Posts Tagged ‘Rush Limbaugh’
Rubin: “The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers—-Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored”
[…] “Following John McCain’s victory in Florida last week the chorus of McCain-hatred grew louder on talk radio shows and on many conservative blogs,” writes Jennifer Rubin in a New York Observer article titled Voters Reject Romney … and Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson
Rush Limbaugh declared that McCain was not conservative and unacceptable as a candidate. Formerly respectable conservative figures took delight in criticizing McCain’s war record—yes, his war record—by tallying up the number of planes he had lost in combat. Ann Coulter and James Dobson, a social conservative leader and head of the Focus on the Family organization, declared McCain so indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, the featured villainess in any conservative drama, that they would vote for her or stay home.
In short the McCain villifiers doubled down on their bet that they could derail McCain and lift their favored alternative, Mitt Romney, to victory.
Then the voters had their say. McCain racked up victories from California to New York to Missouri. Romney was pretty much relegated to Utah and Massachusetts, two more home states to go along with his Michigan win. Mike Huckabee, also the object of talk show and blogger derision (for, among other grave offenses, raising taxes to build schools and allowing children of illegal immigrants access to college scholarships) had a fine night, taking a batch of southern states.
The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers. Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored.
They did their best to boost Romney, who had striven mightily to endear himself to this crowd, but the voters shrugged and rejected him overwhelmingly. Had Romney not changed residences so often he might have been shut out of the primaries entirely […]
[…] [Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al] might threaten to withhold support for McCain, but does it even matter at this point? Will voters listen to that marching order when they did not follow previous voting advice?
McCain cannot, in what will likely be a close election, entirely ignore the possibility. But something has clearly changed. The façade of influence, the illusion of electoral importance that these conservative pundits previously held, is gone. They can raise issues, jam the White House switchboard and scare timid politicians. When the chips are down, though, they cannot determine elections. Voters, who base their decisions more on common sense than extreme ideology, get to do that […]
We concur. Well, for those most part. But, sadly, there is evidence to suggest that the radio talkers and conservative celebrities were beginning to affect attitudes about Sen. McCain. Here be evidence for our claim, as provided by the estimable John Dickerson in a slate.com article titled McCain Not Stopped; But Romney is not seen as a true conservative:
[…] Exit polls nevertheless show that McCain’s problems with conservatives run deep. He lost among conservatives in almost every state except Connecticut and New Jersey, where he split them evenly with Romney. McCain also lost conservatives even in the states he won. Conservatives went for Romney in New York and Illinois. “Hard to do well with conservatives when everyone with a microphone is beating hell out of us,” says a top McCain aide. While the conservative voices weren’t enough to stop McCain, or to elect their guy, tonight they were enough to bruise him […]
Now with Romney promising to hold out and fight until the convention, and even attempt to turn around promised but not-officially-bound delegates, we can expect the voices of Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al to grow louder, more dire, and more shrill. See:
“In the wide-open Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney boasts an influential fan who has the ear of millions of voters,” writes Michael Levenson in a Boston Globe article titled Limbaugh talking up Romney
Rush Limbaugh, the cigar-chomping conservative stalwart, has been on a tear over the last few weeks, talking up Romney and taking whacks at John McCain and Mike Huckabee. And in a race where no candidate has been able to unify the base of the Republican Party, Limbaugh’s chatter matters. With 13.5 million listeners on 600 stations, the nation’s most highly rated talk-radio host could give Romney a big boost.
“Of course it helps,” said Stuart Stevens, a media adviser for Romney. “He’s like the NPR for conservatives.”
Limbaugh, who makes a point of saying he does not officially endorse in the primaries, has nonetheless praised Romney effusively, repeated Romney’s policy talking points, defended him against attacks from fellow conservatives, and after Romney’s win in Michigan this week, declared him the front-runner.
Just as tellingly, Limbaugh has been crusading against Huckabee and McCain, whom he does not consider real conservatives or suitable heirs to the Reagan legacy.
If either wins the nomination, “it’s going to destroy the Republican Party,” he told listeners Tuesday […]
[…] Limbaugh also derides the independents and moderates supporting McCain and Huckabee as “quivering masses of Jell-Os” and not real Republican conservatives […]
Here is the problem for Limbaugh and the National Review. Post-Michigan the hapless candidate has shed his allegedly new-found conservatism like a reptile sloughs its hide, as anyone with any sense could have predicted—as anyone with any sense did predict.
