Are white conservatives suffering from 'discrimination envy?'
//So I went and committed myself to taking part in this multi-part "conversation on race" over at Open Salon. (Had I known it was going to be this much work I might have thought better of it, but there you go...) Anyway, here's my entry. You can view previous parts the series here. //
I thought I'd heard it all when Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union over slavery, demanded that Judge Sonia Sotomayor... an Hispanic woman ... apologize, presumably to all white men for saying, as we've now heard umpteen times on cable news (and never in context,) that she would "hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would make a better decision than a white man who hadn't lived that experience."
The charges of reverse racism were made with such zeal and relish -- you almost begin to wonder whether the loud mouths were blowing the dog whistle or hearing it; somehow following what they knew to be an underlying and very real anxiety, even a kind of "discrimination envy" -- among white men of a certain age; plus a frustration about being the only group that doesn't get to cry "ism" when their feelings are hurt.
Indeed, for white men in America, it's been one hell of a half century. From desegregation to affirmative action to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of '64 and '65, the last 50 or so years have been a period of steady deterioration for the image of white man as America's boss and father figure. In America's collective theater of the mind, white men have traversed from Neil Armstrong and JFK to Al Bundy, Dick Nixon and Jimmy Carter. J.R. Ewing, Don Johnson and Ronald Reagan reinvigorated the brand for a while, but it didn't last.
On television in the 1970s, the fed up white guy was represented by Archie Bunker, who felt free to rail against blacks, foreigners, assertive women and all the rest of what was wrong with the Brave New multicultural world, but only inside his house. The Reagan era brought us a reinvented Archie named Rush Limbaugh -- far less lovable, louder and more blandly vicious than the Norman Lear character (and three times less capable of keeping a wife,) but still venting a real frustration at what seemed to be a world filled with teachers who want his kids to learn Spanish, Mexicans who are taking all the jobs (and not learning English), and Hollywierdos who fill his TV with blacks, browns and "queers", and who keep telling him, in ways large and small, that people like him -- meat and potatoes, Christian white men like the kind who "built this country" and who like their big cars, their cigarettes and their women in skirts -- aren't cool anymore. By the time Archie took its last Klieg lights in the late 70s, Title IX and affirmative action (whose dirty little secret is that it benefits white women more than any other group) had ripped June Cleaver from the kitchen and created a new generation of board room hustle-women who don't want to get married or have kids until they turned 40, or ever, and who don't like to be called "gal."
The 80s and 90s brought hip-hop, where a white guy pretty much has to muse about killing his mama to be taken seriously, and which stole a generation of young white college guys from good old rock and roll. Baseball was taken by the Latinos, basketball and football by the "brothas," hell even golf eventually fell to Tiger Woods (though he's not actually black according to him, he's "Coblanasian," which is black for "please don't call me black.") And there were the Cosbys, who forever replaced the Cleavers as the prototypical American TV family. (To add insult to injury, the show that for a long time was the lead in to Cosby was "Family Ties," in which the lone conservative white male character, Alex P. Keaton, was often the butt of the plot's jokes.)
It's cold comfort, it seems, that white men still controll 85 percent of the nation's board rooms, hold 84 percent of the highest corporate titles (CEO, COO and the like,) and that "just 6 percent of corporate America's top money earners are women," and "only 3 percent of board members are women of color." There is exactly one black female CEO of a major corporation in the U.S. (her name is Ursula Burns, and she now runs Xerox.)
Blacks and Hispanics may dominate on the diamond, court and field, but white men still control 95% of professional NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball franchises.
In Hollywood, Will Smith may have replaced Tom Cruise as the modern era's top earner and box office king, and Shonda Rimes ("Grey's Anatomy" creator") and Oprah may be at the top of the money market, but the majority of films featuring black actors are rehashes of "Boys in the Hood" or slapstick comedies, as Spike Lee has wryly pointed out. On television, the buffoonery is even worse, with not a "Cosby Show" in sight. (If you don't believe me, try being a black Hollywood actress for a day who isn't Halle Berry ...) And across the entertainment spectrum, don't let Diddy and Jay Z fool you, the vast majority of entertainment industry executives are NOT African-American (and neither are the vast majority of its stars.)
In fact, if you look at any statistic, from poverty, to unemployment to high school graduation rates, and on and on, and you'll find that in reality, black and brown people haven't even come close to catching, let alone eclipsing, white men.
So why all the gnashing of teeth It's called politics. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote (53%) since Jimmy Carter. And while he didn't win a majority of the white vote, he won enough of it (43%) to carry him to victory, because he swept every other demographic group, particularly minorities and young people. There was a particularly fixation with white voters and their relationship to Obama during the campaign, and for good reason. Prior to last year, the notion of a black U.S. president -- particularly one named Barack Hussein Obama -- seemed almost absurd, mainly because it was assumed that white people would never vote for such a person (remember how wrong people like Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews were about white voters in Pennsylvania and Ohio?) But the 2008 election proved a point that Buchanan, Gingrich and other seasoned politicos, and even the portly Mr. Limbaugh understand. Namely, the country's population, and voters, are shifting steadily brownward.
Thus the panic that Limbaugh, Buchanan, Gingrich, Bill O'Reilly and others are exhibiting, about "racism," about Sotomayor, the Ricci case (and "Lou Dobbs" nightly jeremiads about illegal immigration,) is not the panic of people who really believe that minorities are outshining white men economically or even socially. It's the panic of men who hear the drumbeat of the next national election, one that will be held after all the damage that's been done to the GOP, by the GOP with Hispanic voters (and long since with blacks.) Meanwhile, the percentage of white voters in the 2008 voting population shrank precipitously:
"The overall message is total ballots cast by white Americans was down, while African Americans and Latinos cast way more ballots than they did in 2004," said Jody Herman, a researcher with Project Vote. "And young voters, age 18-29, cast over 1.8 million more ballots than in 2005, which is a 9 percent increase. That increase was greater than any other age group."
