Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Intellectual Right and Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh illustration by Rex Lameray>

The NYTimes' Weekend Opinionator has the following amid a long analysis in the continuing Rush Limbaugh drama from former George Bush speechwriter and neo-con role model David Frum:

“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"

And …

“… We are gradually shrinking from our former ambition—to govern—and 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.”

I'm not one who wants to get into a self-destructive peeing contest with a man who's chewing through the Seven Deadly Sins at an astonishing rate, but Limbaugh and people like him on both the right and the left are largely responsible for the state of discourse in America. One of the primary reasons I so strongly support a reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine in our media is that people like Limbaugh fail when the debate is joined by those with some sense and these opponents are not demonized without recourse, sitting quietly in the corner while being verbally whipped with a cat o' nine tails with no access to a microphone.

Our country likes to think of itself as being, first, fair. This odd abberation has never been fair, never will be and should be eliminated. Right now. We don't need to castigate Rush Limbaugh for doing what he does any more than we need to castigate a wild animal for viciously killing other wild animals. But we needn't allow them into our neighborhoods, either.

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