Romney himself is paying a heavy price for his viciously negative campaigning—question: will Limbaugh pay a share of the invoice since he now carries water for the Romney family?
Reston of race42008.com earlier predicted that National Review and others will pay a price:
Reston’s prediction for 2008: “Romney’s nomination results in the GOP losing six-senate seats instead of three (Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, and New Hampshire) and a push in the House where at least modest gains were expected”
Here is what is most perverse, at least for us. Romney has already walked away from his botched, misshaped, caricatured, unreconstructed “conservatism” that idiots like the editors at the National Review and media voices like Rush Limbaugh insist upon:
- That didn’t take long!—Romney drops all pretense of any commitment to conservative values or principles—now argues that “it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling” etc.
- equity sector multi-millionaire Romney now champions the dignity of human labor, completely abandons arch-conservative line for latest version of Romney, Romney the progressive-populist
- Formerly conservative, now populist-progressive Citizen Romney promises to “save the Southern Economy”—Romney’s program of economic nationalism develops apace—and this guy was endorsed by the boneheads of the National Review?
P.S. Rush Limbaugh’s carrier, Clear Channel Communications, was recently acquired by Romney’s Bain Capital. Coincidence?
[…] Brooks: “The leaders of the Republican coalition know Romney will lose. But some would rather remain in control of a party that loses than lose control of a party that wins. Others haven’t yet suffered the agony of defeat, and so are not yet emotionally ready for the trauma of transformation. Others still simply don’t know which way to turn.” That seems about right. In the progressive blogosphere, this idea circulates under the heading “iron law of institutions” which posits that institutional leaders care more about their own power within the institution than about the institution’s power in the world.
It strikes me as a largely accurate characterization of the choice […]
We followed the elegant Mr. Yglesias’ google link and found the left-of-center blog, A Tiny Revolution. In post titled Democrats And The Iron Law of Institutions, someone—we could not find an author’s name, but neither did we look very hard—elaborates on the theme of The Iron Law of Institutions:
[…] The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.
This is true for all human institutions, from elementary schools up to the United States of America. If history shows anything, it’s that this cannot be changed. What can be done, sometimes, is to force the people running institutions to align their own interests with those of the institution itself and its members […]
The author provides this example from an author named Walter Karp:
[…] As soon as McGovern was nominated, party leaders began systematically slurring and belittling him, while the trade union chieftains refused to endorse him on the pretense that this mild Mr. Pliant was a being wild and dangerous. A congressional investigation of Watergate was put off for several months to deprive McGovern’s candidacy of its benefits. As an indiscreet Chicago ward heeler predicted in the fall of 1972, McGovern is “gonna lose because we’re gonna make sure he’s gonna lose”…So deftly did party leaders “cut the top of the ticket” that while Richard Nixon won in a “landslide,” the Democrats gained two Senate seats […]
But it was this example that, for us, connects with the present moment:
[…] It was a Republican state party boss, Senator Boies Penrose of Pennsylvania, who early this century stated with notable candor the basic principle and purpose of present-day party politics. In the face of a powerful state and national resurgence of reform and the sentiments of the majority of the Republican rank and file, Penrose put up a losing slate of stand-pat party hacks. When a fellow Republican accused him of ruining the party, Penrose replied, “Yes, but I’ll preside over the ruins” […]
The emphasis is ours, all ours.
The lame-brained editors at the National Review, Rush Limbaugh, ideological courtesan Hugh Hewitt, Dr. James Dobson—Yes, they know Romney will ruin the party, and probably the country, but they’ll preside over the ruins. Yes, only no, because precisely the opposite is the case: Romney, who bought and paid for their services, presides over them.
If Romney continues his disastrous losing streak, he will take them all down with him.
“What a nice guy!” writes Joe Klein in a Time.com expository burst titled A Tale of Two Romney’s
Mitt Romney is all humble and reasonable, a human goose-down comforter lulling the Iowans who have come to hear him at a classic heartland café in downtown Newton on a Saturday morning. “I don’t think anybody votes for yesterday,” he says, streaming balm …
… On second thought, nope. This guy is, literally, unbelievable and completely at odds with the Romney festering on television screens and in mailings throughout Iowa and New Hampshire. That Romney is nonstop negative, and jingo-crazed about the perils of illegal immigration. He offers exclamations, not balm: John McCain wants to make ’em citizens! Mike Huckabee gave them college scholarships! And McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts! And Huckabee pardoned all these criminals when he was Governor of Arkansas, while Romney pardoned not a single one of his Massachusetts felons!