... In contrast, 2.88 million more African Americans, 1.52 million more Latinos, 67,000 more Asian Americans and 1.32 million members of other minorities, voted this fall compared to four years ago. That is 1.18 million fewer white voters and 6.96 million more minority voters.
Moreover, precisely which white voters stayed home was telling:
"I think absolutely white Republicans did not show up," he said. "They were turned off, disillusioned. They did not turn out. Democratic voters did come out. They couldn't wait to vote."
When Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980, his voters were 98 percent white. Had he received the same turnout of whites, blacks and Hispanics as we saw in 2008, he would have lost the election. Which brings us back to Lindsey Graham, Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, Gingrich and others, (plus this guy) plus the right's favorite drum major: Fox News. Their two-week orgy of Sotomayor condemnation seems tailor made to target the white guys out there who really do feel like so many Frank Riccis -- victimized by "Jim Crow liberalism," having studying harder and overcoming more obstacles than the pampered Princetonians and birth certificate hiding Harvard grads living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with their exotic childhoods and degreed pomposity, and yet, being denied opportunities at work, at colleges, in sports, and hell, in life ... wait for it ... because they're white. To those Archie Bunkers out there, who found their voices (and their pitchforks) at Sarah Palin rallies and who don't realize G. Gordon Liddy is an actual criminal (or that Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck are not actually delivering the "news,") and who wouldn't care anyway, because these people are speaking up for them, the leaders of the right -- such as they are -- are offering to lead a new civil rights movement, which shall consist mainly of voting Republican.
And this is the guy worried about a "racist" getting onto the Supreme Court? Rush Limbaugh, famous for his positive attitude toward ethnic minorities, has done it again. His attack on John Cornyn, whose conservative credentials he questioned today, was expected. After all, Cornyn made the seminal mistake of disagreeing with Boss Limbaugh for likening Judge Sonia Sotomayor to David Duke. But then, El Rushbo up and swallowed the "golden microphone":
Rush got the final hour started with "one more thing" about Sonia Sotomayor -- a mental exercise: "She said that because she is a Latina, because she is a Hispanic woman, that she'd -- because of the richness of that experience, she'd be a better judge than a white guy. What if she had said because of her rich experiences as a Latina, as a Hispanic woman, that she'd be a better judge than a black guy? What do you think the reaction to that might have been?"
Go on ...
"If we want to talk about richness of experience, there's a group of people that were here before we got here, gang: the Indians, the Native Americans, the chiefs, the redskins. I don't see any of them being put up on the courts. Talk about a richness of experience -- hell, these clowns beat Custer. They have cred. You don't see them being put up, do you?"
Oh, that's not good.
Meanwhile, how long before the White House knuckles under to the wussified Old School Democrats and force Judge Sotomayor to issue a meek and full throated apology to white people everywhere, even as they're winning this debate??? The media, from Politico to the New York Times to the loathsome New Republic, is already doing its part to cow the would-be Justice on the "wise Latina" issue, and so far, Robert Gibbs is playing along.
Next, Powell was attacked by Draft Dodgin' Dick Cheney, the benighted one, who got out of his Vietnam service by makin' babies! Cheney attempted to usher Powell out of the GOP, for the above-mentioned offense of supporting Barack Obama. And he sided with his teammate, Rush, over Powell (if he had to choose.) Well, Powell hit back at him, too, and now, it looks like Dick has decided to walk it back:
In an interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, Cheney said Powell is welcome back into the party and that Republicans would be "happy to have him."
KUDLOW: ... You kind of took a shot at General Colin Powell the other day, said you didn't know he was still a member of the Republican Party. He responded to you by saying that you were mistaken. He is a member of the Republican Party, and he regards himself a, quote, "Jack Kemp Republican," end quote. Could you react to what Mr. Powell is saying?
Mr. CHENEY: Well, we're happy to have General Powell in the Republican Party. I was asked a question about a dispute he was having, I think, with Rush Limbaugh, and I expressed the consent, the notion I had that he had already left since he endorsed Barack Obama for president. But I meant no offense to my former colleague. I wasn't seeking to rearrange his political identity.
KUDLOW: So you welcome him back into the party.
Mr. CHENEY: We're in the mode where we welcome everybody to the party. What I don't want to do, in the course of trying to expand the overall size of the Republican Party and expand our base, is to take away from basic fundamental principles. I think it's very important that we remind people out around the country what it is that we stand for, that we do believe in a strong national defense, in low taxes and limited government; and giving up on those principles, in order to try to appeal to people who are otherwise going to vote Democratic, seems to me is a--would be a fundamental defeat for those of us who are essentially conservative, who've been long-time supporters of the Republican Party.
If of course, by limited government you mean an extensive domestic surveillance network, sneak and peak searches, opening of all mail and email, tapping everyone's phone and secretly detaining American citizens ... (ahem) ... Point: War heroes.
Now, the third blow. Gen. David Petraeus, who enjoys near Jack Bauer levels of worship from the right, has sided with none other than President Barack Obama (plus Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen and SecDef Bob Gates and many, many other military men) on the subjects of ending the Cheney torture program and closing Gitmo:
Petraeus was asked if the recent moves by Obama help or hurt the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. He replied, “I think, on balance, that those moves help it. In fact, I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines.”
On the issue of Gitmo, he said, “With respect to Guantanamo, I think that the closure in a responsible manner, obviously one that is certainly being worked out now by the Department of Justice -- I talked to the attorney general the other day [and] they have a very intensive effort ongoing to determine, indeed, what to do with the detainees who are left, how to deal with them in a legal way, and if continued incarceration is necessary -- again, how to take that forward. But doing that in a responsible manner, I think, sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.”
