Al Franken was correct back in 1996 when he said Rush Limbaugh was a big fat idiot.
A lot has changed in 13 years. Franken, for instance, is one court ruling away from becoming the junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota. No doubt sales of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations helped fund his campaign.
The economy has melted down, erasing memories of when the federal government actually ran a budget surplus for a few years starting in 1996-97. George W. Bush was governor of Texas in 1996, poised to launch a run as one of the worst presidents in American history.
Through it all, Limbaugh has remained consistently big, fat and idiotic. Maybe even more so.
The iconic talk show host was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Committee’s recent annual meeting, and his goal clearly was to try to rally the conservative base to dig in and find some political shelter.
Conservatives have been rocked by a Democratic Party blitz that swept Barack Obama to the White House, delivered larger majorities in the Senate and House and turned reliably Republican states like Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Colorado and Ohio into places where Democrats can win elections. They’ve been looking for someone to rally around and make them feel better about themselves.
Limbaugh did the deed, telling his audience the problem wasn’t them or their conservative views — that in fact the American majority is out of touch and should be shunned.
“Bipartisanship occurs only after one other result, and that is victory,” he told a cheering crowd. “To us, bipartisanship is them being forced to agree with us after we politically have cleaned their clocks and beaten them.”
Limbaugh is correct: In a democracy, the majority gets to make the rules, so winning elections is the first step to accomplishing any policy goal. But he’s wrong when he suggests — as he did elsewhere in his speech — he wants Obama to fail so that Republican candidates have a better shot at winning in 2010 and 2012.
Hoping our economy continues to tank and Americans continue to suffer seems an unpatriotic position to me. And Limbaugh is the same blowhard who called many of us unpatriotic for not supporting Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
The difference, of course, is that most anti-war protesters didn’t hope to see American soldiers die and innocent civilians suffer. Limbaugh seems willing to let people lose their jobs, homes and savings in order to score political points.
Meeting attendees ate up Limbaugh’s red meat. He was so successful, political pundits say, that he’s becoming the de facto head of the Republican Party at a time when new ideas and positive energy are difficult to find in the GOP.
Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele initially characterized Limbaugh’s shtick as “incendiary” and “ugly,” then backpedaled, finally saying, “I realized words that I said (about Limbaugh) weren’t what I was thinking.”
Unfortunately, Limbaugh said exactly what he was thinking.
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