Is you is, or is you ain’t my constitchency?

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Poor Rush.  He must see somebody new every morning when he looks at himself in the mirror.  Either he’s the beating heart and rapier mind of conservatism — the sine qua non; bigger than Reagan, even — or he’s an incendiary boob with an ugly show, who’s burning conservatism to the waterline.

And that’s just if you ask conservatives.

In fact, you can get that full range of opinions from a single conservative on consecutive days.  I’ve lost track of how many elected Republicans and other conservative luminaries have had to cut and run from Rush in the past month.  One day they criticize him in very harsh terms; the next day they apologize and fawn over him.

The latest lamb restored to the ninety-and-nine is the RNC’s recently elected chairman, Michael Steele.  Saturday night, he said, “Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh — his whole thing is entertainment. He has this incendiary — yes, it’s ugly.”  Today, he said, “I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking.  It was one of those things where I thinking [sic] I was saying one thing, and it came out differently . . . He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing.”

In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, there’s a brief storyline about, well, the madness of King George, which would come and go at random.  His oldest son basically wanted him either killed or cured.  The narrator adds wryly, “It must be difficult to wake up every morning not knowing if you are the king of England.”  Rush knows the feeling.

The larger issue that all these apologized-for criticisms are part of is American conservatism’s and the Republican Party’s ongoing efforts to figure out where they go from here.  Should they purge, purify and come out the 200-proof essence of right-wing conservatism?  (A bold, fresh piece of ideology, one might say.)  Or should they re-think, re-tool, and come out with a more moderate conservatism that might have a chance of appealing to more than 30% of the electorate?

Rush, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and, increasingly, Newt Gingrich argue for purifying.  Eric Cantor, who fancies himself a latter-day Newt, agrees.

David Brooks, David Frum, Rod Dreher, and, unexpectedly, Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah argue for diversifying.

George Will, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and many others blow with the prevailing winds, shifting from moment to moment.

It’s already an ugly fight, and it’s going to get uglier before it gets better.

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One Response to “Is you is, or is you ain’t my constitchency?”

  1. Sandi Says:

    There has never been any excuse at all for that sad, hateful, pompous, slimy piece of a man. That approximately 30% of the electorate is stuck in that kind of spiritual poverty is disturbing, to say the least. What’s more disturbing is that there’s another 20-25% at least who aren’t immune from indulging in it from time to time.

    Things are rough right now (directly because of the conservative philosophy, but never you mind that, they will obfuscate until they make us forget this truth). Hard choices are having to be made. To take the most pressing issue: If we have any hope at all of combating climate change, the consumption of energy simply will have to become more expensive, and that this will be politically unpopular is a certainty. Americans are not about self-sacrifice if it means they have to give up or pay more for their flat-screen TVs, air-conditioned McMansions, and gas-guzzling monster trucks and SUVs. The only thing that will change this overconsumptive (is that a word?) behavior is for it to cost too much for the individual to sustain. The cost of cap and trade will inevitably be passed along to the consumer one way or another. It still must be done, but whoever has the courage and leadership to do it should understand that he and his party will be punished by the spoiled children who don’t want to give up their toys to, you know, save life on earth.

    And when that happens, the Rush Limbaughs of the world will be right there waiting to reassure people that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their selfishness and greed, and look at those undeserving people over there who are getting a handout, and where is your piece, and everything, everything, everything, everything is always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS the fault of Democrats, even if it isn’t. Divide and conquer. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I always kinda knew hope would be short-lived. It was a lovely feeling while it lasted.

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