Can a vicious Limbaugh attack on Petraeus as a "phony soldier" be far behind? I think Petraeus can take him. Point: War Heroes.
UPDATE: Score another one for the war heroes. Barack Obama's national security adviser, a retired Marine general, smacks Cheney too:
President Barack Obama's national security adviser laid out a sweeping rebuttal Wednesday to former Vice President Dick Cheney's charge that America is less safe under the new administration.
Pointing to increases in defense spending, efforts to get out of Iraq and revamp the strategy for Afghanistan, and a broad campaign to repair the U.S. reputation abroad, retired Marine Gen. James Jones said the nation is safer today than it has been. But, he added, no administration is perfect.
"I think that the former vice president knows full well that perfection is an impossible standard," said Jones, adding that the U.S. can only do everything it can "to keep threats at bay and as far away from our shores as possible."
Generalissimo Rush Limbaugh is right. Colin Powell should be the new head of the Republican Party, if for no other reason than the fact that he's just about the only Republican left who's man enough to stand up to Rush Limbaugh. Here's the "Face the Nation" interview in full.
By the way, isn't it ironic that the GOP's so-called "moderates" are reasonable, intelligent men, who also have served their country in war (both Powell and Tom Ridge served in Vietnam) while their haters, namely Cheney and Limbaugh, were among the quizzling cowards who ducked the draft when it was their time to serve? Coincidence?
It's no secret that there hasn't been much love lost over the years between Colin Powell and Dick Cheney. When it comes to the moderate military man, the chickenhawk cabal who hijacked George W. Bush's presidency and crashed it into the ground (sorry, couldn't resist the 20th hijacker reference...) no likey. In fact Cheney, who opted out of Vietnam himself, doesn't seem to have much use for people who actually serve. But fellow Vietnam service dodgers like Rush Limbaugh? Them, he likes:
And if you look at the latest Gallup Poll, it appears the Republican Party will soon be made up only of draft dodgers, pill heads and wacked out talk show hosts (and Michael "Fo Sheezy" Steele.) Wow.
Here in South Florida (officially the Worst Talk Radio Market in the World...) Clear Channel has blown away three stations, converting the former Love 94 (a terrific smooth jazz station) to a computer-programmed party music station with no deejays, and the "progressive talk" station to an all-syndicated sports station (the market's fifth.) The third blow came last week, when dozens more employees were let go, as the company's FM hip-hop/R&B station was handed over to the New York computers, too. Clear Channel has layed off who knows how many people, maybe more than 100, including sales and programming staff, in South Florida. Across the country, the job loss has been in the thousands.
So you'll forgive me if I consider Clear Channel employee Rush Hudson Limbaugh III a total cretin -- if an unsurprising one -- when he, a resident of real estate-devastated Florida, and Madoff-hit Palm Beach no less, belittles the recession as the little people's problem, as ThinkP reports:
Last night, Rush Limbaugh came to Washington, D.C. to address the President’s Club Dinner, a meeting of wealthy donors and supporters of the Heritage Foundation. The audience included Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), as well as various millionaire trustees of the Heritage Foundation, like Thomas Saunders.
After more or less reprising his radio show routine, Limbaugh went on to brag about his $400 million contract with Clear Channel Communications. As he continued to gloat about his show’s success, Limbaugh mocked the idea that Americans are suffering, noting, “I’ve never had financially a down year” despite the “supposed” recession:
LIMBAUGH: But during all this growth I haven’t lost any audience. I’ve never had financially a down year. There’s supposedly a recession, but we’ve got - what is this May? Back in February we already had 102% of 2008 overbooked for 2009. [applause] So I always believed that if we’re going to have a recession, just don’t participate. [laughter]
(ThinkP also has the audio.) Which leads me to a question. Just what do the Dittoheads need to hear before they figure out that they're storming the Bastille on behalf of Marie Antoinette, and that the Queen is laughing her ass off at how stupid they are?
VAN SUSTEREN: Anything -- politics, theater, music, anything.
LIMBAUGH: Oh, gee! You know, this is when I have brain freezes. It's like asking me what my favorite movie is. Who do I admire and why? Well, you know, I...
VAN SUSTEREN: You like the Humane Society.
VAN SUSTEREN: The Humane Society.
... the only real question is, who will abjectly apologize to whom, first??? Rush, for taking the wrong side on the issue of cruelty to animals -- I mean, how could anybody who really cares about hunters be for that??? Isn't hunting by definition cruelty to animals??? And why are the black helicopters circling my house!!!! Or the hunters, who by now should know that one who is a winger doesn't speak ill of El Rushbo for long, before a very public apology is due... And by the way, why does Rush consider dog fighting to be a cruel "fountain of suffering," but waterboarding to be akin to kiteboarding with Richard Bramson?
Who's picking the Republican leadership of tomorrow? Why, it's the unsexy of today. You remember the unsexy don't you? It's El Rushbo, who topped the Boston Phoenix's unsexy list already this year, with three quarters of the year still to go!
JABBA THE NUT America’s ugliest moment of 2009? Rush Limbaugh, his man-boobs a-jiggle, bouncing at the CPAC podium to bask in the sickly glow of conservatism’s orgy of greed, avarice, and arrogance. Here, at last, was the shining image of the 21st century Republican Party: a leeringly rich Baby Boomer squatting at the top of the mountain, reaping his jollies from the suffering of those at the bottom, praying for the failure of hope. If this hypocritical and morally repugnant reformed Oxy junkie wants to discuss “failure,” maybe we should talk about his career as an NFL commentator — or the last time he detoxed off prescription smack.
