If tugging on Superman’s cape and spitting into the wind are no-nos, then messing around with Rush Limbaugh – while donning the apocryphal moniker of conservative – is sheer blockheadedness. Time and time again, counterfeit conservatism is reconstituted in the columns and commentaries of convoluted right-leaning hyper-intellectuals – David Brooks, Ross Douthat and Chris Buckley come to mind – while attempting to reinvent the movement in order to set themselves apart from the pack.
All the while, conservatives such as me are derided and repudiated as being too narrow-minded, out-of-touch and parochial.
Reconstructing conservatism into a more media-friendly animal, i.e. making it palatable to the Left, while infusing it with an Upper West Side sensibility, complete with nuance and compromised core values, is the goal of these new rightists – and be damned those still clinging to the dinosaur that is musty old one-dimensional Reagan conservatism.
And if the transformation (or rebirth) can be accomplished by going after the most well-known conservative of them all, Rush Limbaugh, it’s bound to garner some extra invites to the best social functions on the East Coast.
Granted, Rush Limbaugh needs no one – least of all me, an unknown, small-potatoes blogger fortunate to scratch out a few hundred hits a day – to defend him or come to his rescue. If there is anyone in the Land of Conservatism who has weathered more storms and has withstood more personal attacks from the outraged cackling masses on the left (and now, some on the right), it is he. Indeed, if anyone can stand up for himself, it is El Rushbo.
Rather, I’d like to take a moment and comment on a much talked about column published on Monday by faux conservative, David Frum.
In taking the position that left versus right has ostensibly boils down to Barack Obama versus Rush Limbaugh, Frum sounds as if he has gotten dibs on rubbing talcum powder on the feet of President Obama after a bath. He gushes like a grandmother lavishing praise on a horrible kindergarten drawing, showering The One with effusive acclaim for his grace and elegance, calling him “soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims.” (Kind of like Senator John Kerry always invoking his service in Vietnam every thirteen seconds).
Summoning my own intellectual Dramamine to keep me from losing my dinner, Frum salivates, “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.”
Yes, Mr. Frum, it was incredibly “disciplined” of the leader of the free world to publicly call for Americans to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh – a man who has quite literally built his success through dedication and hard work, living the American dream – wasn’t it? How astutely presidential of Obama to attack a successful private citizen.
And you’re right, David (if I may call you that) … it was equally “responsible” of the Chief Executive of the United States to say that “catastrophic” results were in store for the country should his stimulus pig-meat spending bill not pass in Congress as soon as humanly possible. It’s a good thing he waited four days to sign it into law.
Incidentally, Mr. Frum, Obama’s devotion as a father and a husband has absolutely nothing to do with the job he is doing as President.
Still, your adoration of him is admirable.
Mr. Frum, if you need a moment, there are paper towels in the back by the radiator.
In commenting on Rush Limbaugh, whose speech at CPAC on Saturday was as energizing and substantive as any given by any conservative in a long time, Frum decides that personal attacks are the way to dissuade Republicans from hoisting the leadership banner atop Fort Limbaugh.
As if taking dictation from Rahm Emmanuel, Frum writes:
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-indulgence – exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word – we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.
When will the little pups realize that no matter how much they yap at the back door or pee on the porch, they’ll never be able to belly up to the bowl and eat with the big dogs?
Frum’s obnoxious elitism – drawn from the liberal’s operational manual – is surpassed only by his contemptibility. While he cavalierly dismisses Obama’s cigarette sneaking as a mere occasional vice, he dispenses a whole lot of fat-catism on Limbaugh for his love of cigars. While Obama’s drug use in his youth is roundly discarded, Limbaugh’s long since conquered bout with pill dependency is exploited. To Frum, Obama is an Adonis who is physically “honed,” while Rush’s “personal bulk” somehow puts a blight on conservatism.
Yes, that’s what the new conservatism is apparently all about – fostering classism, mocking personal triumphs, and scorning appearance.
How petty, Frum. How pompus. How liberal.
And what exactly did Mr. Frum find “rancorous” about Limbaugh’s speech? Was it the idea that Limbuagh wants every American to succeed? That he doesn’t see Americans as victims but as individuals? That it is the individual, and not government, that has made America the greatest nation that has ever existed? These are core conservative principles that have been starving for eloquent and energized articulation for quite some time.
Rush did just that on Saturday.
There was not an electron of hatred or acrimony in his presentation. There wasn’t a scintilla of anger or bitterness therein. Instead, Limbaugh conveyed his awe and love of this country and its citizenry. What he did for those enthusiastic CPACers was inspire and encourage them. He reaffirmed the foundation of the movement. He did not attampt to redefine conservatism as the Frums of the world do. Limbaugh’s was a call to reclaim conservatism and bring it back to its roots.
The funny thing is … while talking heads on both sides of the aisle stumble about trying to develop their “Rush is now the ‘De Facto’ Leader of the Republicans” angle, Limbuagh trudges forward as he has, unchanged, since the day he first entered talk radio – when AM radio was about carrot cake recipies and the golden EIB microphone was still aluminum. He advances and advocates the same brand of conservatism he has since Day One. Two decades in the national spotlight has not changed where he is coming from nor where he would like to see this country go. David Frum, et al, portray Limbaugh as some sort of emerging leader, but Rush is simply doing what he has always done – namely defending the institutions, traditions and values of the United States.
Frum finished up this way:
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 enterprise.
Like “Jesse Jackson was to the Democratic Party in the 1980s?”
Jackson is a race-baiting, corporation strong-arming extortionist whose Sesame Street-like rhyming schemes and cartoonish cadences are as coherent as Barney Frank on peanut butter. This sounds like David Frum attempting to be the “smartest guy in the room,” as Rush often says, with an analogy that could use some cerebral Cialis.
Going after Rush Limbaugh is not a particularly shrewd strategy. It hasn’t proven successful for those who have attempted it. Safe to say, it probably won’t be a winner in the future.
Limbuagh has, for years, been at the forefront of the conservative movement in this country. That the most prominent conservative in America is not a politician, but a radio entertainer, speaks volumes about where the Republican Party is right now (and has been for some time).
The irony here is that if the Republican Party actually listened to Rush Limbaugh, they might win something.