Skip to comments.The Limbaugh schism
Posted on 03/05/2009 7:15:37 PM PST by yongin
For conservatives, the news of the week was Rush Limbaughs speech to the annual CPAC conference in Washington DC. The speech achieved all and more that Rush could have hoped: It was rapturously received by the more than 8,000 conference attendees and broadcast live on Fox News. Better still, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, appearing the next morning on CBSs Face the Nation, acclaimed Rush as the voice, energy, and intellect of the Republican Party.
So everybodys happy, right? Well, everybody except Republicans who care about their partys future electoral chances. As ardently as Rushs fans adore him, Limbaugh is one of the less popular figures in American public life. He polls especially poorly among two groups whom Republicans must attract in the future: independent voters and women. Independents take a negative view of Limbaugh by a 45-22 margin. As for women well Rush himself has acknowledged the problem. Thirty-one point gender gaps dont come along that often, he mused on his Feb. 24 program.
Rahm Emanuel knows what he is doing: The more hermetically he and his team can affix Rushs image to our Republican behinds, the more difficulty we shall have climbing out of the hole we have dug for ourselves.
In a blog post Monday, I pointed out this (not exactly secret) problem. Then I engaged in a rare act of conservative lese-majeste: I actually explained it.
Heres the duel that Obama and Limbaugh are jointly arranging:
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of responsibility, and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.
And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as losers. With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgenceexactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And were cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rushs every rancorous wordwell be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.
Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.
But do the rest of us understand what we are doing to ourselves by accepting this leadership? Rush is to the Republicanism of the 2000s what Jesse Jackson was to the Democratic Party in the 1980s. He plays an important role in our coalition, and of course he and his supporters have to be treated with respect. But he cannot be allowed to be the public face of the enterpriseand we have to find ways of assuring the public that he is just one Republican voice among many, and very far from the most important.
Well, that put the cat among the pigeons! The reaction from my conservative friends has been ferocious. Heres my one-time editor, Rich Lowry of National Review: I find the attacks on Rush from the right mostly stupid, cringe-inducing, and wrong. For good measure, he explicitly described my words as particularly nasty and personal.
But personal is the one thing this dispute is not. What we are arguing about is the kind of party the GOP will be. Over just the past couple of weeks, Limbaugh has compelled apologies first from a Republican congressman, then from the chairman of the Republican National Committee, for criticizing him. He has extracted tributes praising him as aif not theleader of the party from the RNC chairman and the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Not since the Republican wilderness years of 1993-1994 has Rush held such uncontested sway. But back then, Rush was content to play a supporting part. Now he has assumedor been concededthe starring role.
Back in the 1970s, on the eve of the great Republican victories of the 1980s and 1990s, we on the right aspired to displace Americas liberal governing elite with an elite of our owna counter-establishment as journalist Sidney Blumenthal aptly described it. But our last experience of government was a disappointing one to say the least, and the whole problem of government seems to interest us less and less. Increasingly, we are vexed and motivated only by what we call the culture. Its never quite clear what precisely we mean by that: maybe only the sum of all things that annoy conservative-minded people.
We are gradually shrinking from our former ambitionto governand taking our pleasure instead in alienation and complaint. Those journalists who cover the conservative world are surprised by how relieved and happy conservatives seem to be about having lost the 2008 election. No more irritating compromises, no more boring policy debates! We can recline into the pure assertion of conservative dogma, a job nobody does better than Rush Limbaugh himself. As Limbaugh told the CPAC crowd: We need no new policy ideas. Conservatism, he said, cannot be reshaped or reformed, and those who suggest otherwise must be stamped out. And who knows? That view may prevail among Republicans for some long time to come. But if it does, watch out. Just as the American left retreated from politics into the universities in the 1980s, soif Rush has his waywill the American right retreat from politics into the airwaves in the 2000s.
For my part, Ill adopt the justly famous philosophy of that anonymous American soldier who, upon reaching the front line at the Argonne just as the French army was giving way, exclaimed: Retreat hell! We just got here.
Frum couldn’t find his butt with in the dark with a flashlight and map.
Frum’s obviously bummed that T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII is getting more attention from the swells than he is.
Well, Just what are we going to do then?
It seems we are in the same position as the Democrats will be or already are and both parties have been in this delima many times. It seems that when they try to totally appease the left-wing liberals then they aren’t really connecting with the moderate democrats or the Centrist Voter that is needed to win an election.
So just what does this mean? It means that we have to appease the Centrist Voter next election. He is the guy with no direct party and yet still he controls the elections outcome even without a direct representation .
I have stated many times that the Republicans have never won an election and vice versa that the Dims haven’t either without having the Centrist Voter on their side. The Elections are won through the swing voter or the Centrist. Get him and we have another four years, It’s that simple.....................
“Change” was an October Surprise that worked to accomplish this and even tho they lied about it, this was the item of appeasement that it took to pull it off. Don’t y’all remember “It’s The Economy Stupid?” Just who did that appeal too? The Centrist Voter that’s who............
Rush mentioned that Mark Levin popped this pimple today.
Well, everybody except RINO’s who care about RINO’s future electoral chances.
Corrections in all caps.
Well, everybody except RINO’s who care about RINO’s future electoral chances.
Corrections in all caps.
LOL! That was a great smackdown!
The GOP would actually win elections if it listened to Limbaugh. Frum gives us people like McCain and Dole. I guess he thinks those are the kind we need.
McCain was the centrist, Heck, GW Bush was a centrist really. we need conservatives.
I see. Let someone be clear, correct, passionate, and confident about ideas and he is to be shunned. Let someone be muddled, uncertain, low key, and apologetic and he is to be held up as an example.
Rush nailed it. Its not a battle of politics or policies, its a battle of philosophies. We need to know why our ideas are correct down to their roots. Feeling they are right and worshiping their long history is a loosing proposition. The Republicans have done that for over a hundred years had have gotten nowhere.
For the past 20 years, the Republicans have been trying to be really good Democrats. In fact they passed policies the Democrats would not have dared to attempt to pass. They did that in the desperate hope that the Democrats would love them. No surprise. The Democrats ate the Republican’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now the Democrats are eating the country.
“McCain was the centrist, Heck, GW Bush was a centrist really. we need conservatives”
Then just how did we lose? Left-Center-Right, which one swings then?
I agree with Prosouth. You have to hold your base AND capture the middle, The middle hates Rush and right now the GOP loses the middle by about 35 points. The GOP will never win national elections with Rush as the face of the party. He is just too controversial...it is not going to happen. The GOP must develop a young, energetic conservative leader/spokesperson. There are several who can fill the bill but Rush is not one of them.
Frum is an idiot...Rush was so spot on correct about the “ONE” and his plans that it scared the living fire out of the rats...thus the immediate response on Faceless Nation.
Frum called into and was held over on Mark Levin’s show for most of half an hour yesterday. His talk last night was acceptable but his article is so much buddy f$$$ing. We don’t need that kind of internecine abuse.
To apply an old ‘Lone Ranger’ joke...”What you mean ‘WE’, Paleface?!”
Why is Frum using the word ‘we’ with conservatives?
Frum’s an idiot — JMHO
I hope everyone tells Frum what they think of his article.
geez, when 95% of America gets their news from the liberal media and ACORN is registering and voting hundred thousand dead people. how else would it go?
Rush Limbaugh did not cost the GOP votes. The GOP does that by itself. Limbaugh is the only reason a lot of McCain voters even showed up.
What a crock. If most Republicans would only take their fingers out of their arses and ears, and actually listen to Rush, the Republican party would still be in power today, including the WH and both Houses. It isn't Limbaugh who's destroying the GOP, it's those spineless RINOS like Snow, Collins, Spectre and other faux conservatives who are doing the 'honors' of destroying the GOP. Collins and Snow actually lean so far left their breast implants need to be adjusted every week or so. Sen. Spectre leans so far left that the half of a testicle he possesses leans towards his left trousers pocket, where he can play pocket pool and count his change at the same time.
We are in dire need of strong, courageous and wise political leaders, and men like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity, and women like Laura Ingrahm are a damn good start. There's courage in those people, and they possess a real desire to seek truth, wisdom and character, and apply those attributes to mending and strengthening our nation. They are leaders that really do love America for what she has always stood for, namely, righteousness, truth, hard work, patriotism, Christian morals and values. And most of all the character and integrity to live and do as they say. That's precisely why Barak Obolshevik is expending a lot of his time and energy on trying to bring about their demise through censorship.