American troops in Iraq.  Maybe war is different; but hoping for bad news in the midst of a major economic crisis does not seem much more attractive than hoping for bad news in the midst of a war.  I would also add that if the Social Security reform did go through, any liberal who stood up and said that he or she hoped it would end in disaster and bankrupt millions of seniors would quickly become public enemy No. 1 to Rush and others — Exhibit A in the case against America-hating liberals.

Obviously, I don’t particularly care for Rush.  I don’t listen to him a whole lot.  I know that, unlike some of the talk radio screamers, he doesn’t insult and berate callers who disagree with him.  I know that, compared to Michael Savage, his show is an oasis of civility, and that in some cases he has readily apologized for using ugly language.  I do, however, know that Rush’s stock in trade is demonizing the opposition and treating Americans with different politics as the enemy.  That, as far as I’m concerned, makes him part of the problem.  Jonah mocks Tom Daschle for complaining about Rush’s broadsides in 2002, but those broadsides really were pretty extreme; Limbaugh basically accused Daschle of treason for criticizing the Bush administration’s conduct of the war and called him “Hanoi Tom” and “Tokyo Tom.”

I do wholeheartedly agree with Jonah’s proposal to bring back Firing Line — the old show hosted by William F. Buckley that featured rational, civil, interesting conservative-vs.-liberal debate.  An online version of Firing Line would be good as well.  I’d participate.

(Cross-posted to RealClearPolitics.com)

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Fools rush in

  1. THD

    You say, “Surely, Rush Limbaugh is smart enough to figure out something like this.”

    Surely, you are smart enough to figure out why he wouldn’t say something like, “I hope Obama succeeds in turning the economy around, but fails in foisting upon us the big-government programs he is seeking to enact.”

  2. jerry

    THD, I am not smart enough to figure out why he wouldn’t say something like that. As he explains himself, how much more money does he need that comes from stirring the pot and angering the people.

    It’s the Republican’s and Conservative’s role to oppose the programs, but not the person.

    Limbaugh’s comments along with the comments of so many of his peers that range from Obama is a socialist to a Muslim terrorist to a non-native American who can’t hold the Presidency are all part of being the disloyal opposition.

    Contrast with Loyal Opposition

  3. Joe

    Many points to refute in this essay. First off, does Miss Young forget that Michael Moore enjoyed an exalted place at the 2004 Democratic presidential convention, sharing a private box with former president Jimmy Carter? If memory serves me correctly, I believe Moore also adressed the convention. Perhaps she can tell me which Democrats have denounced Moore’s inflammatory, partisan, and juvenile rhetoric. I don’t recall a single one. Secondly, apparently Miss Young objects to the wording “I hope Obama fails”, although she states that she understands that it refers to Obama’s anti-conservative policies. Yet in the very next paragraph, she proves that either she doesn’t understand that, or that she is still going to distort that phrase for political benfit when she states that ‘any liberal who hoped that it would end in disaster and bankrupt millions would be rightly castigated’. This is exactly opposite Limbaugh’s thesis. If Obama’s misguided economic policies are adopted, the result will be disaster, bankruptcy, and depression. Ergo, Limbaugh wants them to fail so that our nation will continue to prosper. To equate this argument with the treasonous desire for our troops to be defeated on the battefield is either slipshod reasoning or dishonest politicking. Lastly, it was during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democrats such as Daschle, Reid, and Pelosi argued that they needed a strategy to counter good economic news and successes in Iraq because such news would be bad for Democrats. That, dear lady, is treachery. Whereas the desire to see vindictive and destructive economic policy fail is patriotic.

  4. Revenant

    The obvious left-wing parallel to Rush Limbaugh isn’t Michael Moore, but soon-to-be-Senator Al Franken. Both made/make their livings doing partisan radio shows with bits of political “humor”.

    Michael Moore isn’t the left-wing Limbaugh. He’s the left-wing Riefenstahl. :)

  5. FullSpecDom

    You worked on one of Limbaugh’s books. (Only just saw this post today or I’d have written sooner.) This kind of professional relationship to the subject of your writing, no matter WHAT your expressed opinion, should have been revealed to your readers. What made you think this principle didn’t apply to YOU? Don’t you owe your readers an explanation as to 1.) how you could work for someone like Limbaugh (of whom you say you disapprove on matters of principle) and 2.) why you chose to not disclose this?

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