Archive for ‘Rush Limbaugh’

March 4, 2009

Jason Mattera defends Rush Limbaugh

On CNN, via Young America’s Foundation:

I love how Jason calls out Frank Schaeffer, who responds that “Rush Limbaugh is to the conservative movement what Jabba the Hut was to the ‘Star Wars’ movies.”

Oh. Ha, ha, ha. Now I get it. A fat joke. Wow, that is so erudite and sophisticated.

March 2, 2009

Dittos from a cab driver

Having previously noted Rod Dreher’s criticism of Rush Limbaugh’s CPAC speech and Andrew Breitbart’s praise now check this from my column today at The American Spectator:

Wally Onakoya drives Fairway Cab No. 1 and said he had hoped to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s speech on WCSP-FM, but was disappointed that Washington’s C-SPAN radio station was not broadcasting it live.
He came to America from Nigeria in 1983. A quarter-century later, he now drives his cab in the nation’s capital to pay tuition for his daughter, Seun, a freshman biochemistry major at Maryland’s St. Mary’s College, whose school emblem adorned the blue hoodie Onakoya wore Saturday with paternal pride.
Onakoya has been a loyal Dittohead for years. He explained that not all who ride in his cab appreciate his radio habit of listening to Limbaugh from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays.
“Some people say he is the second coming of the devil,” Onakoya said with a deep baritone chuckle. . . .

Please read the whole thing. And I am sure that praise from an immigrant cab driver means more to Rush Limbaugh than anything any pundit or critic has to say.

UPDATE: Linked by But As For Me and a big shout-out to Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters.

March 2, 2009

Dreher bashes Limbaugh


This is a comforting lie. It is Rousseau conservatism: the idea that man is born innocent, but corrupted by society, or government. Remove the chains of government, and man will return to his natural, good state, which is one of limitless possibility. This denies two bedrock truths of philosophical conservatism, which are that 1) human nature is fallen, and 2) man must learn to live within limits. A conservatism that is not founded on a conscious recognition of those two truths is a false conservatism, and has a shaky foundation from which to criticize liberal utopianism.”
Rod Dreher

My dear wife rearranged and cleaned my office while I was at CPAC, so that I can’t lay hands on Thucydides just now. But there was an occasion recounted by that historian in which (I believe) the Athenians(* see 3:30 p.m. update below – rsm) had compelled the surrender of a rebel colony, and it suited the Athenian commander to require of each captured man that he answer the question, what had he done to aid the Athenians and their allies in the ongoing Greek civil war. Obviously, none of the captives could give a satisfactory answer, and so they were all put to the sword. (Classical scholars will excuse whatever major or minor details I’ve misremembered. Blame my dear wife.)

Drastic and foolish example though this was, the Athenian commander boiled down to a deadly brevity the nature of loyalty in service: What have you done to aid the cause?

The recruit fresh from boot camp merits very little respect from veteran noncoms and officers, the rookie just called up to the major leagues doesn’t deserve deference from the three-time All-Star, and by an extension of this principle, sensible people should ask: Who is Rod Dreher to judge Rush Limbaugh?

This goes back to 2006, when everyone was rushing to denounce Ann Coulter for calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a “raghead.” It so happened that Ann was introduced that day at CPAC by Monique Stuart, a former Washington Times intern. Monique described how she had been a liberal Democrat until the day Coulter showed up on her campus to debate a leftist professor whom Monique had previously admired. When Coulter was through with him, the professor looked like the clueless idiot he was, and Monique was a newborn conservative.

This is to say, Coulter has proven her value to the cause in years of effective service, and it will take a heckuva lot more than one unfortunate epithet for me to sign some idiot “open letter” petition demanding that she be purged from the movement. (You’d be more likely to get me to sign an open letter denouncing the petition signatories, though some of them I count as friends.)

More than two decades ago, Rush Limbaugh almost singlehandedly created a new medium of discourse in America. Anyone who knows anything about talk radio will tell you that it was Limbaugh who pioneered two distinct innovations: audio actualities (“sound bites”) and rock-music “bumpers” to intro each new programming segment. Limbaugh is the very best at what he does, so much better that there is no dispute over the title, and a vast gulf separates him from whoever is No. 2 in his profession.

