Is Limbaugh really the problem?
By Robert Owens
It's fashionable to point at Rush Limbaugh as the source of our descent into toxic politics. After the decent and humane way the Move-on-dot-Democrats and the lap-dog mainstream media treated President George W. Bush for the last 8 years it's disappointing that suddenly these paragons of fairness, civility and truth are being subjected to such a withering attack by the Most Powerful Man in America. Mr. Limbaugh is a radio personality, an astute commentator on the politics, society and economy of the country and he probably does need to keep half his brain tied behind his back just to make it fair but he is not the Most Powerful Man in America.
Can you imagine back in the bad old days when we endured Bush's outrageous $400 billion deficits the uproar that would've ensued if it had been revealed Carl Rove held daily conference calls with Rush, O'Reilly, Hannnity and Beck? Can you imagine the charges of conspiracy and collusion that would've worn us out in the 24 hour news cycle? Just imagine the outrage of the fairness police, Pelosi, Reid, Frank and Dodd. The gnashing of teeth and the howls of injustice would've been enough to convince anyone with ears that blessed freedom itself was in danger of descending into cruel despotism.
However, when it was revealed President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel holds a daily conference phone call for poodle press TV commentators and reporters such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and CNN's James Carville and Paul Begala surprisingly the in-the-tank mainstream media didn't even take time to roll their eyes and yawn. This sinks below the obvious double-standard we've come to expect. Just imagine if Pat Buchanan made a disparaging remark about the Special Olympics. Does anyone believe the media screech would have turned into rhapsodies about his courageous apology within hours?
Coming from the political cesspool that's Chicago everyone expected the highest level of integrity and fairness from the in-coming Obama administration. So imagine our lack of surprise when the first announced pick to share his power was another denizen of Daley's Kingdom of Darkness, Rahm Emmanuel.
Most of us know Emmanuel by his intimidating happy-face nickname Rhambo. When we think about him, we usually smile as we reflect on his sunny pit-bull demeanor and his get-it-done-or-else reputation that would make Don Corleone proud.
Here are a few of the reasons Rhambo is also known as Deadfish and why having him wake up every morning for a conference call about how to drag your name through the mud might not be such a pleasant experience.
When one pollster reported numbers Emmanuel didn't want to hear, he received a large dead fish in the mail, not a horse's head in his bed but to the point. Emmanuel's fundraising has a distinctly Chicago flair. When working to help finance one of Richard the Second's ritual re-elections when receiving offers (in Chicago donations are a negotiation item, exactly how much police and fire protection do you want) he would tell people their amounts were so low they were embarrassing themselves as he slammed the phone down. Surprisingly many called back with higher offers. On the night after Clinton won in 1992. At a celebratory party Emanuel regaled his fellow politically-correct liberals with a long rambling recitation of Clinton's enemy list. After shouting a name, he playfully stabbed the table with a steak knife while hissing, "Dead!"
However, the dark side isn't Rhambo's only side, there's also sweetness and light. Mr. Emanuel is well known for treating his stable of regular supporters well sending them cheesecakes, earmarks and bailouts.
Back to the gist of the Conference Call Cabal's attack against that loveable little fuzz-ball Rush the much ballyhooed campaign of the Democratic National Committee against Rush led by Emmanuel and his crew with the help of their Mainstream Media fellow-travelers in the tank repeats over and over, "He wants President Obama to fail!" As one who actually heard the original statement, Mr. Limbaugh has never said he wants President Obama to fail no matter how the cut-and-paste tactics of the Mainstream Media tries to make it sound as if he did. What he said and what he says consistently is that he wants President Obama's collectivist agenda to fail. That's the real crime here. He's an unabashed supporter of free markets and the personal liberty which by nature accompanies this traditional American economy. That's why he's being pilloried.
Looking at those who want us to look at Rush might make this a little fair. Has any of the Cabal ever wanted a President or his policies to fail?
Prior to hearing of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers James Carville when referring to President Bush told a group of pet reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed." Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg joined in saying his polls showed some people somewhere had misgivings about the new President. He was smiling as he continued, "We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I'm wanting them to turn against him." When the news of the terrorist attacks reached the two Democrat leaders Carville stood by his convictions and bravely said, "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!" The only thing that doesn't seem to change is liberals get a pass and conservatives get skewered.
The pivotal point here is that we are witnessing a private citizen being harassed by a White House attack-machine for political gain. The power of the executive branch is awesome. While Rush the entertainer often calls himself the most powerful man in America others often call the President the Most Powerful Man in the World. When I think that the President's Chief-of-Staff and his cadre of media hit-men hold daily rap-sessions seeking ways to attack a private citizen it chills me to the bone. What's next? A tax audits, FBI wire taps, or maybe they'll send in a black ops team to bug his office.
Is Limbaugh really the problem? Or is an over-the-top Rabid Response Team led by a Chicago-bred political hatchet-man bent on silencing opposing opinions the problem? Freedom of speech is an important thing and when we have a White House staff dedicated to brow-beating anyone who disagrees it's hard to imagine someone who appoints a political knee-capper like Deadfish doesn't know what he's doing. Then again, plausible deniability does rhyme with unindicted co-conspirator at least in the pages of history.
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, Religion, and Leadership for Southside Virginia Community College.