Wednesday, March 04, 2009

David Frum's turn to take on Limbaugh

The GOP Jesse Jackson?

Frum get's it right,
Here’s the duel that Obama and Limbaugh are jointly arranging:

On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence – exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word – we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.

Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.

But do the rest of us understand what we are doing to ourselves by accepting this leadership? Rush is to the Republicanism of the 2000s what Jesse Jackson was to the Democratic party in the 1980s.
Frum see's Rush as an important part of the GOP coalition, but someone who cannot be the public face of the party.

Too late David.

What I'm most astounded by is what tremendously bad politics this is for the GOP.

Rush Limbaugh is not a popular figure with the American public (his popularity hangs at about 25% making him less popular than Jeremiah Wright) and those who do worship him are dying at an alarming rate. It's obvious what's in this for Rush -- he's getting even more rich -- but what's in this for the GOP? Nothing that I can see. When the GOP runs Washington Rush becomes irrelevant. With the GOP on the outs, Rush cashes in. Rush's base would sooner die than vote for a Democrat, much less a black Democrat. And those voters the GOP does need to win over are more and more alienated everytime Rush wins one of these very public squabbles.

In other words, Rush is laughing all the way to the bank and the GOP continues to shot itself every night on the news.

And in case you were wondering, the Frum lynch mob has already started forming. Frum's been on double-secret probation for some time, and it's likely he will soon have to move to Paris.

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