Newt Gingrich is running for president in 2012. How do I know? The "other fat one" has waded into the GOP vacuum created, most recently, by the unmanliness of Michael Steele. Now, Newt is attempting to demonstrate that one can stand up against Rush Limbaugh -- even dare to question his role as the leader of the Republican Party, and live to tell about it. We'll see how that works out. He even used the opportunity, on NBC no less, to take a shot at Chris Matthews:
"Rush Limbaugh is in the long run an interesting radio personality," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"The fact is he has a large audience, the audience believes him, the audience calls their members, the audience has an affect. He's not the leader of the Republican party," he said.
"That's like saying, 'Does Chris Matthews help or hurt the Democratic party?'"
As if. Matthews, on a given day, sounds like everything from a Democrat to a Reaganite. Calling him a leader of any Democrat is like saying Shep Smith should replace Michael Steele. (Newt then went on to answer the question of whether he wants to run in 2012 with something on the order of "not particularly." But of course not...
The pain without gain keeps coming for the GOP, and this time, it's coming to Florida, home of the fat one with the golden microphone...From Jen O'Malley Dillon, the new executive director of the DNC:
If you're anything like me, then you've had the urge to talk back to a right-wing talk radio host more than a few times. Now you can.
Rush Limbaugh has made waves lately about his desire to see President Obama fail. And he's unapologetic, even though Americans voted in November for the very kind of change the President is bringing to Washington. As even Limbaugh must know, if the President fails, America fails.
Incredibly, Republican leaders have yet to condemn Limbaugh for his destructive comments. In fact, Republicans like Congressman Eric Cantor, a leader in the House, have adopted the Limbaugh strategy, telling the Washington Post recently that their strategy on the President's jobs plan was "just saying no."
The only Republican leader to challenge Limbaugh -- the chairman of the Republican National Committee -- even called Rush to apologize just a few days later.
But we have no apologies for Rush, just a message. We need you to come up with a slogan, in ten words or less, that we'll put on a billboard where he can't miss it -- in his hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Meanwhile, a Dem party source points out that Florida Republican Party chair Jim Greer was a big supporter of Steele's going into the RNC leadership showdown (he also strongly opposed the whole "Barack the magic negro" thing...) So does Greer feel good about his guy having to bend over and grab the ankles, as Rush would say? Who can tell... Perhaps it's time to ask Mr. Greer whose side he's on: the side of "failure"/Rush, or the side of the American people...
If you'd like to suggest a slogan for the billboard, go here.
Conservative direct mail guru Richard Viguerie spells out the bottom line for the GOP and its many, many problems:
"The 'Rushification' of the GOP is the natural and inevitable result of the fact that those who are supposed to provide leadership -- Republican elected officials and party officers -- are doing little to bring the party back," said Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. "Nature abhors a vacuum, and there is no vacuum in nature as empty as the leadership of the Republican Party today."
Ouch. And the air head currently standing at the mouth of the vacuum is none other than our good friend Michael Steele, who is quickly turning out to be almost as golden for Democrats as El Rushbo himself. Steele has quickly gone from the Great Brown Hope of the GOP (oh, sorry, that was Bobby Jindal...) the Great Black Hope of the GOP, to a national punch line (even Morning Joe got at him on Wednesday.) And Politico reports that besides providing endless hilarious sound bites for the ankle biters online, such as myself, and on late night TV, Steele isn't even getting his organization together. So much for the logic in making him RNC chair just because he's not white ...
I actually caught the Rush Limbaugh dressing down of Michael Steele on the radio today. And given the GOP's sorry track record on trying (ever so briefly) to stand up to the right's $400 million radio bully, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that within about a New York minute of Rush's smackdown, the Notorious RNC would punk out. To refresh: here's Michael Steele Saturday night, trying to man up:
And here's Rush Limbaugh slapping him down like a skinny puppy:
Mr. Steele called Mr. Limbaugh after the radio host belittled Mr. Steele on his show, questioning his authority and saying the new Republican leader was off “to a shaky start.”
... Mr. Steele told Politico on Monday that he had called Mr. Limbaugh to apologize.
“My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Mr. Steele told The Politico. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.”
Democrats reacted with glee to the exchange. “Michael Steele has denounced himself for renouncing Rush,” said Paul Begala, an ally of Mr. Emanuel and one of the Democrats presenting Mr. Limbaugh as the face of the G.O.P. “Can anyone seriously argue now that Rush is not the unchallenged leader of the Republican Party?”
Um ... no. But that's not the best part. For that, let's go to Politico:
“I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. "It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not."
“I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh,” Steele added. “No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything.”
Michael ... do you understand the words that are coming out of your mouth?
Want to feel even more uncomfortable for Michael Steele? Check out the ReidBlog Michael Steele page!
UPDATE: Best response to the Great Steele Capitulation, from Andrew Sullivan:
Comrade Steele dutifully apologizes to the Great Leader and offer his regrets to his fellow comrades in the movement. Re-education camp will follow shortly.This climb-down marks the end of establishment Republican resistance to the Poujadist pontificator. It's Rush's party now. So why shouldn't he run for president in 2012? Make Palin his veep - and be done with it.
American Conservative: how talk radio wrecks the right
Rush Limbaugh: defender of the wealth
Rush Limbaugh may be the focus of many right wingers' nocturnal fantasies and emissions, but some paleocons are going their own way. GOP whip Eric Cantor took a giant step away from El Rushbo on "This Week" this week (well, maybe not a giant one, and I give him 48 hours tops, before he's on the air with Rush groveling and taking it all back. Actually, make that 24...) Democrats gleefully trumpet Rush as the new leader of the conservative movement (sorry, Newt.) But the American Conservative magazine, for one, is not amused by the "carny barkers" who dominate the medium that Limbaugh built:
With reasons for gratitude duly noted, are there some downsides to conservative talk radio? Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt? All those good things are plainly off the table for the next four years at least, a prospect that conservatives can only view with anguish. Did the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Savages, and Ingrahams lead us to this sorry state of affairs?