Given all that, and given the tremendous influence he has exerted (so that he was named an honorary member of the congressional freshman class elected during the “Republican Revolution” of 1994), isn’t it the case that Rush ought to deserve some slight deference from those who call themselves “conservatives”? Rush was admired and praised by Buckley and Reagan, and is respected by other conservative leaders still vital and active. Whatever woes have befallen conservatism, these blunders have almost always been the work of those who have ignored or contradicted Limbaugh’s advice. (Recall, for example, that Rush backed Pat Buchanan’s 1992 primary challenge to George H.W. Bush, and did everything in his power to try to persuade Republicans not to nominate John McCain in 2008.)

This is not to say that Limbaugh is above criticism, or that his long duration in useful service has made him free from error. But whatever the philosophical merit of Dreher’s criticisms — and I share his skepticism toward the Whig-history univeralist rah-rah — it is nevertheless true that Limbaugh has accomplished vastly much more for conservatism, and suffered as a consequence the fury of liberal wrath. So enormous is the disparity of their value to conservatism as a political movement that Dreher’s criticism is like a fly perched on an elephant’s ass, complaining that the ride is too bumpy.

Good politics must be rooted in sound philosophy — in asserting this, Dreher is entirely correct. At the same time, a devotion to philosophical purity doesn’t count for anything in the real world of politics if your party is being crushed in every election, as has been true of Republicans in the past two cycles. I’m reminded of a point Bob Barr tried to make to Libertarian Party activists in 2008, namely the distinction between a political party and a political club.

If Rod and his “crunchy” cronies want to sit around and quote Russell Kirk to each other at the organic whole-grain clubhouse, no one is stopping them from indulging their little purity crusade. Rush Limbaugh has no such luxury, and deserves better than to be sniped at in the manner Dreher has chosen.

Boys and girls, please listen to what I’m trying to get across here: Welcome to the camp of the saints. We are at coffin corner here, encircled by a powerful “progressive” army that outnumbers us and is emboldened by fresh victories. To suffer a third consecutive humiliating defeat in 2010 could be all she wrote for the movement born at Sharon, Connecticut, four decades ago.

We are now a mere 18 months from Labor Day 2010, when that climactic political battle will be fully engaged. There a lot of important work to be done — and done now, over the next three to six months — if there is to be any hope of anything but the abomination of desolation. Our utter destruction is at hand unless good men rally to the colors, and we no longer have the luxury of indulging in these petty playground feuds and the children who enjoy them.

To the extent that conservatives need a philosopher now, I’d say we need to be studying Sun-Tzu.

If Rod Dreher wants to join Andrew Sullivan and David Brock (yes, I said “Brock,” not “Brooks”) in the ranks of the vaunting army outside the camp, let him go over and be gone. But don’t sit pouting inside the camp, giving aid and comfort to the adversary by your demoralizing pronouncements. If that stuff is going to be tolerated among conservatives, there won’t be enough left of a constitutional republic after Nov. 3 for anyone to bother trying to “conserve” it, and no hope at all that it might be restored.


UPDATE 2:04 A.M.: Andrew Breitbart:

A friend in Los Angeles e-mailed a one-liner: “Best speech I have ever seen.”
My urbane father-in-law, the first person I knew who copped to listening to Mr. Limbaugh and who has been witness to most of the big events of the modern age, called it the “most thrilling thing [he’s] seen on TV.”

What he said.

UPDATE 3:30 P.M.: In the comments, an anonymous homeschooling mom corrects my memory of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. However, she used her homeschooled teenagers as references, which is unfair. At any rate, the event I remember was the siege and surrender of Plataea (431-427). The merciless commander was not Athenian, but Spartan.

February 5, 2009

‘Grassroots Woodstock’

Both Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin will speak at CPAC Feb. 26-28. Hmmm. Guess they couldn’t get any really big names like David Brooks or Kathleen Parker.

Wait until my Samoan attorney hears about this . . .

