Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fears of a Clown

Timothy Egan's blog entry in today's New York Times discusses Rush Limbaugh, the self-proclaimed Conservative #1. He is striking fear into the heart of Republicans: no one dares call him out for being a blowhard because of fears of being labeled a socialist0lover. Keith Olberman is reeling in laughter.

Once upon a time, you could drive to the most remote reaches of the United States and escape Rush Limbaugh. But from the Mogollon Mountains of New Mexico to the Badlands of South Dakota, where only the delicious twang of a country tune or the high-pitched pleadings of a lone lunatic came over the AM dial, there is now the Mighty El Rushbo.

His face makes appearances in the news from time to time, but these recent days he is a major story.

As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I used to find Limbaugh to be an obnoxious but entertaining companion, his eruptions more reliable than Old Faithful. But now that Limbaugh has become something else — the face of the Republican Party, by a White House that has played him brilliantly — he has been transformed into car-wreck-quality spectacle, at once scary and sad.

He thinks he's hot stuff: he callenged the President of the United States to debate him on his radio show. Oy.

Behold: The sweaty, swollen man in the black, half-buttoned shirt who ranted for nearly 90 minutes Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He reiterated his desire to see the president of his country fail. He misstated the Constitution’s intent while accusing President Obama of “bastardizing” the document. He made fun of one man’s service in Vietnam, to laughter.

Just under the veneer of conservative indignation at capitalism being threatened lies a deep streak of cruelty and hatred.

Smarter Republicans know he is not good for them. As the conservative writer David Frum said recently, “If you’re a talk radio host and you have five million who listen and there are 50 million who hate you, you make a nice living. If you’re a Republican party, you’re marginalized.”

But no one has the cojones to call him out, other than Democrats and liberals, and that doesn't do much for the GOP.

Limbaugh, a self-described prescription-drug addict who sees America from a private jet...

That's the thing: this guy is not a 'regular' person; he's a wealthy elite.

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