They surely did. At the very least, by yoking themselves to the clueless George W. Bush and his free-spending administration, they helped create the great debt bubble that has now burst so spectacularly. The big names, too, were all uncritical of the decade-long (at least) efforts to “build democracy” in no-account nations with politically primitive populations. Sean Hannity called the Iraq War a “massive success,” and in January 2008 deemed the U.S. economy “phenomenal.”
Much as their blind loyalty discredited the Right, perhaps the worst effect of Limbaugh et al. has been their draining away of political energy from what might have been a much more worthwhile project: the fostering of a middlebrow conservatism. There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. It’s energizing and fun. What’s wrong is the impression fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always lowbrow, an impression our enemies gleefully reinforce when the opportunity arises. Thus a liberal like E.J. Dionne can write, “The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. … Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans.” Talk radio has contributed mightily to this development.
It does so by routinely descending into the ad hominem—Feminazis instead of feminism—and catering to reflex rather than thought. Where once conservatism had been about individualism, talk radio now rallies the mob. “Revolt against the masses?” asked Jeffrey Hart. “Limbaugh is the masses.”
And I doubt they'll be taking that back. And John Derbyshire, the Brit conservative who wrote the piece, points out an important fact:
There is a lowbrow liberalism, too, but the Left hasn’t learned how to market it. Consider again the failure of liberals at the talk-radio format, with the bankruptcy of Air America always put forward as an example. Yet in fact liberals are very successful at talk radio. They are just no good at the lowbrow sort. The “Rush Limbaugh Show” may be first in those current Talkers magazine rankings, but second and third are National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” with 13 million weekly listeners each. It is easy to mock the studied gentility, affectless voices, and reflexive liberalism of NPR, but these are very successful radio programs.
Rush has around 14 million listeners. Not a huge difference there. And he leaves off the notably highbrow Thom Hartmann, who made Talkers top ten in their latest power rankings.
Related: if you listened to Mike McConnell at all this weekend (and why would you?) you heard his full throated defense of the big banks, and their use of taxpayer dollars. Said McConnell: "I presume that they know more about their business than I do, and that they know how to run their businesses better than the government," so no one should complain when Northern Trust takes TARP money and then throws a party. Huh??? If they know what they're doing, then ... um ... why do they need to be bailed out?
A new study suggests that the redder the state, the bluer the online entertainment preferences.
Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.
...The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. "The differences here are not so stark," Edelman says.
Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.
Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.
Hang on ... Rush Limbaugh is Levi Johnston's mama???
Well ... she doesn't look much like Limbaugh ... maybe with different lighting?
In this episode of "The Wasila Hillbillies" ... The f***in redneck's mama goes down on account of: "Hillbilly heroine..."
WASILLA, Alaska — Wasilla resident Sherry L. Johnston, mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend, faces a Jan. 6 court date for an oxycontin-related arrest at her home by Alaska State Troopers.
Little additional information was available Friday on the case as authorities remained unusually tight-lipped about details. But Palmer court records listed Johnston's scheduled court date and a troopers spokeswoman said in a release late Friday afternoon that the charges "are in relation to the drug oxycontin."
Holy Rush Limbaugh, Batman! Meanwhile... something looks fishy down at Ye Olde Courthouse...
Normally, troopers file charging documents in court to back up arrests. Clerks at the Palmer courthouse said they hadn't seen any filings, and none has to be filed until the hearing.
The Palmer District Attorney's office prosecutes drug cases. Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak said he was aware of the arrest, but also had not seen any reports or charging documents.
Kalytiak said the standard protocol for drug arrests is that law enforcement officials observe one drug buy, then get a warrant that permits them to record conversations and document more buys.
"I'd imagine standard protocol was followed," the district attorney said.
Madoff scam-o-la rocks Palm Beach ... could Rush be a victim?
Many of Bernie "Mr. Ponzi" Madoff's biggest clients apparently were members of the Palm Beach elite (including some unnamed charities.) Many were members of the ultra-exclusive Palm Beach Country Club ... Hey, doesn't Rush Limbaugh live in Palm Beach? Yeah, apparently, he and Madoff were neighbors. Wonder if they ever shared "the cabbage..."
So why did the rich get taken? Good old fashioned greed:
There had been some warnings: Financial consultants had been suspicious for years about his astounding run of success.
They couldn't figure out how he managed to produce steady returns, month after month, even when everyone else was losing money — and leave almost no footprint while moving billions of dollars in and out of the markets.
"People would come to me with their statements and I couldn't make heads or tails of them," said Charles Gradante, co-founder of the Hennessee Group and advisor to hedge fund investors.
"He only had five down months since 1996," Gradante said. "There's no strategy in the world that can generate that kind of performance. But when people would come to him and say, 'How did I make money this month?' he didn't like it. He would get upset with people who probed too much."
Those investors were scrambling Friday to learn whether they had been wiped out by what prosecutors described as a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. The assets of Madoff's investment company were frozen Friday in a deal with federal regulators and a receiver was appointed to manage the firm's financial affairs.
And sometimes, Madoff's investors actually assumed that he was cheating, and invested with him anyway (or even because of it):
For years and years I've heard people say that [Bernie's] investment performance was too good to be true. The returns were too steady -- like GE earnings under Welch -- and too high given the supposed strategy.
One Madoff investor, himself a legend, told me that Madoff's performance "just doesn't make sense. The numbers can't be straight." Another sophisticated Madoff investor actually went through trade confirms in order to reverse-engineer the strategy and said, "it doesn't add up."
So why did these smart and skeptical investors keep investing? They, like many Madoff investors, assumed Madoff was somehow illegally trading on information from his market-making business for their benefit. They didn't consider the possibility that he was clean on that score but running a good old-fashioned Ponzi scheme.
Chuck Hagel let's it rip during a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advances International Studies, going after a choice few GOPers, including El Rushbo:
"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus." "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."
And adding this gem:
"There is always going to be a certain know-nothing element to democracy," said Hagel. "That is their choice. But in a world that is so vitally interconnected, it does help if you try to understand the other side... Ask them: 'What is it that scares you about the French so much?'"
As to what he'll do next, after leaving the Senate, Hagel brought the funny:
There is news today that [Obama] is in serious negotiations with Warren Buffet for Buffet to buy the entire United States government," Hagel joked in the opening of his speech. "I applaud that. I am seeking the job of buffet's driver. He is the only one who has money. Obviously we think highly of warren and we take great pride that he is a cornhusker."
Is SecDef filled yet? This guy's great. Brace yourself for El Ego's response tomorrow.
In case you missed that, what El Rushbo said was ... John Edwards stepped out on Elizabeth Edwards "because he found someone ... who would do something with her MOUTH ... besides talk."
Yep. That's what he said. Here's the full quote, courtesy of Media Matters (note that Limbaugh appears to be aware of the mine field he's about to step into, but he jumps in anyway...)
LIMBAUGH: Well, it's -- I mean, at some point, at some point, you gotta exhibit maturity and restraint. You know, and I do that constantly. But -- well, I don't -- look, let me see if I can run you through this and get you to think what I'm thinking without my actually saying it. That might be a pretty big talent if I could do that -- make you think what I'm going to say without my having to say it, therefore if anybody gets in trouble for saying it, you say it.
We know -- we've been told that Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards. That's part of the puff pieces on them that we've seen. Ergo, if Elizabeth Edwards is smarter than John Edwards, is it likely that she thinks she knows better than he does what his speeches ought to contain and what kind of things he ought to be doing strategy-wise in the campaign? If she is smarter than he is, could it have been her decision to keep going with the campaign? In other words, could it be that she doesn't shut up? Now, that's as far as I'm going to go.
Well, you're -- Snerdley says he's missing something. If you're missing it, you're going to have to provide it. What are you missing? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
I can't close the loop on it. I can't close the loop on it. I'm on -- you know, I'm in a little quicksand already today talking about how the chicks are giving us boring pictures of the female athletes from the Olympics. Because I know -- you -- the diversity crowd's going to be upset. They're going to -- "Ooh, do you mean the Olympics are just so you guys can ogle wom--" Yes, because we do not care to watch 'em compete. But back to Elizabeth and the Breck Girl.
I'm sorry, my friends, I just -- I can't. It just seems to me that Edwards might be attracted to a woman whose mouth did something other than talk.
LIMBAUGH: OK, we're back. Ladies and gentleman, my theory that I just explained to you about why -- you know, what could have John Edwards' motivations been to have the affair with Rielle Hunter, given his wife is smarter than he is and probably nagging him a lot about doing this, and he found somebody that did something with her mouth other than talk.
Well I guess he oughta know...
So, will there be consequences? Well let's see... What's the head count of advertisers and stations who have dropped Savage's show since he went after autistic kids? While were at it, how are Don Imus' ratings over on satellite radio? In other words: no. People like Limbaugh and Savage don't get fired, because the people they work for LIKE what they're doing. Most talk radio PDs are "conservatives," whose views of what is too outrageous for broadcast is colored, to say the least, by their political views. Limbaugh just signed a $400 million contract. He won't even be chastised harshly.
In fact, because his listener demo only includes a handful of women who call in on occasion to worship him ... with their mouths ... I'm not even sure he'll lose many advertisers.
Rush Limbaugh signs an eight year, $400 million deal to continue his top-rated radio show. Premiere Radio Networks: Palm Beach County's property tax rolls (and the underground pill trade), thank you.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the pay scale: U.S. employers cut another 62,000 jobs in June, making it six months in a row of job cuts for the Bush economy. And, says the New York Times:
... as job losses mount, even those still on payrolls have felt the pain: employers are cutting hours for their full-time employees and shrinking salaries, just as workers face record-high prices for gasoline and food.
The unemployment rate stayed steady in June at 5.5 percent, the highest level in four years. The elevated figure dispelled speculation among some economists that last month’s half-percentage point jump, the biggest monthly spike in 22 years, was a statistical anomaly.
...In the last 12 months, the economy had seen a net gain of only 15,000 jobs, the lowest net increase since November 2003.
The Hill reports that both the Obama and McCain campaigns are touting plans to turn the bleak employment picture around.
The Democratic presidential candidate promised that he would “restore broad-based, bottom-up growth that benefits all Americans.”
“I will provide working families with a middle-class tax cut; fight for affordable health care and college tuition; work to help raise workers' wages, and invest in infrastructure, education and a clean energy future to create millions of new jobs,” he said.
Sen. John McCain also noted that Americans are feeling the pain of a struggling economy and said that “Washington can no longer abdicate its responsibility to act.”
“To get our economy back on track, we must enact a jobs-first economic plan that supports job creation, provide immediate tax relief for families, enact a plan to help those facing foreclosure, lower healthcare costs, invest in innovation, move toward strategic energy independence and open more foreign markets to our goods,” the Arizona Republican said.
Both sought to paint the other party as responsible for the woes.
“Last night, President Uribe and the defense minister did brief us that the operation was going to take place today,” said McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, who was visiting Colombia Wednesday to promote a free trade agreement and to discuss drug trafficking.
“Today, I spoke by phone to President Uribe. He told me some of the details of the dramatic rescue of the people who were held hostage. Three Americans are now free and Ingrid Betancourt is now in good condition,” said McCain. “I’m pleased with the success of this very high-risk operation.”
No word on whether he got wind of the raid from the Bush administration before he planned his trip...
