Sunday, March 1, 2009



            On Saturday, February 28, 2009, Mr. Rush Limbaugh gave a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  He has been called the voice of the Republican Party and the heart of the conservative movement, and in my mind he is the apparent savior of the Neoconservative movement that dominated politics in the last 8 years, holding Ronald Regan as a sacred cow. 


            The focus of Mr. Limbaugh’s speech was for Conservatives to take back the Republican Party and the Nation.  Punctuating by jumping up and down, chest thumping, fist pumping, and heart slamming, his talk was about staying the conservative course in the Republican Party and being proud of Obstructionism and non-bipartisan politics.  The tone of the speech has been called “mocking, bulling, full of contempt, harsh, unapologetic”, and in some instances eerily “sinister.”  As is his tendency, there was very little substance, and there was a lot more playing to the crowd, attempting to energize the group.  Unfortunately, he had very little substantially to say and his angry, insulting, rude and unapologetic message, considering the mess the Bush Administration and the Neocons left the American People with, was in appropriate.

            "We conservatives have not done a good enough job of just laying out basically who we are because we make the mistake of assuming that people know. What they know is largely incorrect, based on the way we're portrayed in pop culture, in the drive-by media, by the Democrat party," the neoconservative talk show host told a mostly-young crowd of energized supporters.

            His basic premise in his speech based on some basic tenants of conservative philosophy, sprinkled with a combative, begrudging tone about the recent political losses the movement had suffered as a result of the Presidential election,

            "We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independent. We believe that the preamble of the Constitution contains an inarguable truth, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom. And the pursuit of happiness."


            That all sounds good Rush, but when you examine more closely what you had to say, the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is primarily reserved for the upper class, “achievers” and the rest of us will just have to wait.  He went on to say that conservatives don’t hate anybody, and since all people are created equal, we all start out the same, but what separates us is our will to succeed, our desire to be the best.  He went on to say, that we must succeed on our own, without any government interaction.  The people who do not accept the government’s help are achievers and anyone who does is a loser.  The losers fail because the government makes them passive people who do not strive to make their lives better and government intervention harms these people, making them soft, passive under achievers, that are done a great disservice by an overreaching, our of control government.  Large, overextended government stifles our creativity, our entrepreneurship, and in doing so contributes to a welfare state, prolonging the war on poverty.  Belonging to an American political party or movement makes you a contestant with the other guys, and the only choice is to pound them into submission, winners survive and losers be damned.


            The problem with all of this is that the Neoconservatives have failed to recognize and take into account their role in our current situation, and according to Mr. Limbaugh have no need to apologize for it.  Mr Limbaugh’s little talk failed to take into account that the Neocons version of government caused this mess by deregulating banks, inducing people to refinance mortgages to what was called a fixed rate from an adjustable rate, in an elaborate bait and switch scheme resulting in doubling or tripling our payments.  It did not take into account the unfettered spending the Neocons engaged in when they financed the War in Iraq, which was sold to the American People on the basis of a lie; that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we must stop them or die.  It failed to take into account how that lie lead to deaths of over 4,000 American, 100,000 Iraqis and the injury and mental maiming of  100,000 more American soldiers, then potential damages and costs of which we can only guess at today.  It did not take into account the detainees at Guantanamo, who should have been afforded the rights of American citizens as we have allowed nationals in our country to possess in our criminal courts for years.  It did not take into account the people in New Orleans who suffered from the natural disaster of Katrina, only to find their government uncaring, unconcerned and unresponsive to this plight.  Nope, no apologies from old Rush; just more expressions of preserving wealth for the wealthy and yet another prayer than someday trickle down economics would finally save the day for the Republicans, the Neocons and disciples of Ronald Regan.


            Mr Limbaugh instead said the democrat party (he refused to call it the democratic party) relied on big government to solve all of our problems, that we cannot rely on them to answer our prayers, because in doing so this makes us weak, mindless globs of underachievers, that blindly follow along to the beat of kindly, liberal fascists.  Uh-huh?  Here is what he didn’t say.  He didn’t talk about how the Neocons had titled the table and screwed us.  He didn’t talk about how they had changed the climate in which we live and left us with a mess.  He didn’t talk about the tremendous costs of lie to us and leading us in a criminally fraudulent way into the War in Iraq, based of WMD.  Not an expression of sorry we led you into that war, sorry about the trillion dollar costs, sorry about the loss of life and treasure.  He didn’t say he was sorry about the bait and switch mortgage crisis, sorry about the con game, sorry about you being unable to pay for your car or mortgage because we took advantage of you and in doing so, we sold all of your bad paper all over the financial world, plunging the entire world in to a near depression.  He did not say that he was sorry the Neocons caused a financial crash as a result of their greed by tilting the free market of capitalism to such an extreme, that it has plunged the world into a recession bordering on a near depression.

            He did not say that he was sorry that the little financial tricks threatened the student loan system, making it more difficult to get a student loan and in turn threatening millions of college educations.  He did not say he was sorry Neo-conservatism made it hard to get sick, go to the doctor, or enter a hospital because we don’t have health insurance.  He did not say that he was sorry our last President had in effect suspended the Bill of Rights, wiretapping its citizens and insurgents alike, reading our e-mail, and violating our Right to Privacy.  When Mr. Bush detained indefinitely insurgent suspects in Guantanamo, meaning on his whim and against any person he so choose to brand an enemy of the state, he in effect suspended all of our civil rights, like the right to bail, the right to know what you have been charged with, the right to counsel, the right to defend your self, the right to discover the prosecutions’ evidence against you, the right to a speedy trial, the right to confront and cross-examine your accusers, the right against self-incrimination, (didn’t Bush and Neocons say we don’t torture?), the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right to be convicted only by a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, the right to trial by jury and the right to appeal.  No, no tilting of nature and natural causes there that underlies traditional conservative philosophy. 


            No acknowledgement of what they did to our civil justice system either.  One of the last things Mr. Bush did before he ran out the door was to make it harder to sue a long term care facility for negligence or gross neglect of elderly patients.  So the least of us in our society has no legal protection either, but instead face dismissals of their cases under the guise of federal preemption? No right to bring a negligence action, no right to compensatory/punitive damages, no right to a jury trial, no right to address grievances?  No protection for these people against abuse?  The old, infirm, ill and sick are losers too? No apology for Katrina victims or the Bailed out banks who instead of lending money, have tried to help themselves to the governments (our) generosity to save them from ruin.  What can be inferred from his little talk is that Mr. Limbaugh is in effect saying that winners can take advantage of losers.  This reminds me of a line from the movie, Animal House, where one of the pledges lends his car to a frat brother, who returns it to him a complete wreck, and afterwards says, “hey, you f_ _ _ _ _ up.  You trusted us.”


            No, there was no acknowledgement of the problems created by Neocons in the last 8 years, no admission of mistakes, no accountability, no apology and let’s move on talks.  No, there was not even a bipartisan tone to the talk, in fact it was just the opposite. 

"Bipartisanship occurs only after one other result. And that is victory," he said. "What they mean is we check our core principles at the door, come in, let them run the show, and then agree with them. To us bipartisanship is making them agree with us after we have cleaned their clocks and beaten them, and that has to be what we are focused on.” (emphasis added).


            So desperate are the Neocons to preserve what they believe is status quo, that Mr. Limbaugh once again reiterated that he wishes for President Obama to fail.  Never mind that if the President fails, our country might fail too.  Damn the torpedoes and the consequences, the Winners like Rush have to be in power.  Comparing the remark to his desire to see the Arizona Cardinals "fail" in this year's Super Bowl game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Limbaugh defended his comment without denying it. "This notion that I want the president to fail, folks, this shows you a sign of the problem we've got," he said. "What is so strange about being honest and saying, I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?" he said, bringing the crowd once again to its feet.


            See the winning and competing thing is very, very big to Rush.  Mr Limbaugh here is a clue for you.  First of all given the situation we’re in, these are extraordinary times, which call for extraordinary measures.  President Obama has said that these measures are not the norm, but immediate action needs to be taken, or the situation will get much, much worse.  A lot of economists and experts agree with him.  This is not a normal liaise faire, leave the market alone business cycle, but one artificially induced by the outside greedy forces the Neocons allowed to do as they pleased. Second, me thinks you protest too much.  The American people made their choice in November; it is time for a change, the old trickle down, Ronald Regan theories of good government have not worked.  Your movement has seen its day and it is over.  You’ve failed.  Take responsibility, be accountable for the wrongs and adjust.  Comparing the outcome of the stimulus bill or the new upcoming budget that addresses many of the issues like employment, education, healthcare, and basic civil rights is not an athletic contest.  There is much more at stake here.  To argue to drag your feet, beat our brains in, win at all costs attitude is not helpful.  Campbell Brown from CNN put it best in response to your article in the Wall Street Journal, and your criticism of the a reporter from that network who disagreed with you, “Mr. Limbaugh…the histrionics and the name calling, they undermine anything constructive that you have to say… our country is in desperate straights right now, and we need ideas.  But what we don’t need is nasty rhetoric, and useless noise.  This does not help anyone get a job, keep a job or feed their family.  If there ever was a time to put the meanness behind us and focus on real dialogue and real solutions, this is the time.”

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