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March 03, 2009

Comments

Frankly, I think the Republicans have a slightly worse problem than that: they can't ignore Rush Limbaugh, because they can't ignore the people he panders to. Over the year 2008, Republicans and conservatives generally slowly split into two camps: those who accepted that the Republican policies in the ascent between 200 and 2006 had gone badly wrong, and who wanted to rethink the process in the interests of the conservative cause and the country, and those who, for whatever reason, want not to think about these things.

David Frum, among many others, speaks to the concerns of the first group; Rush Limbaugh pretty clearly speaks for the second group. When I read the attacks on those who criticized Limbaugh's speech, basic constitutional error and all, I could not help thinking of the phrase "old-thinkers unbellyfeel ingsoc." A certain type of Republican thinks the party can make it on nostalgia, emotion, and the rejection of Democrat initiatives alone. Unless and until these people decisively succeed or decisively fail, Rush Limbaugh will speak for a substantial constituency, and that will make him very hard to ignore.

He finally DID apologize?
Man, that's funny.
So, we STILL get to hammer them all with their inability to repudiate Limbaugh. Shame for the country, of course, but probably good for us politically in the short to medium term.

"He’s a glorified – though very successful – shock jock. He wants to cause outrages."

In other words, he's a troll with a megaphone. May all his vowels fall out.

Sounds like he's a pure product of a "system" that has been completely taken over by publicity.
Publicity perverts. Everything. Everybody in the long run.
The major reason why I didn't vote for Obama, eschewing my voter's "obligation" for the first time in 30 years was the Internet publicity calling for $25 "in exchange for" a mug with Mr. Obama's effigy on it.
Can't really knock too hard on Limbaugh for being weak in the face of so much corruption.
I'm not sure that Jesus himself could resist these days...

So the fundamental law of feline psychology -- there is no such thing as BAD attention -- applies to Rush.

Damiani,

I wouldn't bask too much in your perceived power for the short to medium term since its going to be unpleasant for a lot of people and especially so for the non-producers in our society as the pie shrinks. Its clear the economy is shutting down and the next big contest will shift from a fight over the fruits of production to a fight for what's been accumulated.

Rush Limbaugh has never really been tied to the GOP. He's just like most other conservatives who have had no choice. But the line has been drawn and the GOP cannot be competitive without the conservative wing as reflected by Limbaugh. I like Steele but the GOP does not have my support until I see some major changes.

As this recession starts to really bite (I mean when all the numbers we watch hit double digits) we may see some voters reconsidering how we get to prosperity. And its not by shutting down the producers and thinking somehow the politicians, social workers and lawyers are going to pull us out.

We will know a lot in 2010 when the voters can express themselves on the spending and taxing policies and priorities in the President's budget submission. He caught a break on the stimulus package but I don't think so on the budget. As of now, he cannot put the budget on Pelosi.

On the subject of Limbaugh as entertainer, David Foster Wallace's excellent profile of John Ziegler is very clear on that point. The only obligation Ziegler and Limbaugh have is generating revenue for their employers -- the word obligation is not used lightly, these are contractual obligations that reward them handsomely.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200504/wallace

But the line has been drawn and the GOP cannot be competitive without the conservative wing as reflected by Limbaugh.

But they can't win as long as they embrace Limbaugh, because Limbaugh represents a past that the GOP needs voters to forget.

The bottom line is that "Limbaugh Republicans" will fall in line at election time, just as progressives wind up voting Democratic simply because the GOP alternative is noxious to them. Steele should never have apologized, and instead let Rush be the GOP's 'Sister Souljah' -- someone from a valued constituency that goes too far, and is repudiated in an effort to demonstrate the party's commitment to center-right policies.

The GOP desperately needs a makeover -- and as long as Limbaugh maintains the "respect" of the GOP leadership, that can't happen.

Limbaugh is an entertainer. Period. Full Stop.

IMO, calling himself an entertainer is just an "aw shucks" way of refusing to take responsibility. and i think he's a bit more than that. he sees himself as the flag-bearer of a certain kind of conservatism (a kind that is never represented in politics because it is too idealistic and unpopular) and the enemy of a certain kind of liberalism (one which doesn't actually exist outside his imaginary world). his shtick is to be the crusader forever championing an impossible, but honorable, cause: Rush vs. Them.

Rush Limbaugh has never really been tied to the GOP.

!?!???!?!!?!??!?!?!?!?

Paul,

No quarrel with your view. Limbaugh is not the GOP, but right now hardly anyone knows what (who) the GOP is.

Sometime in the previous eight years the elected republicans in Congress acquired the notion that they were so much in control that they could do anything and go in any direction of their choosing. Voters who had supported them watched incredulously while George Bush joined them every step of the way.

It looks a lot the same now with the Democrats. Certainly, the President, with the stimulus bill and the budget submission, has demonstrated that he is the liberal described in the campaign by the Republicans.

The last election was still close (in the polls) until the financial meltdown began and John McCain showed that he was clueless. I suspect there are quite a few Democrat members of Congress who hold their nose while supporting positions put to a vote by Pelosi and Reid, and I know there are many voters who supported those members who feel that way. As we go through the next 2 years we should get a sense of how this is developing.

It amazes me that the administration thinks they can spend their way out. I have no idea how long we can hold off on the coming inflation but it will come and it will be bad and it will have the greatest negative impact on those the progressives think they a standing up for. Those who know and have experienced deep recessions and high inflation and who have resources as that day comes will do well. When Rush Limbaugh says he hopes the President does not succeed, he is saying that he hopes the President does not succeed in taking us down this road. But if the Republican performance in the Bush administration is an indicator, I'm not optimistic. I believe we will go down this road.

russell,

I think of Rush more as a conservative than as a person of the Republican Party. Much like myself. If my memory serves me, he refused to endorse any candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. That does not sound like a big GOPer.

we may see some voters reconsidering how we get to prosperity. And its not by shutting down the producers

I don't quite understand where this notion came from, that the "producers" are the capitalists whose bad and greedy decisions screwed up the economy in the first place, rather than the people who work for a living.

Mussolini was an entertainer.

A better public speaker, too.

Limbaugh will look just as good hanging upside by his ankles, however. Get a bucket for the bile to drain.

rea,

You may be referring to the facilitators as opposed to those who produce goods and/or services for the consuming public. I do not defend Wall St or bankers and lenders, in general. I also do not stand up for big business in this time when they are not allowed to fail. All of these bailouts are big pieces of what we will pay for later. Now, instead of greed flourishing on Wall St, we just print money in Washington. To give you a specific, I do own stocks as investments, but not anything remotely connected to financials, so my portfolio is down, but every company whose stock I have is currently profitable and not facing bankruptcy. This could change.


I won't say anymore until you tell what do understand.

Limbaugh is not the GOP, but right now hardly anyone knows what (who) the GOP is.

Look, this is borderline disingenuous. cleek is right, conservatives who take this line are simply refusing to take responsibility.

Limbaugh is an honorary member of the US House of Representatives. No Republican member of Congress, or even functionary of the party for that matter, can do the people's business without his blessing. If they so much as speak a negative word about him or any of his statements, they are required to issue a public apology, quite often on his show.

Rush Limbaugh is the public face and flag-bearer of American conservatism. Period.

If that doesn't suit, then y'all need to get your house in order. It ain't my problem. But it is what it is.

GoodOleBoy, your notion seems to be that the "producers" in this country are the rich, and that the rich therefore shouldn't be taxed, or at least, not very much. Those people are rather less the "producers" than the people earning minimum wage on the late shift at Burger King. If that sounds Marxist to you, well, Marx was not wrong in this respect.

On Bullshit is an excellent book that can be used to describe true believers like Limbaugh, a self described conservative or Kristol, a neocon.

Everyone should read it. It only takes about an hour of your time.

Rea, you are not telling me you know how that job at Burger King got to be. You better hold on for the ride.

Did I say something about taxes on this thread? I know I mentioned spending and printing money (which taxes the less well off). If we get this under control I won't have to bring up taxes.

Rush Limbaugh, 2009 = Karl Rove, circa 2001-2008. He dictates the talking points and you don't dare cross him. If that makes him only an entertainer, and a conservative but not a Republican, then I guess I don't understand words any more.

Shouting "Socialists are evil!" and advocating cutting taxes and regulations as a cure-all for our seriously ill economy does nothing to fix the mess we're in. Now that he has been crowned head of the GOP, I, for one, would be happy to hear some sound ideas coming from Limbaugh. You know... something that might work? But so far, all I've heard is the braying of a jackass, full of wind and fury and signifying nothing.

Heh, that mealy wafflegab from Steele about not really meaning what he said or seemed to say at first, blubber blubber ... Ummm, Rush is now teh pwner of the GOP. Borrowing from other cute renamings of the Republicans, I propose this timely handle: The Re-Rush-lickin' Party, because they keep going back (bend) over and over again ...
Steele doesn't want us to, but grab lots of popcorn folks and gobble it down for the dogs and pwner show! And BTW Steele is no longer "da man", he's da maid ...

PS What is Rush Limbaugh's favorite dope?

a. Oxycontin

b. George W Bush (still revered in some parts!)

c. His biggest fan (Micheal Steele?)

d. Himself! (of course)

I fear "under the radar", "dog whistle" right wing messages way more than gas bags like Limbaugh and Sean Insanity. It's really depressing when I hear a Moderate, or even sometimes a Liberal, repeat GOP talking points.

GoodOleBoy -

When you speak of the nonproducers are you speaking of the malefactors of great wealth, the people who do not work, but are paid anyway? No? Oh, that's right, you think the rich need to be coddled.

Remember that they were the ones who have been getting all of the breaks lately. If your prescription were correct, our economy would not be in meltdown. Please correct your misunderstanding of economics.

The Party of Rush Limbaugh is a right-wing statist political party which still clings to libertarian rhetoric.

And they are oblivious to this tension.

Rush is the voice of the Base (aka 'queda'), so ignoring him is not really an option, since the Base is all the gop has left. I do think pub is right that, like the conservative revolutionaries in the 60s, he doesn't care about the GOP - unless his kind of conservatism is ascendant in it, in which case he does care a little, although his main concern is and will always be his own 'purity' and bank account. I'd go farther and say that paleos and reactionaries in general will have no enduring loyalty to the GOP, unless it's the GOP they want it to be. If the worm finally turns someday and the GOP decides to reinvent itself as a planet-earth party, they will lose these people.

The Republicans are in a lose-lose situation right now - pander to the base, run from the base, pander to the base, run... My, my. I got two tiny violins, right here.

I think this is a great post, publius. But its important to remember that in a democracy the various parties always need their demagogues to get the word out, and to raise money, to keep themselves in power. 'Twas ever thus. And demagogues and popular figures, whether regular evangelists or popular novelists or radio shock jocks, become more important to the party they claim allegiance to even as that party falls out of power--as long as the Republicans held the bully pulpit and could easily dominate regular mass media then Rush limbaugh and Drudge and red state and free republic could float free and serve as mere agitprop. But now that the tide for mass media outlets is (slowly) turning the Republicans will become increasingly unable to sever themselves publicly from Limbaugh et al--because he's the last best hope for free publicity. After all, before Russert's death Cheney could order his troops to "get him on Russert" where he could "control the message." Now they need Rush's boom box and they can't control the message without kissing up to him.

That isn't to say that I haven't noticed that there hasn't been a wild swing away from the overrepresentation of Republican viewpoints in mass media. Far from it. But over time as the heritage foundation and other wealthy men's toys go under for lack of funding (thank you god for doing in sheldon adelson and others)Rush and other self supporting windbags will become increasingly important for getting the message out. And the message has to be pleasing to Rush's listeners or else what is the point.

I'd also like to point out that in a sense Steele fell foul of the fact that media markets aren't and can't be truly segmented any more. A long time ago politicians could say one thing in one part of the market and another thing in another and never the twain shall meet. IT was really, to coin a phrase, STeele's "macaca" moment. Or maybe the moment when it turns out rush limbaugh reads media matters to find out what is going on outside his little echo chamber.

aimai

I'd sort of vaguely picked up that the leader of the Republican Party made some snide comment about Rush Limbaugh on air, and Rush Limbaugh did a rant about him, and the leader of the Republican Party then apologized to Rush.

I'd sort of vaguely thought, huh, I'm sure it must be more complicated, or Steele must have said something actionable about Limbaugh, or why would Steele have apologized?

But no. It really was that simple. Steele pointed out that he, not Limbaugh, was the leader of the Republican party: that Limbaugh was just an entertainer. For which flaming insults Steele then had to apologize and back down from - within 24 hours.

You couldn't make it up. I mean, you could, but no one would believe you if you did. The de facto leader of the Republican party is Rush Limbaugh, a radio entertainer. Well, if Ronald Reagan could be President of the United States, why not Rush Limbaugh, with Karl Rove as his VPOTUS to do all the Cheneywork?

That’s also why it’s completely foolish for the GOP to try to distance themselves from him. Better to just completely ignore him. Frankly, it's a no-win situation. If they embrace him, that’s of course bad because he’s smelly and odious. If they distance themselves from him, however, they create headlines and open themselves to Rush's on-air attacks (which, in turn, create more headlines...).

Impossible, Publius. They have to react - positively or negatively. Rush commands a huge and politically loyal audience. He's had all sorts of GOP leaders on his show, including Cheney, and they are going to keep going on as long as he commands those listeners.

The only solution is for someone to strongly repudiate him and have the guts to stick with it. Steele tried, but lacked the cojones to stick with what he said.

And what's all this "entertainer" nonsense? Sure, he can hold an audience. Lots of people can. That doesn't excuse the political impact of what they say. The man is a destructive force in the country and the GOP ought to dump him.

In other words, he's a troll with a megaphone.

As is Ann Coulter. Considering how sophisticated we are about Internet trolls, it seems to me we don't call out meatspace trolls as often as we could.

Rush is the voice of the Base (aka 'queda'), so ignoring him is not really an option, since the Base is all the gop has left.

The GOP's real base are the "Haves and the Have-Mores", as G.W. Bush put it. Rush's "base" are their stooges. Good luck recruiting new stooges when then stooges they've got get nuttier by the week.

Now Jindal is embracing Rush.

They can't ignore him.

The thing is: what Limbaugh is saying will not work this time around. Just look at what he said about Obama: after all the nice stuff about what a talented guy he was, and what a great communicator, and so sad to see his talents not used for good, etc., he said that Obama was out there trying to foment anger and despair.

That's so completely out of keeping not just with Obama as he seems to me, but with Obama as he seems to most people (if polls, focus groups, etc. are any gauge), that I suspect that if it has any effect, it will be to make people think: wtf?

It won't work this time. This is not the 1990s.

Rea, you are not telling me you know how that job at Burger King got to be.

Effective demand for Whoppers? I.e., lots of people with little time and five dollars for lunch?

Aimai, you say this always happens with parties out of power, but I guess I missed it when the Democratic Party was out of power and its nominal leaders were bowing and scraping and making groveling apologies to whoever the Democratic equivalent of Limbaugh might be (I don't think there is one).

GOB, if you're not talking about taxes, then what is your accusation that Obama is "shutting down producers" referring to?

Your not serious! Rush is probably the most sincere American in this country when he says he loves this country and is scared to death that this socialist party(demos) are hell bent to destroy the free enterprise system and America as we know it. God, country, family. We're less than 300 years old and yet we are the country in the world that truly stands for freedom. That is why we're the most prestige in the world. Why do so many people want to come to America? Freedom to be whom ever they want to be and succeed in what ever that want to do.

GOP: Rush Limbaugh has never really been tied to the GOP.

russell: !?!???!?!!?!??!?!?!?!?

What russell inarticulated.

i wish i could share the nonchalance of the writer. no, rush doesn't scare me, or for that matter, offend me that much anymore. he's what he is. and to me, what he is is absurd, as a patriot, as a family man, as a law abider, as a model of self discipline, as an american.


i'm confident a majority of those familiar with him share my distaste. however, that doesn't quell this nagging feeling that there is something else going on here, something that has been in progress since the age of reagan and falwell.

i believe a significant portion of our electorate has been permanently radicalized by a steady diet of christianism, gun rights, contempt for those who differ, and a general self pity that convinces one that he is the victim of eastern liberals. these people are impervious to reason or history. they don't want ideas to consider; they need enemies to hate. thus rush's vast audience.


to me, rush is a joke, a very bad one. but, i suspect hitler struck many the same way in 1931.

Right on. Rush is not just an ordinary entertainer, however, he's a voice screaming out of the mudflats, and he's been doing it for years.
There's a older, retired lady who works (as asst. manager) of the liquor store where I work and when I come on duty the first thing I do is switch the damn radio from Rush to Modest Mouse. She's a nice, honest person, but inside she's right of Hitler -- that seems to be what Rush is after, bringing out the hidden Hitler in wingnuts.
And true, ALL he cares about is getting the airwaves full of himself and he truly does not care for much more than that.
The GOP is a horrible place to live right -- could anyone see Ike or Nixon or even Rush's pet, Reagan, putting up with this smelly, bad, bad verbiage.
The GOP just might be America's biggest problem right now -- No terrorist attack could potentially hurt as much.

publius, I think this post is spot on. If it's possible to get a writer's equivalent of smacking the ball squarely out of the park, you should be experiencing that right now.

I think the thing about Limbaugh in relationship with the GOP is this: he's not leadership, but he does sort of wind a lot of people into his personality, in no small part by telling them that they're better than those insane liberals. So he IS kind of deeply embedded in the hearts of the core GOP constituency, even if he's not involved in any leadership function.

Your not serious!

Mine serious.

George, George, George, George, George, I'm so glad you stopped by to show us how little you understand and how much less you care that you don't understand. Rush will be on in less than an hour and you'll be able to worship him once again for three hours of mind-numbed foolishness.

Don't forget that Rush was a screw-up who got a lot of do-overs because he had a powerful father. Now he's powerful in his own right and is still a screwup who gets cut a lot of slack. He's a cynical manipulator who doesn't care about anyone other than himself.

The thing is: what Limbaugh is saying will not work this time around.

It depends on what is meant by 'works'. Limbaugh doesn't need to be consistent or even coherent. He just needs to keep a relatively large audience. In radio, a national audience share in the 20s is huge and will make you very rich. *Any* double digit audience share is huge. But winning elections with that kind of support is another story. The GOP needs - or thinks they need - Limbaugh, but he doesn't need them. Limbaugh can say whatever pops into his throbbing head, and people don't even need to agree with it - there are times when it's good for him if people *don't* agree - so long as they keep listening. Because Steele was right: Limbaugh is just an entertainer (he sells a pretty strange kind of entertainment if you ask me, but that's another story). Bill O'R. is more explicit about his supposed loyalty only to his audience, rather than any political party, but Rush is basically the same. When the GOP eventually comes down to earth, these 'entertainers' will make business decisions about how to deal with it, depending on which way the wind is blowing that day. In the mean time: live by the demagogue, die by the demagogue.

KinDc,
You are absolutely right. That was an error on my part. There *was* no equivalent of Limbaugh, unless it was the very late the scene Markos and the Democrats kept their distance from him right up until the end. But I think its because the democrats are terminally stupid and kept hoping to get a fair shake from the regular press and treating the fringe as the fringe and not (as we know from reading the fringe) as part of the echo chamber/iron triangle/overton window pushers that we know they are. The right wing tried to make Michael Moore into a kind of rush limbaugh, and they tried to make markos into one, but neither was as powerful or had enough of a megaphone to be worth the democrats courting them.

aimai

The only solution is for someone to strongly repudiate him and have the guts to stick with it. Steele tried, but lacked the cojones to stick with what he said.

From my standpoint this is the real damage Rush is doing to the GOP. He is systematically castrating the GOP leadership, or at least any of them who try to stand up to him or distance themselves from him (and if they try to wriggle out of making any comment one way or the other they end up looking like spineless jellyfish). These abject groveling apologies are just pathetic. Is there nobody left in the GOP leadership who has an actual spine and knows how to use it? What a distance we've travelled since the days of "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen!".

GOBoy :

Jude Wanniski's How Things Work is not an accurate description of the real world. We've just completed a 30-year macroeconomic experiment, in several nations, of supply-side and various flavors of the Chicago school of economics, and they failed. The economy was not actually stimulated by fantastically reducing the tax and regulator burdens on "producers" in the sense you use the word. Wave on wave of tax cuts solved none of the problems they were claimed and predicted to solve. Deregulation bred fraud, not prosperity. The real wealth of most households stagnated for decades.

Greenspan confessed himself surprised that the rational self-interest of the individuals in the financial community did not prevent wide-spread malfeasance and a speculative bubble. Those of us who have long held that Reagan's economic theories were greed fantasies were not surprised.

Demand precedes supply. Humans are not primarily rational utility maximizers. Government, society, and the workforce provide an essential context without which your noble "producers" could not hire other people to actually produce things.

The beauty of this is that Ann Coulter must be really pissed, shes not getting any attention.

He’s a glorified – though very successful – shock jock

"Shock jock" is all the description you need. Rush keeps his audience by saying outrageous things -- the more outrageous the better. Exactly *what* he says doesn't matter. Consistency -- who cares? You can't make political policy from Rush's blathering any more than you could make policy from Jay Leno monologues.

I think the best way of dealing with him is referring to him as "Republican spokesman Rush Limbaugh" until Republicans in general stop lining up to kiss his draft deferment.

The real producers in our economy are the consumers. They spend money buying things. That's what creates a market: their ability to buy things which is a factor of how much money they have.

If lots and lots of Americans have a little disposable income and they go out and dispose of it by buying stuff or services, they create an incentive (a market) for those people who own businesses that sell stuff or services, which means those businesses can employ more people.

Cutting taxes for wealthy people or for businesses does not translate into more jobs becuase cutting taxes for wealthy people and businesses does not expand the markets.

Cutting taxes for the middle and lower income people or using federal and state taxes to create jobs for lower and middle income people does have the effect of creating jobs because the beneficiaries of those policies get more money and can then go out and spend the money which expands the market and so on.

Supply side economics does not work.

Money does not flow down from the top. It flows up from the bottom.


That crap about benefiting the whole economy by cutting taxes for the rich or for businesses is just social Darwinism in disguise. It is appealing because it is a great justification for selfishness.

Rush Limbaugh has never really been tied to the GOP. He's just like most other conservatives who have had no choice.

There may be certain very limited contexts in which this is a true statement, but in a broader sense it is at best meaningless drivel. If there is any non-elected official in the last 30 years more closely tied to the Republican Party than Limbaugh, I'd be hard-pressed to name them.

But the line has been drawn and the GOP cannot be competitive without the conservative wing as reflected by Limbaugh.

The possibility that this is true should send sane conservatives who want the GOP to succeed into a state of abject despair.

Limbaugh is a red meat demagogue. His style is deeply appealing to a certain kind of conservative, but viscerally repulsive to the vast majority of Americans. Raising his visibility and forcing Republicans to alienate either their base or the rest of the country was a stroke of genius.

Limbaugh is the embodiment of George Carlin's line that the primary business in America is the manufacture, marketing, sale and distribution of Grade-A Bullshit. Rush is just the extreme outgrowth of Elmer Gantry snake-oil salesmanship.

I don't thing that Rush is just an entertainer or shock jock. Everything he says is said in support of an incredibly right wing agenda. All his lies are in support of reactionary policies.

He does not say what he says just to entertain or shock. He says what he says to influence the political structure of this country.

Regarding Steele, I saw the clip in question, and it looked like Steele was desperately trying to ingratiate himself with Chuck D, who was sitting there visibly wondering why he had to give this dipshit the time of day.

Put a bully like Limbaugh up against a hopeless kiss-ass like Michael Steele is bound to produce predictable, hilarious results.

"Putting", that is.

How awesome is it that Al Franken, who wrote an entire book tearing Rush apart, is getting elected to the Senate just as the Dems finally start punishing the GOP for backing him all these years?

Karma.

(no) free lunch,

Non-producers I was referencing include those who are not financially independent and who have chosen lifestyles that take them out of the workforce so that they do not produce enough for themselves or those who are dependent on them so they rely on the state for support. Others also include those who are compensated for what they do but what they produce may be of questionable or marginal utility or, in our recent experience with money brokers, of severe negative utility. I don't think the rich need to be coddled and I don't see where you got that notion. Rich people who don't appear to work are likely still contributing through their capital being in the marketplace. But they could do more. I also don't really get the convoluted reasoning that says someone keeping more of their own earnings is getting a break rather than expressing it as the state reducing its taking. My understanding of economics has served me well.

Wonkie,

Your comment is really a little weird. How are your consumers going to buy stuff if there is no stuff being produced and if no stuff is being produced how is your consumer going to spend the money doled out by the state? Business is the embodiment of jobs and production and the consumer is someone who has a job and money to spend as a result. You notice I did not use the word government in that sentence. On the tax issue, most people that I know who have their own businesses are not necessarily averse to tax increases; they merely observe that they will likely lay off employees or curtail planned hiring to offset the effects of tax increases. This seems a reasonable business action.

On the tax issue, most people that I know who have their own businesses are not necessarily averse to tax increases; they merely observe that they will likely lay off employees or curtail planned hiring to offset the effects of tax increases. This seems a reasonable business action.

You sure do hang around with some dumb business owners, GOB.

Or, they could just be lying to you.

--TP

The controversy about Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh (who I don't really particularly listen to anymore) is more than about Rush. When the liberal talk show host said that CPAC looked like a bunch of Nazis Michael Steele nodded in agreement.

Some said his nodding wasn't in agreement with that statement but still at the very least he was quiet and did not speak out against that outrageous statement.

This is more than about Rush the person. This was about the speech he gave and if you listened to the speech and agree with it then it is not only Rush but you, and all other grassroots conservatives that Michael Steele has rebuked in the harshest of terms.

Well, if that is the way the "leader" of the GOP feels about me then I say no, no, no, not God Bless the GOP, GOD DAMN the GOP. It isn't the party I thought I knew!

How are your consumers going to buy stuff if there is no stuff being produced and if no stuff is being produced how is your consumer going to spend the money doled out by the state?

well, currently there is a whole lot of unsold inventory, just hanging around waiting for buyers.

and we're not too far out where producers couldn't get back up to production immediately - if there was a reason to.

I'm surprised nobody has posted this to the thread yet - the DCCC claims to have stolen the plans to the secret Republican apology machine

Let us imagine for a second that former President Bush, (The younger one, natch!) had suddenly taken it into his head shortly after taking office, to demand that Democrats repudiate Michael Moore. And the head of the DNC had actually done so!

Whether or not Moore was a fabulist with dubious habits would be not be the question Democrats would be asking. It would be, why is the head of the DNC taking orders from a Republican President?

Well, why IS the head of the RNC taking orders from a Democratic President?

That's why Steele had to apologize. The party base was wondering if he knew which side he was working for. And if they're sensible they're still wondering...

Brett, if Bush had managed to get Democratic leaders to have even the slightest hesitation in criticizing Michael Moore, that would have been a good trick. Maybe he should have tried it. In any case, Moore's relation to the Democratic Party is not at all comparable to Limbaugh's to the Republican Party.

Let us imagine for a second that former President Bush, (The younger one, natch!) had suddenly taken it into his head shortly after taking office, to demand that Democrats repudiate Michael Moore.

Let us imagine for a second that Michael Moore, an Oscar-winning filmmaker who has also won a César Award and an Emmy Award, is in any way comparable to Rush Limbaugh, who I believe has won... oh, yes: Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year. Four times.

*pause*

Nah, can't do it. The gulf in quality is just too large.

Let us imagine for a second that Michael Moore is treated with the same respect and devotion by the Democratic Party as Rush Limbaugh is treated by the Republican Party. That Michael Moore has been awarded the title of "honorary member of Congress" by newly-elected Democratic members. That Michael Moore had received a letter from Jimmy Carter in which he thanked him "for all you're doing to promote Democratic and liberal principles" and asserting that Mooe had "become the Number One voice for liberalism in our Country". I have no idea what magazines or organizations you would recognize as equivalent to National Review or CPAC, but I'm not aware that Michael Moore has in fact been given any such political awards as Rush Limbaugh has received.

Basically, the problem that Republicans/conservatives have, is that Michael Moore is neither as embarrassing as Rush Limbaugh, nor is he as closely tied to the Republican Party and to American conservativism.

Let us imaging that Michael Moore doesn't routinely engage in bad faith fabrications in the course of making his "documentaries"... Nah, the departure from the facts is too large to encompass. Certainly for me, who was present in the audience for several of the Heston speeches Moore cut and pasted together into one in Bowling for Columbine, not even bothering to keep sentences complete.

Anyway, the point is, Steele had to apologize because Republicans were wondering why he was leaping to do Obama's bidding. And they should be wondering that: Rush's remarks were quite defensible in context, but Steele wasn't interested in whether they could be defended, he was interested in whether they offended his Democratic colleagues.

I don't think it's because he thinks he's working for Obama, but he belongs to a political culture which binds Democratic and Republican office holders together, and separates both from their constituents.

Brett, you forgot to supply us a list of Democratic notables who have apologized for insulting Moore.

Democrats have to do something stupid for it to be stupid for a Republican to do it?

Sorry, I didn't realize it was just a random observation about Michael Moore that happened to pop up in your comment.

Brett; Let us imaging that Michael Moore doesn't routinely engage in bad faith fabrications in the course of making his "documentaries"...

Let us imagine that Rush Limbaugh doesn't spend four hours a day lying on talk radio.

...no, too much, can't do it.

Michael Moore produces documentaries which are pretty soundly based in fact, albeit conservatives love to nipick them., especially, of course, Fahrenheit 911.

Rush Limbaugh just lies.

