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Rush to Judgement May 12, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in Economy, National Politics, Racism, Rush Limbaugh.
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3 comments

rush_limbaugh_350_31Count me as one person who took a sharp intake of breath and uttered an “uh-oh” when Wanda Sykes skewered Rush Limbaugh at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on Saturday.   I absolutely knew what a shitstorm of controversy would rain down over her comments – even though I personally share them.  Not only Republican moderates give Rush a wide berth – so do may of us liberals.  The man is a menace – and dangerous.

Limbaugh is dangerous because the audience he panders to is simmering with rage these days.  Under-educated and under-employed white males with guns.  These are scary people, even in the best of times.  In uncertain times like we’re in now, they have become terrifying.  The Department of Homeland Security took a lot of heat for saying that individuals like that bear scrutiny, but remember, until 9-11, the greatest terrorist attack committed on American soil was perpetrated by an under-educated and under-employed white guy with guns and a grudge.

Limbaugh is very successful at what he does.  He throws red meat to this reactionary and religious base and whips them into a frenzy that will consume everything in its path.  So far this year, he has publicly humiliated and disgraced several moderate Republicans, including Michael Steele, Chairman of his own party.  The latest to be thrown under the Limbaugh bus is former Secretary of State General Colin Powell.  No matter how badly Powell was used by the Bush administration, he is an honorable person; a person who spent 30 years of his life wearing the uniform of the United States and sworn to protect us.  The only stain on his otherwise stellar career is the Bush Administration orchestrated speech before the U.N. with manufactured intelligence.  Rush has rather forcefully demanded that Powell leave the Republican party – a position supported by the Prince of Darkness himself, former V.P. Dick Cheney.  Both Limbaugh and Cheney have used thinly-veiled racist propaganda to prove their points; Powell endorsed Obama for President because they are both black and Democrats.

Limbaugh is no stranger to racism.  His career as a football commentator was cut short for saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was held to a different (read – lower) performance standard because he was black.  He dismissed General Powell’s endorsement of Obama because he is black.  He gleefully played a recording of “Barack the Magic Negro” over and over on his radio show.  The latest nugget of Rush racism came yesterday on his radio show.

According to Limbaugh, President Obama wants unemployment.  According to Rush, more unemployment means more welfare benefits, and food stamps, and the expansion of the welfare state.  Then, in a stunningly racist comment says, “And the objective is to take the nation’s wealth and return to it to the nation’s quote, “rightful owners.” Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want to understand what actually is going on.”

My inclination as a liberal is to just ignore this crazy, right-wing gas-bag, but I just can’t anymore.  Limbaugh is creating a festering climate for those “American History X” skinheads that make up his listening public.  I am joining the boycott against Limbaugh’s advertisers.  We must all take a stand and finally neutralize this threat if we hope to see our country succeed.

Please see Blog Me No Blogs for a good listing of Limbaugh’s advertisers.

Eric Cantor – Call Him Ishmael May 7, 2009

Posted by Kate Ryan in National Politics.
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1 comment so far

Congress House GOPLast Saturday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R – VA) launched the National Council for a New America at a pizza parlor in Arlington.  Accompanied by several other important Republican voices such as Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, Cantor resisted the idea that the new group was attempting to “rebrand” the GOP, but was instead formed to start a ‘conversation’ with voters around the country.

Those Republicans present at the unveiling seemed to know what everyone else in this country – except the base conservative Republicans – already know.  The GOP needs fresh ideas.  It needs to find ways to connect with ordinary Americans and find ways to look forward instead of back at the same old retreaded ideas. 

“It’s time for the Republican Party to give up its ‘nostalgia’ for the heyday of the Reagan era and look forward,” Jeb Bush told the gathering.  “Our ideas need to be forward looking and relevant. I felt like there was a lot of nostalgia and the good old days in the [Republican] messaging. I mean, it’s great, but it doesn’t draw people toward your cause.”

On the Sunday talk shows, Cantor repeated his idea of the conversation that the GOP needs to have with America.  “What we’re trying to do here today is kick off a series of town-hall forums so that we can get back to listening to the people,” Cantor told CNN.  The “listening tour” is a relatively new construct (that I personally think is really stupid) – but it is sometimes the only way our cloistered politicians can connect with actual constituents.  And, if the GOP is serious about a “conversation”, then listening IS an integral part. 

It sounded like Cantor might be on to something.  That is – until the Great White Whale got wind of it.  Rush Limbaugh, Conservative radio talk show host and de facto GOP leader said,  ” We do not need a listening tour. We need a teaching tour. That is what the Republican Party, or, slash, the conservative movement needs to focus on. Listening tour ain’t it.”  

Cantor hurriedly backtracked.  He told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Scarborough yesterday, “”You know, Joe, really, this — this is not a listening tour … What the National Council for a New America is, is an opportunity for us to go out across this country to talk about our conservative principles and to appeal to as many elements in our society as we can, and to really talk to them at a higher level.”

So much for a conversation.  Cantor further went on to explain that ” The American people are very frustrated that they really see a government in Washington that doesn’t hear them, that doesn’t respond to their needs, and frankly are upset at a government that doesn’t work.”  So the way to un-frustrate them is to NOT listen?  Instead, the GOP’s answer – as dictated by Limbaugh – is to just talk at the American people, beating the same old drum, only louder. And pay no attention to the people with their hands over their ears.

Limbaugh also exploded in a fit of pique yesterday in response to former Secretary of State General Colin Powell saying in a speech on Monday that “the Republican Party is in deep trouble” and said the GOP would be better off without Limbaugh.  “I think what Rush does as an entertainer diminishes the party and intrudes or inserts into our public life a kind of nastiness that we would be better to do without,” Powell said. 

So, Moby responded – in his most un-nasty way – that Powell needed to just “close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party.”  Limbaugh went further, saying, “He’s just mad at me because I’m the one person in the country who had the guts to explain his endorsement of Obama.  It was purely and solely based on race.”

It just amazes me to know that the GOP – which really does have a proud and accomplished history – is allowing its principles and ideals to be hijacked by someone who is not answerable to voters.  Rush only cares about Rush and what’s best for Rush.  He is gleefully denying being the head of the party while simultaneously killing off any voices that dissent with his.  It keeps his name and face in the news and boosts his ratings.

Like Melville’s Moby Dick – who is just a whale doing what whales do – Limbaugh is just an entertainer doing what entertainers do.  He is not evil incarnate.  He should be respected a s the force of nature that he is.  It is the party’s Ahab-like obsession, however, with Limbaugh that will destroy them.   They bow, they scrape, they kow-tow and all the while know with every fiber of their beings he will destroy them and their party.  Cantor, like Ishmael, may be all that is left after the GOP is cast to the depths of the sea.