February 1, 2009

Giving Canada a bad name

Like “Canada” wasn’t bad enough:

Rush and Hannity and O’Reilly and Ann Coulter and the others have their place and their role. They spoke for an important section of public opinion, and it is a section our party needs. But it is only a section, and not the whole. The more the party allows them to become our public face, the more embattled and endangered the party becomes.

Note the possessive: “Our party.” That would be the party of Harvard-educated Canadians?

Note also how Frum serves up a Hannity & O’Reilly sandwich on Limbaugh-Coulter bread, designating as an ideological category Every Famous Person Who’s Been On Fox News More Than Twice. (And people accuse me of arguing against strawmen . . . .)

As a pre-emptive defense against ugly accusations of anti-Canadianism, I will point out that “some of my best friends are” . . . well, Kathy Shaidle, who is to Canada what Lot was to the Cities of the Plain.

South Park – Blame Canada – video powered by Metacafe

January 26, 2009

Rush goes upside Obama’s head

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW) You’ve got to pick your fights, and Obama’s choice Friday to pick a fight with Rush Limbaugh was stupid beyond words. Never mind that Rush has a radio audience of 20 million, the dude is also not a bad writer:

If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion dollar debacle.

Expect to see Rush on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal sometime this coming week. That’s the most predictable venue for Limbaugh to respond in, and then the media will pick that up and start asking Obama questions about it, so who’s distracting who?

In other words, by picking this fight, Obama is getting himself into a quagmire, giving publicity to the one person who knows best how to turn that publicity into an issue-focused argument highlighting the flaws of Obama’s economic plan which, as Rush says, “anyone with a brain knows” won’t work.

UPDATE: Linked by Five Feet of Fury.

UPDATE II: Linked by Ed Driscoll, who expects “fireworks” when Rush goes on the air Monday.

UPDATE III: Linked by Melissa Clouthier, who says:

Can you imagine GW calling out Keith Olbermann? Keith Olbermann is beneath President Bush and beneath being addressed. It would make Bush look small to even acknowledge Olbermann’s loony ravings. Ostensibly, President Barack Obama . . . takes Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh’s ideas personally. Is it ego? Is it that he simply cannot imagine that any thinking person wouldn’t agree with his magnificence?

Whatever it is, it’s decidedly unpresidential and is an ill omen for Obama’s administration. A roster of presidents who were obsessed with their media critics — Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter — is not exactly a list of White House all-stars.

UPDATE IV: Leonard Pitts calls Limbaugh “disloyal.” Remember how the Code Pinkos disrupted State of the Union speeches and congressional hearings and if you dared to condemn them, you were stifling dissent? All Rush did was offer to his opinion, on his own commercially syndicated program, and he’s “disloyal.” Maybe if Rush were to bomb the Pentagon . . .?

UPDATE V: Jay Homnick at The American Spectator:

Surely the Arlen Specters and the John McCains and the Lindsey Grahams would not like to be seen as Dittoheads. They can only prove their vaunted sophistication, their acclaimed moderation, their lauded toleration, by becoming the useful idiots of the Obama juggernaut.

These idiots are “useful” only to Democrats.

January 24, 2009

Obama vs. Rush Limbaugh

Democrats never learn, do they?

President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts.
“There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats,” the official said. “We shouldn’t let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done.”

I remember when Bill Clinton used to try this tactic of demonizing Limbaugh. It doesn’t work. Given the choice of listening to Obama or listening to Rush, any Republican in Congress who needs to think twice is useless and doomed.

“Hey, maybe he can get an Air America gig if this president thing doesn’t work out.” As they say, “Heh.”

UPDATE: Kathy Shaidle on “Teleprompter Jesus.” MacsMind: “Obama ain’t worthy to tie Rush Limbaugh’s shoes.”

Meanwhile, Ann Althouse visits the (nearly empty) Obama bookstore shrine.

January 19, 2009

Buckley and Reagan

Ross Douthat reviews The Reagan I Knew — William F. Buckley’s last book — for the New York Times, and tries to address the arguments that Buckley would abhor contemporary populist conservatism:

Buckley began his writing life . . . as a quasi-apologist for Joe McCarthy and ended his career as a great friend to Rush Limbaugh. And he spent most of the intervening decades championing Reagan, the greatest right-wing populist of all — more authentically middle-American than Bush, a cannier player of the “jes’ folks” card than Palin, and as roundly disliked and disdained by the liberal commentariat as either one of them.