The WaPo, meanwhile, has a story on the Bush administration's shocking and entirely unexpected foreknowledge of a U.S. oil company's plans to do an end-run around the new Iraqi government, by cutting an oil deal with the Kurds:
Bush administration officials told Hunt Oil last summer that they did not object to its efforts to reach an oil deal with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq, even while the State Department was publicly expressing concern that such contracts could undermine a national Iraqi petroleum law, according to documents obtained by a House committee.
Last fall, after the deal was announced, the State Department said that it had tried to dissuade Hunt Oil from signing the contract with Kurdish regional authorities but that the company had proceeded "regardless of our advice." Although Hunt Oil's chief executive has been a major fundraiser for President Bush, the president said he knew nothing about the deal.
Yesterday, however, Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released documents and e-mails showing that for nearly four months, State and Commerce department officials knew about Hunt Oil's negotiations and had told company officials that there were no objections. In one note, a Commerce Department official even wished them "a fruitful visit to Kurdistan" and invited them to contact him "in case you need any support."
That guidance contradicted the administration's public posture. The Bush administration made an Iraqi national petroleum law, which has still not been adopted, a top priority last year in the hope it would more tightly bind the country's regions together and open the way for international oil companies to invest in much larger oil fields south of Iraq's Kurdish region. The State Department said, and continues to assert, that it opposes any contract with a regional Iraqi authority in the absence of a national petroleum law.
The Bush administration dabbling in secret oil deals? Say it isn't so!
I listened to a bit of Rush Limbaugh's show today, and was struck by the extent to which he seems determined to fight John McCain to the bitter end, ridiculing McCain for his (tepid) opposition to the North Carolina Republican Party's nasty, Jeremiah Wright-centered ad campaign. But Limbaugh's other theme today was that his so-called "operation chaos" was having an impact, by "keeping the Democratic primary going" so that the Clintons can do what he feels McCain and the GOP will not: "bloody up Obama."
OK. Well guess what else El Rushbo wants his "operation chaos" to do...
DENVER -- Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments that appear to call for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.
He said the riothttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifs would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens.
"Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don't elect Democrats," Limbaugh said during Wednesday's radio broadcast. He then went on to say that's the best thing that could happen to the country.
Limbaugh cited Al Sharpton, saying the Barack Obama supporter threatened to superdelegates that "there's going to be trouble" if the presidency is taken from Obama.
Several callers called in to the radio show to denounce Limbaugh's comments, when he later stated, "I am not inspiring or inciting riots, I am dreaming of riots in Denver."
Limbaugh said with massive riots in Denver, which he called part of "Operation Chaos," the people on the far left would look bad.
"There won't be riots at our convention," Limbaugh said of the Republican National Convention. "We don't riot. We don't burn our cars. We don't burn down our houses. We don't kill our children. We don't do half the things the American left does."...
Limbaugh went on to say that "riots in Denver, at the Democratic Convention will see to it we don't elect Democrats. And that's the best damn thing that can happen to this country, as far as I can think." Though later, he began to downplay his comments, perhaps realizing, even with his drug-addled brain, that what he said amounted to incitement to riot.
Well too late, fat boy. The story is all over the Denver media. And as someone who grew up in Denver (from age 2 to age 17) let me invite Rush's flabby, pasty ass to come to the Mile High City and make his threats to wreck it in person. I dare you.
Rush Limbaugh has a thought! He'll become a Hillary Pioneer to ensure she's the nominee ... otherwise ... DOOM!!! DOOOM, I saaaaayyyy..... Here 'tis:
After the withdrawal of Mitt Romney from the GOP race, Limbaugh said to his listeners, "might it be required (she's having to loan herself money), do you think I should conduct a fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton? Mitt did his part today. He got out so as not to fracture the party any further and not to harm the effort to win the war in Iraq. Should I do my part, not by joining my liberal friends in the Republican Party, but actually raising money for Mrs. Clinton, and asking you to join me, so that she would have a chance here to once again have a good shot at getting a Democrat nomination so that we win the White House?"
Limbaugh underlines that "the reason for raising money for Hillary is because that apparently my party is relying on fear and loathing of Hillary to get the nomination, to unite Republicans, who are, some of them, off the reservation. The Republicans do not seem to be relying on leadership in their party to unite the party. They seem to be relying on all these external things, nobody is going to vote for Hillary, negative turnout factor. What if she's not the nominee? We've got make sure she's the nominee if the Republican Party is to be unified. What more loyal thing could I do than to run a fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton? You watch, though, you watch how that will be questioned."
On Wednesday, Limbaugh said of Clinton, "she just polarizes people. I think she's going to gin up enough anti-Hillary turnout out there to perhaps be a boon to whoever the Republican nominee is. ...Now, if Obama is the nominee, we are doomed, and you should get ready and prepared for it now."
Meanwhile, over at RedState, one of the grown-ups tries to take the reigns...
When did victim culture become part of the conservative identity? If you disagree with Rush Limbaugh, then you are attacking talk radio? If you don't have a conservative candidate as the nominee, then you are marginalizing conservatives? ...
... If we try hard enough to convince people we're marginalized, then it will be so. The worst is that it is just not true.
Rush and the chorus of conservative voices are far from being marginalized; they are being courted. They are being given platforms, their input is being sought. Rush and Hannity, they have real impact on elections, as do their vast listener base. From Karl Rove talking about them to Brit Hume, to the girls on the View gossiping about them, the conservative media figures are anything but marginalized.
Vilified by the press, sure; But vilified by the Republican party? Absurd.
When Al Gore was not elected President, the wailing masses suggesting their voice didn't matter anymore in America were a spectacle of angst. I mocked them for sore losers and, when given the opportunity, lectured them about democracy. I am wondering who needs a lecture at this moment.
