Monday, January 18, 2010

The right shouldn't be scared of Limbaugh

By Rick Morris

I continue to be confounded at every turn at how every major (and minor, seemingly) figure on the right is so completely intimidated by Rush Limbaugh that they will never call him out, regardless of what he does. The complete silence about his asinine Haiti comments over the last week is the latest manifestation of this regrettable trend.

I have chronicled here for a long time about how Limbaugh and wannabe Sean Hannity work against the electoral prospects of principled candidates by offering nothing but party-line hack talking points every day on the air. Due to the influence they wield over the GOP communications apparatus, much of the campaign against Barack Obama ended up being bogged down in lowest-common-denominator slogans rather than substantive compare-and-contrast policy discussions -- ones that the Republicans could legitimately point back to, rather than reflexively defending the failed Bush presidency as Limbaugh and Hannity have slavishly done. Make no mistake, while the American people are waking up to the implications of electing an avowed leftist (errrrr, "progressive") such as Obama to the presidency, they don't have short memories. George W. Bush will never be fully exonerated in the eyes of the American people as a good president (nor would that be deserving, for reasons we previously outlined here), so the inability of the GOP to adopt a message that essentially says "Our bad for what happened before Obama, but as you can see, he's much worse and we have learned our lessons" that would go over like hotcakes with an American populace that only has one alternative at a time -- well, that just proves that Republicans are succeeding in spite of themselves right now.

And that's just indicative of the larger problem, which is that the right wing gives Limbaugh a pass for anything that he does, no matter how damaging it is to the movement that he claims to care so much about. What a nice racket this has ended up being for the leftists: direct enough vitriol towards any clown on the right and everyone will reflexively take up for him, no matter how much damage he does to the chances to implement positive public policy goals.

By now, we have seen the pattern time and time again: Limbaugh sticks his foot in his mouth (such as saying "I hope he fails" when Obama was elected and the smart thing would have been to lie low during the early days of the presidency or his stupid Haiti remarks), he gets attacked and everyone on the right reacts like robots in playing the "hey, he was misquoted/taken out of context" card.

But if this most recent putrid display doesn't cause people to reexamine the way that this man does business, then perhaps nothing ever will.

WHY, at a time when well over a hundred thousand people are ending up dead in the most horrifying of manners, would anybody use their public platform for anything other than a plea for people to live up to the Judeo-Christian principles that made this country great? I'm a big critic of the foreign aid sinkhole myself, but this is not the time for that -- and Rush Limbaugh knew that. He willingly trafficked in the blood of dead people to get himself some cheap attention and that is unforgivable.

I expect to get some disagreement from some of my friends on the right, but if that is the case, I'd like to have them explain to me EXACTLY what could have been positively gained by his remarks. If he wasn't using the crisis to get himself over in the usual fashion, then what on earth was he trying to do here?

Again, to tie back to an earlier point, there is nothing even remotely "conservative" about being a knee-jerk defender of this man, given his slavish devotion to all things George W. Squish. I only wish that more people would remember that, instead of quaking in fear that another Establishment organ like Red State (another unyielding Bush apologist) will call them faint-hearted.

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