That’s about right, except there was nothing “quasi” about Buckley’s defense of McCarthy. But why quibble? I’ve read the book — it’s sitting on my desk right now — and I heartily recommend it. The witty repartee and occasional disagreements between two giants of 20th-century American conservatism are well worth remembering.

I had to study up on Reagan to write the feature obituary for the Washington Times, and in the years since, I’ve read several books on various aspects of his career. One thing that seems to get overlooked in the hagiographic retrospective view is the extent to which Reagan was a man of his time. He had been an FDR Democrat, a self-described “bleeding heart” whose liberalism led him to join (unwittingly) two Communist Party “front groups” in the early 1940s. So Reagan very much understood, at a deeply personal level, how humanitarian sympathies and naivete about communism could lead someone to become a “dupe” or a “fellow traveler.”

The pivotal moment for Reagan was during the Hollywood labor wars of 1946-47, when communist union organizers tried to shut down the film industry, at a time when Reagan was a leader of the Screen Actors Guild. The dishonest tactics of the communists awoke in Reagan the understanding that communism was a totalitarian menace no less dangerously evil than the Nazi menace.

Over the next 15-20 years, this revelation ripened into a deep and mature insight into the nature of the communist threat. Reagan’s job as a GE spokesman gave him the opportunity to hone to perfection a standard speech extolling America’s system of democracy and free enterprise, which he would contrast against the stifling forces of government bureaucracy, as well as against the totalitarian threat of communism.

These speeches were given to very diverse audiences — executives and plant workers, Chamber of Commerce types, etc. — whose political orientations were mixed and unknown. So Reagan struck patriotic themes in a way that wasn’t overtly political, and he aimed his rhetoric directly at the common sense of common people. His speeches weren’t a discourse intended for intellectuals, nor were they fire-and-brimstone partisan sermons. Rather, they were decent and respectable and generous, with a general tone of suggesting that all good people should be willing to fight for the basic ideals of American civilization.

American adults of the 1950s and early ’60s had been through common experiences — the Depression and World War II — and most of all they shared the patriotic sensibilities imparted by the public school system in the decades before historic iconoclasm came into vogue. There was a common cultural understanding about the heroes of Valley Forge, etc., and a near-universal antagonism to Soviet tyranny to which Reagan could appeal without being accused of jingoism or partisanship.

So when you see Reagan in his famous 1964 speech, “A Time for Choosing,” you’re watching a man who had spent more than a decade striking those same basic themes in dozens of speeches annually. He adapted these themes to the occasion, and the speech he gave was a humdinger. You want some Reagan populism?

This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

David Brooks would faint dead away, for certainly the advocate of “national greatness” has no faith in the ordinary American’s capacity for self-government, consistently siding with that “little intellectual elite” against the common sense of common people. Reagan never saw himself as part of that “elite,” and never had a good thing to say about it. And if you study Buckley’s early works — especially God and Man at Yale and Up From Liberalism — you know that for all his erudition, Buckley saw himself as an opponent of that elite (and vice-versa).

Reagan and Buckley respected and admired one another as equals, each independently seeking a common goal. What has changed in the relationship between conservative politicians and conservative intellectuals in the contemporary era, it seems to me, is that the intellectuals think themselves so infinitely superior to the politicians — and with good reason, generally, since few Republican politicians today show the kind of curiosity about ideas that Reagan so clearly had.

The real trouble is that this contempt for GOP politicians tends to fester into a contempt for GOP voters. This is where the David Brooks type so grievously goes astray, in smug condescension toward the typical Republican voter in Pennsylvania or Indiana or Ohio. The very fact that your average rank-and-file Republican likes Sarah Palin is, in the eyes of the Brooksian intellectual, reason enough to conclude that Palin is an unworthy idiot. By the same token, the fact that your average Republican likes Rush Limbaugh is sufficient cause to conclude that Limbaugh is harmful to the cause of “meritocratic aspiration” that a Brooksian considers “true conservatism.”

