Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Whither Rush: Corpulent Bleats From the Republican Intellectual Desert

I could be wrong here, but I just don’t understand delusion. Like everyone else, I come in contact with various degrees of it on a daily basis and I generally pay no mind to it as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my own perceived existence. I am also an advocate of the canard expressed by Groucho Marx when he resigned from the Friar's Club, an exclusive club of well-known comedians. Upon receiving a note insisting he give an explanation for resigning, he stated, “because I wouldn’t want to be in a club that would have me as a member.” With the exception of sports teams when I was a kid, I’ve never been comfortable in large groups seeking common goals. That attitude probably has something to do with why I am a solo practitioner in my professional life, why I shy away from most spiritual gatherings, and why I don’t get directly involved in politics despite my obvious interest in its theory and practice.

Having said that, I shall now gush forth on the latest topic of political interest, Rush Limbaugh’s apparent de facto leadership of the intellectual strategy of the Republicur party. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I relish the spectacle of the utter emptiness of Republicur thought these days. In my lifetime I haven’t seen a political party so dominate the national agenda as the GOP has throughout most of my lifetime, only to fall so far so fast with such ringing clarity as has happened since the ’06 elections. They have quite literally clung to the petard of the uselessness of government, no taxes, and brazen jingoism for decades now. They made Ronald Reagan into a saint no matter how he violated every principle he supposedly ever stood for. No better a symbol of the rot and hypocrisy of the GOP could be found than in the bloated Vicodin and Viagra cocktail popping Limbaugh. The audacity of him bouncing before the world proclaiming moral rectitude and manliness should appear as an astonishing joke by anyone who sees it.

Is Rush really interested in leading the GOP? Doubtful. I think Rush is interested in Rush. There was an article on him in the NY Times Sunday Magazine a while back. He acknowledged his upbringing as a southern conservative but he more or less considers himself a hired hand who is there to generate revenue for himself and his advertisers. Pure commercial shill though relatively honest about the positions he takes. He’s honest slime. But he has the hypnotized juden of CPAC that he is speaking for them. And for now that’s probably what they need to keep from slithering off in dispirited clots to Minnesota airport bathrooms.

On the other hand, it’s all meaningless showmanship at this point. Best to let a non-politician showman take the lead now. This is a time for the GOP to reassess itself and its positions as well as strategy. They already know how to sell the ideas, it’s just that for now no one wants what they’re selling. They can either back off and see if the Obama administration succeeds, in which case nothing the GOP can do will help them back into power for a long time, or see if the administration fails, in which case coming back to power will be easy if there’s any country left to misgovern. It’s the fuzzy in-between that matters and honestly, unless something really big and probably really bad happens, we won’t know where we stand economically and otherwise until about this time next year, just as the jockeying for the 2010 elections gets going in earnest.

That said, it’s probably best for democrats that Rush is indeed the voice of the party. It’s become increasingly difficult to contradict either form or substance when Rush wheezes political. The result is that the party is stuck with its discredited policies and philosophy cemented in place since Rush is not actually an intellectual of any kind but just an intake valve for natural and pharmaceutical resources while he spews out the old lines about bad big government, unfair taxes on his fellow offensively rich, individual responsibility from a guy who can probably barely reach around to wipe his own ass anymore, and manliness for a crowd of unnaturally homophobic dudes.

Of course, there is one lurking tendency I detect curled behind a fair amount of their rhetoric. When you can’t convince someone with the force of your ideas, you can only convince them with force. The tone of the Republicur rhetoric often gives me the shakes that they could easily edge in that direction. I don’t agree with them and because of that, I feel their dislike for me has a personal intensity and dehumanizing revulsion that I do not have towards them (ad hominem attacks on Rush for the sake of the words used admittedly notwithstanding). It is beyond disagreement. It is righteous hatred. It is delusion. And I don’t understand it.


Pudgy McCabe said...

For me Limbaugh as an intellectual is about on par with Matthew Lesko. I'm amazed that even Al Franken wastes any time on him. That said, he's a godsend for the Left because he manages to co-opt any alternatives in such a despicable manner that it can only help his opposition. I mean, would you want Howard Stern as the mouthpiece of the Democrats?

I assume he's just a nihilistic opportunist in the demagogue tradition; compare Pat Buchanan's columns for a contrasting example of someone that seems to actually believe in what he says.

Gravitar Profundus said...

you are absolutely correct about old rusho. however, i suspect he will eventually be used as the straw man upon which whatever new version of the gop we get shall pivot from. what happens to the 25%ers is anyone's guess but they don't have any other viable place to go. if they check out of the system and move to idaho, then we could get back to having some genuine political discourse. glad this one pulled you back out of the woodwork.