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.
Any up and comer [e.g. Sarah Palin] will be defined before they get out of the chute. Nothing conservative will get the middle until the country hits bottom. Nobody every votes to be responsible until and only as long as they have to. To hell with the middle. That is the fastest way to bring them to Jesus.
Because it's easy to target those who are already the favorite targets of the media, and he wants to be liked. It's sort of like kicking a man when he's down, (or perceived to be down politically). This guy is a coward through and through.
If you visit David Frum’s website, Newmajority, the posters over there say conservatives need to be more like Arlen Specter and kiss up to the Messiah. Not much difference between Frum’s site and Daily Kos.
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?
I understand, but we can only win if we garner the moderate centrist voter or we can write off another one. What do you propose then to address the situation?
Frum = the voice of the “New Castrati”
Any Marine can tell you it wasn't an "anonymous American soldier ", and this lax LD obviously can't be relied upon to do elementary research or understand simple concepts such as "conservative".
Lloyd W. Williams (Jun. 5, 1887 - June 12, 1918) was an officer in the United States Marine Corps who served and died in World War I.
A famous saying is attributed to Captain Williams, who was serving as a company commander in the 5th Marines. When advised to withdraw by a French officer at the defensive line just north of the village of Lucy-le-Bocage on June 1, 1918, he is said to have replied: "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!" Captain Williams would not survive the ensuing battle, and was posthumously promoted to major and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
A member of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute class of 1907, Major Williams Hall was named in his memory in 1957. He is also considered to be the first known person from Virginia to die in the First World War.
Frum is certainly one of the castrati Belle.
It is SNOWE and SPECTER
Get details right and you might may sense
Exactly. The dems are petrified that people will figure out Obama by listening to Rush. Why else would they so desparately try to bring him down. It’s a joke. They are quaking in their boots. I believe that most of the dems know Rush is right too.
Frum isn’t saying anything new.
Poppycock. Barak Obolshevik is destroying America in an unprecedented way, and doing it as though he belives there is no tomorrow. T'won't be long my friend, before people start to see just how right Limbaugh is most of the time. A national crisis can bring people together better than any leader can, and we are about to suffer the worst economic times since the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. I believe Republicans will unite soon, to bring down this arrogant, lightweight, inept, racist President Barak Obagjob.
Get details right and "I might may sense"? LOL Now you see how stupid it is to target trivial mistakes like spelling and typos just to discredit the larger, more important core of the message? I sure hope so.
Nope, I think they're just too clueless. Rush's truths are the absolute opposite of what libs think and believe, so he horrifies them.
I remember when the Republicans were making Tip O'Neill the butt of humor during the first couple years of the Reagan Administration, but the libtards have not yet figured out that Rush is not an elected official. By attacking him, they do two things: Aim their fire at someone besides elected Republicans, and give him the eventual power to figure very large in our next Presidential nominee.
After Zero body slams the economy to the canvas, people will be ready to hear the voice of reason say, "I told you so".
Kick Frum and Noonan and Brooks off the plantation.
Rahm, Paul & James have overplayed their hand. Dems are now tuning in to Rush in greater numbers - this being a bandwagon culture, if something’s on TV every night, they need to check it out. When they do, they are panicking, because they find out that he’s not, as they were told, the Olbermann of the right, but is saying things that make sense.
Now, having attacked Rush, if the WH continues down the path towards pushing talk radio off the air, the fence-straddling “centrists” might just realize that we’ve got a problem. (If the need to move back into their parents’ basements hasn’t clued them in already.)
How can Mary Matalin raise kids with Carville? He can’t possibly hide his nature long enough for her to get any values across.
Frum can take his “Democrat Lite” and shove it up his ass. If these friggin idiots who call themselves Republicans don’t get it by now, they never will.
How utterly ridiculous to compare the physicality, personality, personal history, etc., of Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama as individuals!
Rush is human, as is Obama, and both have human flaws. The media and others have been diligent to inform us and remind us of Rush’s imperfections, while apparently remaining incurious about Obama’s.
This has to do with philosophy, ideals, ideology! Rush Limbaugh is much more attractive than Barack Obama in every way, imo.
then its too late.
we did go after the moderates. we had an amnesty moderate for our candidate.
next time I guess we just co-nominate Obama.
Maybe that would work!!
So you are one of those party-over-principle people.
Shame on ypu.
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