Reagan and Buckley were both populists in the sense that they believed that the ordinary American possessed basic common sense, and could do without the meddlesome superintendence of their everyday lives by Washington.

Buckley’s brobdingnagian vocabulary and his arch hyperintellectualism was meant as a challenge to the imagined superiority of mid-2oth-century liberalism, conveying to his reader the idea that one could be both intellectually sound and conservative (something the liberals of that era furiously denied). Reagan, on the other hand, spoke to people in a way that was simultaneously down-to-earth and inspirational — mixing the homey anecdote with the oratorical firepower of a latter-day Patrick Henry. Their methods were different, but their objective was the same.

Of course, it is grossly unfair to Sarah Palin to compare her to Ronald Reagan (though perhaps not as grossly unfair to Bill Buckley as comparing him to David Brooks). Palin has not had the advantages of Reagan’s experiences, having been so busy as a mother, a mayor and a governor that she surely has spent little time reading Friedrich Hayek or Whittaker Chambers. Yet she does seem to have a basic belief in the ordinary American’s aptitude for self-governance, and that strikes me as the right place to start.

UPDATE: JR at Conservatives4Palin has written two posts about The Reagan I Knew. One refers to this quote from Reagan:

For every problem, there are ten people waiting to volunteer if someone will give them a lead and show them where they can be useful.

Of which JR says:

This quote is great because it applies to the current state of the Republican party. We have a great “base” and grassroots network, from the fiscal conservatives to the defense hawks but we lack a competent leader, we lack what Reagan calls, “someone who can show us where we can be useful.”

You could relate this to Reagan’s famous maxim that you can accomplish anything, as long as you don’t care who gets the credit. The conservative movement today suffers from the “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” problem — it’s very hard to find capable, dependable team players who are content to labor in obscurity, as most political activists inevitably must.

In another post, JR quotes a letter from 1973 in which Buckley passes on advice from a “well-wisher” who says Reagan “refuse[s] to wrap [his] mind around foreign policy.” Here you see the vast gap between reality and perception. Reagan was keenly interested in foreign policy, especially the major issues of the Cold War, but because he was at that time busy with being governor of California, it was perceived that he didn’t “wrap his mind around” the issues. And here, I think, you see a parallel to Palin — the Katie Couric “gotcha” of what newspapers she read daily, as if the governor of Alaska should spend her mornings leafing through the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal (are those even available in Anchorage?).

January 14, 2009

Good-bye, opposition

RE-BUMPED: Peggy Noonan was there and, as Rae said, Peggy must have been “as giddy as a schoolgirl.”

Speaking of schoolgirl giddiness, today Obama met with liberal commentators including Andrew Sullivan.

BUMPED: Rush was NOT at this dinner.

PREVIOUSLY: George Freaking Will plays host to Obama, with Bill Kristol and David Brooks and perhaps even Rush Limbaugh (!) on the VIP invitation list.

Betrayed! The stab in the back! The neocon cabal!

UPDATE: Apparently, Michelle Malkin’s invitation got lost in the mail.

UPDATE II: Charles Krauthammer sells out.

UPDATE III: They’ve won a medal!

December 16, 2008

Limbaugh vs. Colin Powell

Rush went off on Powell yesterday:

So General Powell, let me explain something. The fact is Republicans did not listen to me. They listened to you. They have not been listening to me for years. The Republican Party nominated your ideal candidate. They nominated your guy, a moderate, who’s willing to buy into an endless array of liberal causes. . . .
As long as you are a Republican, but you buy into an endless array of liberal causes, global warming to amnesty for illegals, and somebody who has the same fetish for compromising principles that you do, then they are going to love you. Then you turn around and you stab this person in the back by endorsing the most liberal Democrat candidate ever nominated days before the election, General Powell? You want to lecture me about how the Republican Party needs to stop listening to me when they are not? They are listening to you. I also have to question something here. How can he say he’s a Republican? He gets the perfect Republican nominee, exactly the kind of candidate he wants, it’s McCain, and then he sabotages McCain a few weeks before the election by endorsing Obama. How can you even claim to be a Republican, General Powell?

Good question.

UPDATE: Video via Hot Air: