More on Limbaugh: Captain Wilderness

As we saw yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele quailed before the Great and Powerful Gasbag, meekly offering a Maoist recantation before being shipped off to the reeducation camp. The pundits are discussing Rush’s grip on the GOP’s nads as if it were a new development—as if Limbaugh filled a power vacuum created by McCain’s defeat at the polls this November.

It goes back a lot further than that. Limbaugh is the bully who shoved McCain rightward in this election cycle, thus destroying McCain’s only advantage: his so-called maverick cred. Every boneheaded choice McCain made after that—alienating the once-love struck media, picking empty-headed troglodyte pin-up girl Palin to round out the ticket, etc.—all of it was a direct consequence of McCain’s ill-advised decision to suck up to the Limbaughs of his party. And it cost him the election.

Once upon a time (2002, to be exact), McCain had the balls to call Limbaugh out:

After comparing Mr. Limbaugh to a “circus clown,” the Arizona Republican apologized. “I regret that statement,” he told an interviewer on Fox News the other night, “because my office has been flooded with angry phone calls from circus clowns all over America. They resent that comparison, and so I would like to extend my apologies to Bozo, Chuckles and Krusty.”

Limbaugh declared war on McCain for this apostasy, relentlessly denigrating McCain’s conservative cred even after McCain secured the GOP nomination in 2008. And as he demonstrated after his short-lived courage in confronting the “agents of intolerance” of the religious right, McCain has always been about political expediency over principles, despite his undeserved reputation to the contrary. He quickly caved to the wingnuts.

The irony is, the McCain of 2000 might have been able to differentiate himself from Bush and have a shot in 2008. But Limbaugh made sure he went the other direction. As his bombastic rhetoric makes clear, Limbaugh believes McCain lost because he wasn’t rightwing enough. That view seems to have been internalized by the entire party, and it’s the exact opposite of reality.

Limbaugh probably does not have the pull he thinks he does in terms of actual numbers of listeners and ability to make them do his bidding. Operation Chaos was a flop in the final analysis. But the GOP leadership evidently believes Limbaugh wields great power, and that perception is just as good as reality at the moment. Until the GOP leadership is willing to stand up to Limbaugh, he’ll continue to lead them further into the wilderness. Long live Captain Wilderness!

[Cross-posted at Betty Cracker]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 03/03/09 at 09:36 AM • Permalink


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As much as I enjoy the spectacle of the GOP’s circular firing squad, the fact of the matter is that we really do need a minority party that acts in good faith and in partnership with the Dems to solve the larger issues at hand.

Unfortunately, the GOP “leadership” is more interested in scoring cheap political points and playing to an ever-shrinking base. I hope the moderates in the party are horrified by the Steele/Limbaugh showdown and and get their shit together.

I, for one, feel a lot more comfortable now that   the Devil works for us!

Having Gawd on your side ain’t worth a handful of nails.



I see the 2010 mid-terms as the death of the GOP, and 2012 as the signing of the death certificate.  I think Obama will have a relative unopposed second term, but fractures will pop up in ‘14, and by ‘16, we’ll be back to bipartisanship, but this time it will be progressives vs moderates.  Gavin Newsom vs. Evan Bayh, perhaps?

The 22% of the population which comprises the current conservative movement are, for the most part, old, and there simply aren’t enough young people entering the movement to replace their numbers.  They are a dying party.

You may be right, Pumalicious. Political parties do die out (haven’t seen a Whig lately). But I think it’s more likely some GOP moderate will emerge to offer a so-called “3rd way,” much as our best Republican president ever—Bill Clinton—did. Pawlenty, perhaps? He’s making the right noises. It’s just falling on deaf ears right now.

I knew there was bad blood between Rush and McCain, but somehow I missed that “circus clown” fracas between them. Hats off to the Maverick on that one.  Well played.

Regarding the death of the GOP right, I’m not counting them out yet.  If the economy doesn’t show some signs of improving by the end of the year(or, at least, stabilizing) our dumb fellow countrymen could easily buy into this “tea party” bullshit. And it may be the likes of Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli leading the charge for the wingnut revival instead of Limbaugh and Hannity.

As one of the writers at Tapped, I think, pointed out recently, it’s in Rush’s own interest to marginalize the GOP. His voice carries much more weight in an angry, embittered rump of a party than in a more diverse, more moderate one. In that sense, at least, Rush Limbaugh is the Democratic Party’s new BFF.

I for one believe they will suffer further loses in 2010, then they will get with the program, but not really, they will finally see that their instinctive 2y/o tantrum in the middle of toysrus will melt away.  Their problem is they have so few responsible politicians and people that are serious about governing.  Their bigger problem is they have less thinkers.  They have fallen victim to their lack of people getting a legitimate chance in their own marketplace of ideas.  Too many people placed in positions, nepotism from think tanks to astro turf jobs to the three branches.

Their biggest hurdle is that they lack ideas.  I would lend that conservatism in general is idea stiffling.  Seriously, I’ve asked many of my conservative friends this question and they always fall dead silent, “who was the last conservative to invent something”.  I mean they love to exploit inventors, like the poor Chinese dude David X. Li that thought he was just helping out with a harmless Gaussian copula function, we see what the ignorant and greedy come up with.  CDO’s CDS’s and all kinds of gambles.  They couldn’t even be trusted to come up with their end of things responsibly.  Thousands of years ago, they probably set us back years fighting that caveman that came up with the round wheel.

So I have little faith that they can come up with anything new.  Their idea of new is a new way to repackage something from the Reagan era…seriously, how much waste of money has Star Wars/missle Defense shitted away?  They’re dying away faster than Old English.  to the point the only semblance left will be Paultards in one room and freedmen and militant nutsos in the left.  Unfortunately this is when they must truely be watched with vigilance…like a cornered Raccoon.

Rush Limbaugh—smart man, or smartest man in America?

Followup—is Sean Hannity as smart, or smarter than Limbaugh.

If I were a moderate Republican, I would lie low.  I would let them take another drubbing in 2010 and see more losses in Congress, then let the right-wingnuts run one of their beautiful losers against the Obama juggernaut in 2012 and flame out and die.

THEN I would begin to press my case that it’s our wing of the party’s turn to try our luck, have some successes in 2014 in regaining a few seats in Congress, then go full bore for the Republican nomination in 2016.

The person who may be able to pull this off is Jon Huntsman, governor of Utah.  He gave an interview to
Politico in which he actually (gasp!) showed a knowledge of the electoral politics of another nation, in this case England, and points out that you can’t win elections by demonizing gays, denying global warming and rejecting science.

Just keep this all a secret, OK, because I don’t want the Republicans figuring this out…

It’s not out of the question that we could see 25%  unemployment and/or hyperinflation and a total stock market crash in the next two years, in which case all bets may be off on everything, and certainly not a time to ignore already entrenched fascists.

Nothing that has been tried to stall the unraveling of the economy has worked at all, there is still no commercial paper market to speak of, which means that bankruptcy and massive lay-offs are still a certainty in the near future.

The sector of the economy most reliant on commercial paper and seasonal loans is agribusiness, and commodities, so we may be looking at a food shortage next year.  These are not the settings in which great advances in liberalism and open society are usually made, but you never know.

My personal POV is that absolutely anything can happen between now and 2010.

Anybody who pretends that they have a solution or a prediction is bluffing. There is no human, group of humans, machine, network or entity powerful enough to perceive all the elements and all parameters of every combination of feedback loops or distribution network in a constantly changing and vast readjusting nebulae of differential equations interacting randomly in a stable modern economy, much less one that has gone haywire.

Everybody is just guessing.

The republicans know that the only chance they have of winning anything in 2010 is if the US economy melts all the way down to third world standards, so doing the opposite of whatever they suggest might be prudent. But they have no idea what’s going on, so they could just as likely end up being helpful by accidentally initiating a chain of events that could result in recovery, while trying to vandalize.

If and when the economy does make a full recovery, nobody will really understand why, nor how, but many will pretend to, and mostreluctantly take credit.

Chomsky does a lot of writing on modern economies and global capital, and points out clearly that all meddling and manipulation of large economies produce nothing but random results, nobody understands modern markets, or even command economies in State Capitalist (Communist) systems.

The most advanced studies of economic forces involve topological equations and the sort of mathematics commonly referred to as “Chaos Theory”, which is the study of models produced by differential equations, which generate great overviews, but are totally worthless for making any predictions (hence the name).

I could go on and on, but I already have.

I am finding all the predictions interesting , nevertheless. Confidence and optimism are powerful factors, so having Hopey at the helm is a stroke of luck.

That view seems to have been internalized by the entire party, and it’s the exact opposite of reality.


The only thing I’d quibble with is your assessment of what happened to McPOW. He wasn’t bullied, he’s just another cool kid who talks tough until something happens that raises the dread spectre of unpopularity. Keep in mind this is the same guy who was given the full Rove treatment when he ran against the shrub. And do we need to go into his response to the PUMAs, again?

Any way, I guess that was a long way of saying they deserve each other.

It’s not out of the question that we could see 25% unemployment and/or hyperinflation and a total stock market crash in the next two years, in which case all bets may be off on everything, and certainly not a time to ignore already entrenched fascists.

I wish I could dismiss that as alarmist talk. I can’t.

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