Klien develops a new take on the TWO ROMNEYS trope that gets retailed every fortnight or so. Here would be another:
Luo: “Ever since Mr. Romney began his presidential bid, his campaign has oscillated between two distinct, some would say contradictory, themes—Mr. Romney as a conservative standard-bearer and him as a pragmatic problem-solving businessman”
Here would be another:
Brooks of the NYT: “But [Romney’s] biggest problem is a failure of imagination—Market research is a snapshot of the past—With his data-set mentality, Romney has chosen to model himself on [And the painfully literal rubes of the National Review have chosen to endorse] a version of Republicanism that is receding into memory—As Walter Mondale was the last gasp of the fading New Deal coalition, Romney has turned himself into the last gasp of the Reagan coalition”
Back to Klein:
All these claims are accurate, or nearly so, and well within the smarmy bounds of political advertising. The problem is schizophrenia: negative Romney on television, positive Romney on the stump. Moderate Massachusetts Mitt vs. Raging Romney of the primaries. “Pay attention to both,” New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor wrote in an extraordinary editorial, “and you’re left to wonder if there’s anything at all at his core.”
There are limits in politics. You can get away with changing a position—perhaps Romney really did see the light on abortion, not just the results of an Iowa focus group—but you can’t just reinvent yourself out of whole cloth. You can go negative on your opponents, but it’s a stretch to attack them for taking the same positions—on immigration, most notably—that you used to take, especially when you keep getting caught having illegals tend your garden. The sheer cynicism is driving Romney’s Republican opponents nuts. He is wildly unpopular among his peers. “I just hate the guy,” says a rival campaign manager. “If we can’t win, I want to be sure he loses” … etc.
We sure do too. The emphases, by the way, are ours, all ours.
Here is the problem for us: Romney is an apparition—he doesn’t really exist as a political entity. He has no natural constituency (who does he represent, what community does he claim as his own, super-rich leveraged buy-out specialists?), and no territorial base (he cannot deliver his home state!—he could not run in his home state in his current incarnation and survive; imagine how this troubled man will fare in the south after he savaged Gov. Huckabee). Romney is not simply running from his record of policy and governance, he is running against his record, passionately against it!
Our conclusion: The man has nothing, nothing that would recommend him to our highest office.
Yet the goofballs at the National Review endorsed this human work of farcical high fiction to be our president. Dr. Dobson praises him, Rush Limbaugh extolls his questionable virtues, and ideological courtesan Hugh Hewitt writes book-length love-peans to the non-entity candidate from nowhere.
Suddenly—overnight, perhaps while we were sleeping peacefully—the conservative worldview came to mean its precise opposite—it suddenly came to mean a naive faith in human and political agency to not only improve and perfect, but to recreate the human condition, starting with the person and character of Willard Milton Romney. In him consists the solution to our most pressing social problems: it is accept that truth is a socially negotiated artifact, and that we may construct our own realities if we would just believe—that is, believe in Romney.
Also: Why is everyone only now waking up to the grim fact that Romney is an ugly, vicious, hateful cipher of a man, despite his primped and proper exterior? We have harped on this finely-tuned string for months now …
“After today, Rush Limbaugh is in reruns until January 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses,” writes sniveling, belly-crawling Romney sycophant Jim Geraghty for the formerly conservative NRO and proud Blog for Mitt in a Campaign Spot post titled The Rush Fallout for Huckabee: Fatal, or Missing the Target?
… Can a guy who’s been slammed as hard as Mike Huckabee has by Rush Limbaugh, the most popular conservative radio talk show host in the country, go on to win the Iowa caucuses? Anybody think Rush will have dropped this issue by the third of January?
My instinct is to say, “no way, a thumbs down from Rush is fatal,” but a guy on another campaign cautions me. “An Iowa pastor who has been talking up Huckabee isn’t going to change his mind because Rush Limbaugh doesn’t like him.” He points out that a pastors and religous leaders deal with people who fall short of their ideals all the time; hearing that Mike Huckabee was too merciful in dealing with Wayne Dumond is not going to be a dealbreaker for them. They’ll probably go, no pun intended, “there but for the grace of God go I” …
I hate to burst Boy Geraghty’s troubled bubble but Rush Limbaugh—a voice carried by Clear Channel, recently acquired by Romney’s own Bain Capital—is not the only voice on their airwaves of Iowa.