Rush, the people are the party. That we haven't established one of our own in the leadership is our own fault. I suspect we the people have lazily grown accustomed to you speaking for us, and so have failed to speak for ourselves. That is not a betrayal by the party, that is a betrayal of the party.
The Republican Party wouldn't try to marginalize conservatives any more than they would try to marginalize Floridians. The party produces candidates for office from among available candidates, and when the time comes to stop Hillary, they grow up and do so. ...
Uh-oh, I sure hope the wingnuts don't start listening to that guy...
Or do so-called "conservatives" of the Rush Limbaugh variety consistently despise people who have served in the military...? Just wondering while reading this WaPo article on Rush Limbaugh and company's jihad against John McCain... perhaps a nice tour of the Lincoln bedroom would soften El Rushbo up...?
That Rush Limbaugh and his talk radio friends discover that they're not as influential as they think. Apparently, voters aren't listening to Rush, or Hannity, or Fox News, or Laura Ingram, or James Carville's wispy wife. They're going their own way. How ironic that the candidates all hate Mitt Romney, while Mitt Romney's supporters in the right wing chattering classes hate the two men holding Romney at bay: John McCain and Mike Huckabee. I suppose you could say that the problem for the "conservative movement" is that it's not very responsive to actual politics, which in a primary -- even a Republican one -- takes place not just in Rush's universe, but also in blue states, where they grow the Republicans a lot more moderate than El Rushbo would like.
And while we're at it, how odd that so-called "real conservatives" would cling to a man as patently phony a conservative as Romney -- a man who literally became a conservative overnight, after governing one of the most liberal states in the union (and whose father was a liberal, pro civil rights Republican in yet another blue state, Michigan.) For these clods to demand that their followers join this pompadoured phony in some mad quest to save the conservative movement is actually pretty funny, as is the spectacle of the Gang of 15 set literally pulling off a mutiny inside the GOP.
Rush Limbaugh spent yet another show talking about himself today (check out the orgy of self-pity taking shape on his website), and whining about his critics' attacks on his "phony soldiers" comment. He also tried to deny that he compared a VoteVets.com soldier to a suicide bomber (by insisting that he never actually used the words "suicide bomber..." OK ... riiiiight... Does this guy not know that people are recording his show? Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards finally uses her catty powers for good, saying on Air America today:
My classmates went to Vietnam, he did not. He was 4F. He had a medical disability, the same medical disability that probably should have stopped him from spending a lifetime in a radio announcer’s chair; but it is true, isn’t it? If he has an inoperable position that allows him not to serve, presumably it should not allow him to sit for long periods of time the way he does. I think this is a serious enough offense for the people who fund him, who buy ads and allow him to be on the air, need to be asked if this is what they really stand for, do they think it is all right for someone who has never served to denigrate the men and women who have simply because they are expressing an opinion. Frankly, I thought that is what we are fighting for.
She's referring to the boil on his butt ... polynoidal cist, if you're nasty. ... You GO girl (by girl, I mean Elizabeth, not Rush...)
I listened to as much as I could stand of Rush Limbaugh (talent on loan from the Devil) this afternoon, and I have to admit, it was pretty funny. Limbaugh launched into about a 15 minute tirade against Harry Reid, Tom Harkin (who speculated hilariously about El Rushbo's possible return to drug use yesterday) and other Congressional Democrats who have condemned his September 26 slur against American troops who oppose the president's Iraq policy. Rush said last week that any troops who speak out against the Iraq war as being fought under the direction of Mr. Bush are "phony soldiers." Since then, Democrats have been excoriating him, taking full advantage of the rank hypocrisy on display by a man who has never served his country, took draft deferrments during Vietnam, and who lambasted Moveon.org for coining the Blackfive blog phrase "Betray-us" in an ad criticizing the P.R. flacking of Gen. David Petraeus, Bush's man in Iraq.
So today, Rush desperately tried to turn the tables on the Dems, accusing them of trying to reverse their irrelevancy by attacking him, and even comparing Harry Reid to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a soldier who stars in a new Internet ad denouncing Rush's comments on behalf of VoteVets.org to a suicide bomber ... says Rush:
"This is such a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said and then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media and a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into. This man will always be a hero to this country with everyone. Whoever pumped him full of these lies about what I said and embarrassed him with this ad has betrayed him, they aren't hurting me they are betraying this soldier," Limbaugh said.
lord have mercy...
Rush is desperate, I'd wager because at long last, he has waded into a controversy from which he cannot wriggle out, cannot stop the curtain from falling back, cannot retreat before being fully exposed for the rank hypocrite he is. Finally, it has been made plain for all to see that Rush -- who once had sole ownership of the airwaves our troops are fed, Armed Forces Radio -- really doesn't give a rat's ass about the troops. In fact, he has use for them, only in so far as they serve as willing props for his masters in the White House and the GOP. In short, Rush is a White House stooge and Party hack, and the soldiers he claims to be the champion of are nothing more than political cannon fodder. It's when they start thinking things through that they become the enemy, just like the Democrats, just like the "drive by media" and just like anyone who dares to criticize George W. Bush.
Rush, who is every bit a coward and chickenhawk, ought to just apologize, rather than doctoring the podcasts (seriously...) to try and cover up his statement, and rather than attacking others who are raising legitimate criticisms of him.
But he won't. He can't. He has too much to lose.
Rush skated on the whole drugs and foreign sex trips vibe, but if his die-hards ever start to doubt him on matters of patriotism of military might, well, they just might start asking some uncomfortable questions about their lovable, lisping windbag of an airwaves leader... ahem...
Meanwhile, the Dems send a letter of condemnation to Mark Mays, who runs Clear Channel, which incidentally, owns Jeff Christie's ... er ... Rush's show -- (hm ... no wonder he's on so many stations ... his bosses OWN the stations ... kind of changes the context of his primacy in radio... on his own merits, I wonder how prolific El Rushbo would be...)