Patterico: ‘The Final Word’?

“Conservatives believe that Americans understand that freedom is the foundation of this country. Too many in America started down the wrong path in the last election. But we can’t hold these people in contempt, and we can’t discount how they will hear the message we preach. Americans are fundamentally reasonable people. And ultimately, our message will win them over — if we preach it in a proud, confident, and positive way.”
Patterico

This, as he says on the Tweet deck, is what he means to be “the final word” in his long-running dispute with Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom over Rush Limbaugh and the whole question of conservative “messaging” in general.

My opinion? I’m not sure that the entire Socratic dialogue, amounting to however many tens of thousands of words over the past two weeks, is as important as any 15-minute segment of the Limbaugh show.

What makes Rush different from any other conservative spokesman is that Rush has an independent platform from which he reaches something like 20 million people weekly. There is no network CEO or programming director who can influence Limbaugh. He can’t be fired or threatened by some little pencil-necked geek: “Don’t say that again, or we’ll put you on 90-day probation — and you know you’re coming up on your annual evaluation . . .” blah, blah, blah.

To quote Wally Onakoya, “He is a man, you know.”

By virtue of his “talent on loan from God,” Limbaugh has utter independence. No radio station that carries him is going to pull him off the air because of a single ill-phrased comment. Having Rush means carrying the No. 1 radio program in America. To pull Rush out of your program lineup means automatically to surrender the lead in your local market.

Therefore, what is remarkable about Limbaugh is not that he occasionally says something like, “I want [Obama] to fail,” which can be taken out of context and portrayed as something unseemly. Rather, what is remarkable is that, in 15 hours of live programming weekly over the span of 20 years, Limbaugh has never uttered that one career-destroying gaffe. This suggests to me that Rush is a thoughtful person who fully understands the enormous responsibility that weighs on his shoulders, and who is determined to make his spectacular success a force for good in America.

There is an entire mini-industry of Limbaugh monitors, vile little left-wing worms who spend three hours a day recording and transcribing his broadcasts in hope of catching that one “gotcha” quote. (Pathetic, isn’t it?) These nests of vermin specialize in the Ransom-Note Method of partial quotation, claiming to be “fact-checking” Limbaugh’s monologues when in fact they’re just partisan smearmongers. And then there is the standing offer of a handsome fee for a Newsweek cover story available to any Republican who will denounce Rush. So the man is always a target, always the object of the withering gaze of critical scrutiny.

Do I agree with everything Rush Limbaugh has ever said? What kind of question is that? The point is that Rush “is a man, you know,” as the driver of Fairway Cab No. 1 so succinctly put it at CPAC. Whatever Limbaugh’s faults, he has that one redeeming value: Courage to speak out, even when speaking out makes him the target of vicious personal smears.

One of the basic principles of military strategy is to reinforce success. If you see a man who fights and wins, give him reinforcements, and bid others to emulate his success. It’s like the time when Abraham Lincoln was urged to relieve U.S. Grant of command because Grant was accused of having been drunk on duty. Lincoln answered bluntly: “I can’t spare this man. He fights.” It’s also like the time when Robert E. Lee, confronted at Richmond with George McClellan’s much larger Union force, decided to send a division of his little army to the Shenandoah Valley to reinforce Stonewall Jackson. Lee said, “We must aid a gallant man if we perish.”

That’s why when I see somebody like Kathy Shaidle — who is to Canada what the Tasmanian devil is to Tasmania — my instinct is to yell, “Hell, yeah! Give it to ’em, girl! Hit ’em where it hurts and force the cowardly bastards to defend themselves!” Reinforce success.

Tell you what: You find yourself a thousand David Brookses and a thousand Kathleen Parkers, and you give me one Rush Limbaugh and one Kathy Shaidle and, buddy, we’ll whup your ass before sundown.

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty . . .
Psalms 69:4 (KJV)

The other day on the phone, I was telling Cynthia Yockey about my admiration for George S. Patton. He was a proud, profane and hot-tempered man. His faults were many, but Patton had two saving graces: Faith in God and a determination to fight.

He believed himself destined for victory, and when he was sidelined after slapping a soldier he considered a malingering coward, Patton felt unfairly cheated of command in the Normandy invasion. He was in a low place, that dark valley that David spoke of in the Psalms, but he was steadfast in his faith.

When the Allies finally broke out of the beachhead at St. Lo, it was Patton who spearheaded the assault. He pushed all the way through to liberate the Brittany peninsula, then turned around and raced southward to crush the German forces around Paris — a campaign that ranks among the greatest achievements in the history of American arms.

What happened next? Over Patton’s vehement objections, Eisenhower reinforced failure, diverting resources for Montgomery’s ill-conceived and ill-executed Operation Market Garden, which sacrificed gallant men for minor gains (a tragedy captured in Cornelius Ryan’s classic A Bridge Too Far, the film of which I highly recommend.) As a result of this blunder, Hitler was able to regroup and launch the final desperate winter assault that became famous as the Battle of the Bulge. And when the 101st Airborne was besieged at Bastogne, who was it that punched through the encircling enemy to rescue them? Patton, of course.

Constitutional liberty and a free economy, the true principles that conservatives should always aim to defend, are in deep peril. We are in that dark valley. Talk to veteran Republican operatives, and you will find them profoundly concerned about the apparent disorganization at RNC-HQ. If the conservatives are going to prevail in this crisis, it will be up to the grassroots troops in the field.

A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi — a precipice in front, wolves behind. Yet we see the wheels falling off the wobbly bandwagon of Hope, and we are certain of one thing about Obamanomics: It Won’t Work. If truth can get a fair hearing, there is still hope against Hope.

What we need most in this crisis is courage for the fight. We must not take counsel of our fears (click that link to read what is probably my best effort at an in-depth analysis of the current situation). If we heed the voices of defeatism and despair, if we allow ourselves to be distracted by carping criticisms from The Dogs Who Bark While the Caravan Moves On, if we start endlessly second-guessing our gut instincts because we’re afraid of offending the sensibilities of the editors at Newsweek — well, that way lies disaster.

Patterico speaks of the American people as “fundamentally reasonable,” and I believe this to be true. When I refer to The Ordinary American, it is this basic decency and the common sense of common people I mean to praise, in contrast to the viciousness and folly of the Establishment elite. (David Brooks being the most salient example of how elitism is a bipartisan problem.) The people may sometimes be misled or deceived, but they cannot be deceived forever.

As the incompetence and corruption of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid regime become increasingly evident, the Ordinary American seeks an alternative. The task of conservatives in this time of peril is to raise a banner around which the good and true will rally. We need a fighting creed, and courageous hearts with strong voices to shout it: WOLVERINES!

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