It appears I was slightly off when, on the day after Election Day 2008, I speculated about which political person of the Republican persuasion would try to give his/her career a jolt by becoming the de-facto leader of a conservative movement against the Obama Administration.
In short, I wondered which member of Congress would step up and become the equivalent to what Edward R. Vrdolyak was in the City Council during the mayoral era of Harold Washington.
NOW I’M NOT at all mistaken in thinking that there are people who are grossly offended that anybody like Barack Obama could be chosen by a majority of the U.S. population to be our president. I’m certainly correct in realizing that some people have a visceral reaction to Obama, and some will do whatever they can to try to portray anything he does as a failure.
But it appears I was wrong in figuring out from where the opposition would be led.
Instead of some otherwise obscure member of Congress from the middle of Nowheresville, U.S.A. trying to turn himself into a significant politico, it appears we’re getting an attempt to lead this movement by the blowhards of Right Wing Radio.
Yes, I’m talking about Rush.
LIMBAUGH, THAT IS.
By now, anybody who cares what the one-time aide to the Kansas City Royals baseball team thinks about anything (personally, I wouldn’t even care what he thought about baseball) knows that Limbaugh this weekend spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he made it clear he intends to use his microphone to persuade all those rural residents who hear him on the hundreds of tiny radio stations that carry his program across the country to stir up enough resentment among the potential voters that those people put pressure on their members of Congress to get them to vote “no” on anything that Obama wants to do.
It would appear that Limbaugh is determined to prevent his career in radio from becoming a thing of the past (personally, I can’t remember the last time I listened to one of his broadcasts) by becoming the vocal leader of the Obama opposition.
Now this is a free country. If Rush wants to be a blowhard on the air, he has every right to do so – as long as anyone is willing to pay him for it. If anyone out there seriously finds his drivel entertaining (it certainly isn’t informative), they have every right to listen to him.
BUT I’M EXERCISING my right to ignore his broadcasts, and to use this commentary to criticize his lack of logic. Seriously, most of Limbaugh’s rants amount to telling people who choose to isolate themselves in rural communities that they’re the only people who ought to matter.
It gets old.
And quite frankly, Limbaugh’s weekend rant wasn’t much deeper than that.
It boiled down to the trite (and selfish) rhetoric that says poor people are being hurt by liberal social policies that try to help them in life, although what the conservatives usually object to is that anybody is bothering to pay attention to people they would prefer to think of as the riff-raff of our society.
PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO a single mother with young children is somehow bad in that it discourages men from being a part of the lives of those children. In reality, it is a policy that recognizes reality – many of those fathers are gone, and the mothers still need help to cope with their children.
But help is bad, according to Rush. And voting for Obama, in the mind of Limbaugh, merely means that the silver-tongued orator has managed to pull a con job on this country so that he can impose “liberal” policies among all of us.
Some non-conservative pundits are making much of the fact that Limbaugh has come right out and used the words, “I want Barack Obama to fail.” In fact, we’re now subjected to broadcast advertising spots that quote Limbaugh, although the audio has been edited so tightly that I want to know what else was said immediately before and after it.
For me, none of these sentiments is surprising.
IT IS THE same rhetoric that we have heard from the social conservative faction of the Republican Party (as opposed to the business-oriented wing that is also conservative on social issues, but not so preachy about it) for years.
It was the faction that gave us two terms of George W. Bush, and probably thinks it is some sort of plot that Bush could not have a successor of his own choosing as president.
These are the same kind of people who held protests in Chicago and in other cities across the United States to show opposition to the Obama Administration’s success in getting a stimulus package through Congress (even if it took heavy Democratic partisanship to pass it).
These protests took on aspects of a mock “Boston Tea Party,” the 1773 protest against British taxation policies that is seen as a major uprising by English colonies that later became the original United States. They want to portray themselves as the equivalent of the original revolutionaries.
WHY CAN’T THESE people realize that the real act of speaking out against what had become U.S. policy came last November when a majority of voters picked Obama? If anything, they’re the equivalent of the backers of George III.
If we, the people of this country, truly supported such Limbaugh-esque ideas, we’d have President McCain to kick around these days.
By stirring up trash talk against Obama, he hopes to bolster his career. Because Limbaugh is at a point where he’s been around for so long (I first heard him during the days of the original President Bush) that people just automatically assume his best days are behind him.
If he could become the face of the Obama opposition, that would make him a significant figure. Keep in mind that not all significant figures are positive influences on our society.
IN FACT, IT could go a long way toward creating a legacy for Limbaugh that would be seen by historians as having some significance.
Because the way things stack up now, Limbaugh as a broadcaster has a lot more in common with Father Charles Coughlin’s racist rants than it ever would with the middle America homespun viewpoint of the late Paul Harvey, whose contributions to broadcasting (which definitely weren’t liberal) will be remembered long after Limbaugh departs the public scene.
EDITOR’S NOTES: Figure out for yourself how nonsensical the rantings of Rush will be (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/01/transcript-rush-limbaughs-address-cpac/) when it comes to Barack Obama.
I’d like to think that political people on Capitol Hill would have enough sense to ignore the (http://chicagoargus.blogspot.com/2008/11/if-obama-is-harold-then-whos-national.html) loopy logic that comes from the lips of Limbaugh.
The American Conservative Union held a relatively uneventful conference last week in Washington (http://www.cpac.org/) until Rush Limbaugh opened his mouth.