You can certainly argue that Michael Moore is an embarrassing person to have on your side: I know I cringed at at least one moment in Bowling for Columbine and a couple of times during Fahrenheit 911.

But my point is: Rush Limbaugh is more embarrassing. Michael Moore BS's his way into an elderly gun nut's home and "interviews" him about the NRA: Rush Limbaugh calls a 13-year-old girl a "dog". I wince when Michael Moore is BSing Charlton Heston: but when Limbaugh calls Chelsea Clinton "the White House dog" that's infinitely worse.

Michael Moore is mildly embarrassing, and the Democratic Party has never embraced him; Rush Limbaugh is hideously embarrassing, and the Republican Party gives him long, slow, thorough blow-jobs.

That's the difference. That's why your comparison don't work.

Rush Limbaugh is an honorary member of Congress. No member of the Republican party can make a negative comment about him without having to publicly apologize within 24 hours, preferably on his show.

Michael Moore attended the Democratic Convention. He sat next to Jimmy Carter.

Politics aside:

Michael Moore is a funny if annoying propagandist.

Rush Limbaugh is a creep. Oxycontin addict, Viagra popping sex tourist, thrice married and divorced creep.

By all means, let's keep Rush front and center. It'll keep the White House and Congress solidly Democratic until the fat SOB keels over and dies.

Zombie Rush Limbaugh Radio!

"Braiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins..."

"Sorry, I didn't realize it was just a random observation about Michael Moore that happened to pop up in your comment."

I was illustrating the situation by pointing out what would be a similar circumstance if you switched parties. Nothing about doing that requires that Bush have been arrogant enough to demand that Democrats apologize for Moore, or that Democrats actually have been stupid enough to comply with such a demand.

Jes, let me be specific: I attended two speeches by Charlton Heston, which were among the several that Moore cut into little bits, and reassembled in Bowling for Columbine, to make an inflammatory post-Columbine speech Which Heston Did Not Actually Give.

Documentarians are not allowed to make shit up. Moore is indeed a propagandist, and very good at what he does. But try to keep in mind that what he does has only an accidental connection with the truth.

And Rush is an entertainer, and sometimes a propagandist, with somewhat the same disclaimer applying. Really, they're not all that different. Something I've got to remember more often...

I was illustrating the situation by pointing out what would be a similar circumstance if you switched parties. Nothing about doing that requires that Bush have been arrogant enough to demand that Democrats apologize for Moore, or that Democrats actually have been stupid enough to comply with such a demand.

What Dems demanded that Steele apologize to Rush? If this was just an observation that Republicans are, at this juncture, more stupid that the Dems, I am certainly happy to agree with you.

Really, they're not all that different.

If the sole bases of comparison are (a) are they propagandists and (b) do they produce popular entertainment for a living, they're indistinguishable. Throw in overweight, while you're at it.

Not to beat this into the ground, but the fact that your comparison is based on hypotheticals is *kind of the point*.

No Democrat has ever been required to make a public apology to Michael Moore, or anyone else I can think of, under the credible threat of being politically neutered.

That's appropriate, because *nobody ever voted for Michael Moore*.

Would that it were so on the Republican side.

"No Democrat has ever been required to make a public apology to Michael Moore,"

'Cause no Democrat would have made a public repudiation of Moore in the first place, to apologize for. If, on the other hand, Bush had demanded that Democrats repudiate Moore, and the head of the DNC had obliged, I suspect that the Democratic party base might have been ticked off enough to demand a retraction, too.

The crowd is hushed as Brett goes for a record on the number of hypotheticals in a comment.

"Rush Limbaugh has never really been tied to the GOP. He's just like most other conservatives who have had no choice."

This may have been true - in a way - once upon a time, but that moment has long since passed. I recall that in the days leading up to Clinton's first term in the White House, Limbaugh actually made some sympathetic remarks about Ross Perot's candidacy during the course of his daily screeds on his radio show. But any independence he had from the Republican Party (however reactionary or out-and-out fascist it may have been) became a thing of the past when then-President Bush invited Limbugh to an overnight visit at the White House...and greeted ol' Pigface in person and then insisted on carrying Limbaugh's suitcase into the White House himself. Poppy certainly knew what he was doing: As the story goes, the first thing Rush did when he was alone in the guest suite was to call one of his cronies and excitedly gloat, Guess where I am right now?"

From that moment on, Limbaugh was (to use a term he's fond of) the GOP's "buttboy".

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