Thursday, January 22, 2009

A wee bit of a Rush

I can't say that I'm fond of the title of Al Franken's 1999 book, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot -- not because I'm a fan of Limbaugh's politics, but because flamethrowing, regardless of ideology, is the real idiocy.

Besides, in my opinion, Big Fat Idiot misses the mark. With apologies to soon-to-be-Sen. Franken, I suggest that a more fitting title might've been, Rush Limbaugh is a Sad Little Man.

Case-in-point, this was Limbaugh's on-air reaction to a magazine's recent request that he submit a 400-word perspective on his "hope for the Obama presidency":
"Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: 'I hope he fails.' ... I would be honored if the (media) headlined me all day long: 'Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.'"
Really, who can blame Limbaugh for exploiting the new administration to salvage his shriveling brand? From Pepsi® to Audi®, IKEA® to State Farm®, advertisers are wrapping their products in a hope-and-change message, so why not allow for an anti-hope campaign if it'll help sell Right Wingnut® Soap?

I do allow for it -- free speech is our constitutional right. It's just not the point.

Limbaugh, like many of the voices wailing from the intellectual desert of talk radio, mistakes contrarian for independent and confuses ideology with patriotism. Every broadcast is a double-dose of Damitol, injected directly into the weak brains of loyal listeners who can't tell bouillabaisse from barnyard waste.

The new occupant of the Oval Office is clear and present evidence that The People have refused Limbaugh's medication. In the process, a sad little man and his sad little band have been sentenced to the margins of American politics. Their own extremism banished them to Fringeville where, fittingly, they get to keep company with similarly exiled left-wing extremists.

For a refreshing contrast, here's how National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg -- a self-described conservative -- reacted to Tuesday's inauguration:

"I am proud of and excited by the fact that we have inaugurated the first black president of the United States. He wasn't my first choice, but he is nonetheless my president.

"Conservatives who try too hard to belittle the importance of this milestone are mistaken on several fronts. First, this is simply a wonderful -- and wonderfully American -- story. Any political movement that is joyless about what this represents risks succumbing to bitter political crankery."

"If Obama lives up to the dreams of his supporters in writing a post-racial chapter for America, he will have at once done more for America than any Democratic president in generations. But he also will have cut the knot holding much of the left together. As an American and as a conservative, I certainly hope that’s the case. He made a good start of it just by getting elected."

Limbaugh, naturally, whines that conservative "sellouts" like Goldberg have "sacrificed the whole concept of victory." Goldberg pays thoughtful, respectful tribute to a "milestone," while Limbaugh rants about "all these victims," deriding those of us who celebrate opportunity and diversity as "the race industry."

Had a satisfactorily conservative candidate won on November 4th, Limbaugh surely would've hailed it as a mandate. Now, quoting the equally mind-numbing Ann Coulter, this sad little man dismisses the result as "the tyranny of the majority."

We can't (and shouldn't) silence Limbaugh, his ilk and his disciples, but we should see them for what they are -- prisoners of ideology. They've decided that the right, as God gives them to see the right, can be accomplished only through the perpetuation of their own tired, failed dogma.

No ideology can stake that claim. Our highest ideal is independence. The only dogma worth perpetuating is the The Constitution of the United States of America. The "concept of victory" we pursue is our collective American victory.

Barack Obama no longer is a candidate -- he's my president. As an American, I'm invested in his success. As an independent citizen, I have a duty to advocate policies that I support and criticize those that I oppose. As one who values critical thought, mindless ideology plays no role in my choices.

And speaking with the independent voice of that citizen-patriot who still uses the brain he was born with, it's clear to me -- indeed, it's beyond credible dispute -- that Rush Limbaugh is a Sad Little Man.