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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

 

a lot of republicans really eat this up


i'm only linking to it because i will need a reference, somewhere down the line, to illustrate for me how utterly bankrupt and pathetic -- laughable and stupid, really -- the republican party really was in this time.

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the fact that the party who dominates the house, the senate, the white house, and the popular mandate, feels the need to address limbaugh at all gives me reason to suspect that they are nervous for some reason... one has to wonder why a party that holds that kind of power would even notice him much less sick their preeminant attack dog Emmanuel on him. Don't they have better things to do?

 
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i think there's actually a political strategy afoot, though a dishonorable one, anon.

the republican party, fwiw, is rudderless. pushing eric cantor to the fore is symptomatic. what's left of the GOP is trying hard to position itself as opposing "congress" -- the only political entity which tests worse than the GOP itself at the moment.

so the administration is really left without a natural opposition. and they aren't eager to be seen as pressing their advantage and destroying so quickly their "postpartisan" meme. the most natural outgrowth of that is to set itself against the most idiotic and virulent aspects of the "conservative" (though i think neofascist fits far better -- there's absolutely nothing conservative about limbaugh and who he speaks for) movement.

what's quite disturbing, however, is the continuation of a meme adopted by the last administration -- which is attacking unfriendly elements of the press from the pulpit. to my mind, such moves (though hardly without historical precedent) skirt first amendment issues. but then i don't expect any imperial president to be friendly to the constitution anymore.

 
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and there's more, anon -- hey, maybe gibbs should attack simon cowell!

 
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though i think neofascist fits far better

Employing the term fascist with Rush leads me to one of two conclusions: 1) You don't listen to Rush, or 2) You don't know the real meaning of the term "fascist".

Of course, people confused about a concept often put "neo" in front of it to hedge their bets or leave themselves an out once called on it.

 
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to be fair, steve, my view is part of a long-developed critique of the revived jacobin school of political thought and propaganda. i have heard rush (not least his talk here, but i used to have a lot of time in the car) and even read some of his books; i've also a thorough understanding of what it means to be fascist. i think those who do not see that he fits altogether too well into the lineage of jacobinism are taking his bloviating about "conservatism" and "freedom" and the long chain of false dichotomies he represents at face value, perhaps to their emotional pleasure but certainly to their intellectual discredit.

he is a simpleton's prophet; god knows they exist on both sides of the aisle in droves, but he is one. and the alchemy of populism, national greatness and reactionary and really quite nihilistic and 'revolutionary' invective has a history which he is unfortunately extending.

 
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here's a good piece from politico on the democratic salivation at the successful elevation of a crackpot as the figurehead of the GOP.

The strategy took shape after Democrats included Limbaugh’s name in an October poll and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans. Then the conservative talk-radio host emerged as an unapologetic critic of Barack Obama shortly before his inauguration, when even many Republicans were showering him with praise.

Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.

"The Administration is enabling me,” he wrote in an email to POLITICO. “They are expanding my profile, expanding my audience and expanding my influence. An ever larger number of people are now being exposed to the antidote to Obamaism: conservatism, as articulated by me. An ever larger number of people are now exposed to substantive warnings, analysis and criticism of Obama's policies and intentions, a ‘story’ I own because the [mainstream media] is largely the Obama Press Office.”

The bigger, the better, agreed Democrat James Carville. “It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” he said of Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”


my admonishment would be that someone had better be prepared for this strategy to backfire. the retreat into narcissism and division and perfect-ideals-under-assault which limbaugh plays on constantly can become, in times of hardship, intuitively attractive to disaffected masses looking for someone to blame for their plight. that is the lesson of the history of hardship -- the 1720s, the 1790s, the 1840s, the 1870s, the 1930s.

the hard thing is for people to continue to believe in the mismanaged and coopted institutions of civilization which can and do protect them (whether they realize it or not) from the worst outcomes. it is these institutions, and no bizarre ideology, which importantly falls under attack in periods of economic and social collapse.

 
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Thank you for your response, and I will take you at your word that this is all tied up in "jacobin school of political thought and propaganda." I'm preparing for societal collapse and am having to ration the number of topics I am going to study. Right now, food storage is taking up all my time.

I think we are in full agreement on the Republican Party. In fact I will go farther and confess a total lack of faith in the party system --- it is what is wrong with our political system. The Dems and Repubs are using the same business model as the World Wrestling Federation. Most recently, McCain and Obama jumped in the ring, growled at each other, threw a couple of fake blows, then left the ring and went back to a locker room to share a beer and laugh at the rubes who thought it was all real.

What I think we disagree on is Rush's role in all this. He is extending a rudder to the rudderless Republicans, but they are looking at it like a caveman would look at an iPod.

What we may also agree on, which I discern from your last post, is what I worry about the most; that a large portion of people in this country are not able to govern themselves, as Rush proposes. They are not worthy of the Constitutional protections they were given by the country's founders. Give them freedom and they squander it. My working theory is that they are products of a government-run school system, and they never made the transition to adult thinking.

But that is why Rush speaks to me. When I was a kid and read "Give me liberty or give me death", I took it to heart and it became a part of who I am. And when it comes time to man the Hot Gates, I'll be there. I have a very big problem right now: I won't live in a socialist workers paradise, and I won't give up my country. It will all end sadly for someone.

Thanks again for your response and your considered analysis of all the events you cover.

 
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