Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rush to the Right

Have you been following all this Rush in the news? Good Lord.

The story is basically this:  
Democrats are saying, "Hey look, Rush Limbaugh is now the leader of the GOP! Hahahahaha!" 
Republicans are split into two camps:  
Some say, "Nah, Rush is just Rush, a radio guy, an entertainer." 
While others say, "What's wrong with Rush? Rush is right!"
There's been some good reporting about how this whole line of discussion was planted by Democratic strategists as early as October 2008. And it's easy to see why. Rush is ridiculous to 75% of the country. But Republicans can't throw him under the bus, because that other 25% run their campaigns.

I've been surprised how well this line of attack has caught on. I admit I thought it was a little lame when I first heard about it. I mean, isn't Rush so 90s? So he said he wants Obama to fail. Hasn't he always talked like that? 

But both Letterman and Leno have picked up the meme, not to mention Stewart and some of the other usual characters. And in a way that doesn't easily lend itself to linking to funny videos, the notion that Rush is the Republican leader has just, well, caught on. The message might have come from the left, but it stuck in the middle.

I think it's caught on because it's true. What other single person is more influential, more of a leader, within the Republican coalition than Rush? And if he is patently ridiculous and there's no real difference between what he's saying and what Republican politicians are saying, then aren't they ridiculous too? If those politicians criticize his statements but then have to come crawling back to apologize, doesn't that tell us who is the dominant partner in the relationship?

And man, seeing the Republican politicians line up to apologize to Rush has been a little sad but very revealing about the party's balance of power. Kudos to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for having the with-it-ness to launch a website called I'm Sorry Rush that hammers home the point.

There have been a couple of prominent Republicans who have managed, to varying degrees, to set themselves apart from Rush (see here and here). But the fact that such things are even news sort of proves the Democrats' point.

Let's face it. The GOP isn't finished shrinking yet. When a party shrinks, it loses moderates first, making it more extremist and even less appealing to moderates. As most moderates head for the exit, the few of them who remain take a look around the party and see it's now mostly Limbaughs and, God forbid, Coulters. 


Mark said...

Yesterday, I saw James Carville running in Audobon park. You see the Ragin' Cajun is working out body and mind!

Better Than Machines said...

That's awesome. He don't quit!

Seriously, I think he is one of those celebrities I'd be genuinely happy to see.

Becky said...

I'm intrigued by the idea that the GOP is really shrinking. What do you think is going to happen with them? Rush does seem to be a powerful symbol of the spot they're in.

Al Franken's book on Rush should be required reading. Still hilarious.

Scott said...

Between Jindal, Limbaugh and Steele, it's hard for me to believe the Republicans are ever going to be serious political players again (not that they were ever that serious in the first place).

Camp Papa said...

We can know them by their fruits...and their nuts.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Republican leadership may wane, but the Republican ideals will always remain in queue for a great figure to use as a rally point to energize the masses of Americans whose core is built on Republican principle.

delaine said...

Ok, I've given it some thought, and I can't think of any good purpose Rush serves. Most of what he says is hate filled and does not promote the common good. Who needs that stuff going into their ears ? Not me !