… “We’ve been holding this post for a couple days while we got our thoughts in order on it,” writes CC in a Caucus Cooler post titled WHO vs. Mitt Romney—What it means
One of the biggest buzz items around Iowa the past few days has been Jan Mickelson absolutely eviscerating Mitt Romney on the radio for the past 2 days. We’ve received more emails about this than every other issue combined. On top of that, Steve Deace has made obliterating Romney (and Rudy and McCain) his personal mission for the past umpteen weeks. In this post we’ll discuss what does this mean as it relates to the Iowa caucuses? In the next one, we’ll look at whether or not it is fair.
The fact is this hurts Mitt in a major way. Jan Mickelson has the biggest microphone in the state. His show can be heard in most of Iowa’s 99 counties and the listeners in large part are the same people who attend the caucuses. So 2 weeks from caucus night for him to use that platform to take on Romney has major implications. Unlike Deace (who is a Huckabeeite), Mickelson hasn’t endorsed a Romney opponent. At times he’s been critical of all the major contenders for the nomination. That is about the only positive spin Camp Romney can put on this situation. Looking back at 2006, you can see the damage Steve Deace did in splintering the GOP base, with his attacks on Jim Nussle. Mickelsons audience is exponentially larger than Deace’s, so you cannot understate the impact it will have on the Romney campaign … etc.
Our prediction—base on no other data than our reading of trends in the various reportage—Romney loses both Iowa and New Hampshire.
The market correction that we predicted is hot upon us. Besides: Romney, as we predicted, has been forced to go heatedly negative in 2 states on 2 fronts. Romney’s icy-cold personality and ultra-high negatives will not support a single negative message campaign, let alone 2. Note how both Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee delight in Romney’s baleful attentions and laugh off his every angry shriek and misleading screed.
Context: A “friend of Mitt” suffers the online version of a brain aneurysm that causes him to behave in a manner he affects to condenm in a cry-for-help of a post titled Hey, Jim Geraghty, how about some context?
… I’m sick and tired—complains the exasperated “friend of Mitt”—of people who make charges and don’t give any details. Jim says “Neither man has a perfect record” but he gives no examples of why they weren’t perfect. I understand that no one is perfect, but Jim makes it sound like he has a specific complaint, but he keeps that to his smug self, and lets us guess, or just assume that he has actual examples of their shortcomings. So, according to Jim, who has a perfect record? Romney balanced a 3 billion dollar deficit without raising taxes. What more does Jim want? … more
The dialog develops along these lines:
Geraghty responds: “I’m going to ignore the typically charming comments about my disappointing intellectual rigor, the suggestion that candidates declare Reagan was perfect, my smugness, etc. I’ll just note that with persuasive friends like this, Mitt Romney could use a few more enemies,” responds the flustered and flummoxed Geraghty, who then issues a point-for-point rejoinder in the form of a clarification and statement of facts titled So What Did Romney Mean When He Said, “I Was an Independent During Reagan-Bush”?
(Question: why do so many questions about Romney and his campaign reduce to “So what did Romney really mean … ?—conclusion: Romney has a serious communication problem among his other image issues.)
In response to Geraghty’s response, the so-called “Friend of Mitt” gibbers, pants, barks, and spits: “Jim is not engaging in a debate of ideas. He is trying to avoid the issues by talking about us vs. them. I stick by the logical soundness of everything I said in my post. Jim did not respond to a single point I made. Fine. Points don’t matter if you don’t have your facts right. But I have all my facts correct now, and I re-assert every single one of my arguments,” writes the Friend-of-Mitt in a horrendously tedious, digressive, whining, defensive, often fallacious, nit-picking, and convoluted rejoinder titled According to Jim Geraghty … and redolent of a USENET flame riposte or instance of Fisking.
What was it that Henry Kissinger once said of the Iran-Iraq war?—It’s a shame they can’t both lose, in this case Geraghty and the “Friend of Mitt.” But this much we appreciate: Geraghty did not roll over this time. This gave the Romney flak the opportunity to demonstrate in prose the campaign’s true character and intentions. Consider: “Jim is not engaging in a debate of ideas. He is trying to avoid the issues by talking about us vs them”—huh!?—this attempt to reframe the question of the propositional content of Romeny’s own claim into a “debate of ideas” is as sad as it is transparent. But what really provokes laughter is how this “friend of Mitt” draws his gassy screed to a close:
- I stick by the LOGICAL SOUNDNESS of everything I said in my post
- Jim did not respond to a single POINT I made
- Fine. POINTS don’t matter if you don’t have your FACTS right (Comment: say what?)
- But I have all my FACTS correct now, and I re-assert every single one of my ARGUMENTS”
<translation> What I wrote is logically sound. Jim did not respond to any of my points. Fine, because points don’t matter if you have your facts right. Only the my facts weren’t right, as I admit when I concede that Kennedy was talking about policy, not deficits, so by my own admission
- my points mattered
- they were logically unsound
But I have all my facts correct now—well, yes, um, thanks to Geraghty, who apparently was able to correct my point without responding to a single one of my, um, points. Anyway, I am now in a position to reassert every one of my arguments, which does not follow from the conclusions that I wish to draw from the relations that obtain between facts and points because as far as I am concerned this is a “debate” and my goal, apparently, is to score points. Got it? </translation>
Does this sound incoherent to you? It sure does to us.
Also: who does the the Romney flak think is his audience? Does he or she really believe that it is wise to so bitterly and resolutely attack someone whose very profession—whose job, whose task, whose purpose in life—it is to write about politics, particularly center-right politics, when it is a primary goal of your ill-fated candidate to affect the pose of a center-right candidate after many years of describing himself as a social progressive?
What a moron!
Dear Romney people: You can whine about the “press” or the “bias” of the “media” in exceedingly general terms even as you maintain good relations with media elites etc. Republicans do this all the time, especially the weaker candidates. This will make you appear a little like a loser, and criticizing the media is a fairly reliable index of the ill-health of a campaign, but it is generally not fatal in itself.
But you never want to attack anyone in the media by name or institution. Never. Never. Never We repeat: You never attack anyone in the media. You may offer to help them get their facts straight even as you praise them for their meticulous attention to detail, or ask them to help you correct a oversight even as you acknowledge their tireless devotion to the development of an informed electorate, but you never, ever, attack them. Does anyone remember when President Clinton attacked radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh? Or Vice President Quayle criticized a television character named Murphy Brown? Only at least President Clinton and Vice President Quayle had the good sense to attack political-ideological opponents. This so-called “friend of Mitt” has turned about to charge his own flank, his own right flank, a flank the Romneys have left perilously exposed despite all their great noise about how suddenly “conservative” they are.
Who in the Romney campaign approved this so-called “friend of Mitt’s” cry-for-help getting posted on an official campaign website?—it hardly matters. The problem reaches beyond any one particular non-professional. So: Please, Romney people, consider firing your entire communications staff—right down to the last unpaid interns or fetchers-of-warm-coffee-beverages—and hiring all new ones, immediately.
Conclusion: The Romneys are not nice people. Their lack-wit supporters are not nice people. And: They do not tolerate dissent. And as Geraghty has learned, no amount of sucking-up can insulate you from their rage.
“Mitt Romney becomes the second GOP Presidential candidate to denounce Rush Limbaugh with this statement sent to the Huffington Post by Romney spokesman Kevin Madden,” writes Greg Sargent in a TPM ElectionCentral post titled Romney Becomes Second GOP Prez Candidate To Blast Rush
Romney?—is this is the same misguided candidate who compared the comfortable lives of his privileged sons to soldiers on the field of battle? See:
- latest Romney outrage: claims sons show support for their country by “helping me get elected”
- watch a hapless Romney get spanked by Deputy Sheriff Mark Riss over Romney’s claim that his sons were serving thier country by serving Romney—as opposed to say, wearing a uniform and carrying a rifle
About the effectiveness of Romney’s frequent bursts of void-of-moral-courage rage, please see:
- the reviews are in: Romney’s “grandstanding” about Ahmadinejad ineffective, counterproductive
- Romney’s inflection point—the strange rhetoric of a troubled campaign
- Romney the scold of the GOP (ii); Continetti: Romney hates fake people
Also please reflect upon what Romney’s judgments and opinions—frequently offered—say about Romney: