Posted by: John Linkous | March 1, 2009

El Rushbo Sounds Like Il Duce

Everyone’s favorite journalist… er, that’s right, he’s a self-proclaimed “entertainer”, no doubt to distance himself from those pesky rules of journalistic integrity — Rush Limbaugh took advantage of what he does best, and ranted a broad range of overgeneralizations, ergo propter hoc and false-choice fallacies, and a complete hand-washing of the previous Republican administration.

His interest, on the surface, appears to be to galvanize “conservatives”; but who are they, exactly?  Fiscal conservatives?  Well, that’s certainly me, and yet I am horrified by the wanton spending of the last eight years of a supposedly conservative administration.  Nope, he’s definitely barking up the wrong tree to us.  Social conservatives?  Well, maybe… but here, Rush always draws a fine line; he never seems to openly endorse specific Dobson-esque hard-line socially conservative issues, but always seems happy to accept social conservatives into the fold of those to whom he pontificates.  No, he’s not really going directly after them, either.

No, it’s clear that Rush is trying to galvanize one of the most favored agendas of the past 25 years: neoconservatism.  Whether you supported his policies or not, Ronald Reagan, the heart of the neocon movement, was clearly brilliant in his ability to combine economic laissez faire, an implied (but rarely direct) embrace of social conservatism, and red-white-and-blue patriotism into a single ideological package.  The unusual blend of philosophies cut huge swaths of support across the American landscape, and it was this kind of neocon philosophy that allowed lower-middle-class, high-school educated assembly line workers (who appreciated the patriotism and familiar Christian-themed policies of neoconservatism) and captains of business and industry (who appreciated the low-tax, anti-regulatory stance, and massive spending on defense) to stand arm-in-arm (politically, if not literally) with each other in solidarity, even as the latter group brutally abused the former.  Make no mistake, it is this Irving Kristol-inspired neocon philosophy that Rush is trying to resurrect, despite its abject failure both socially and fiscally over the past 30 years.

Of course, what Rush fails to realize is that there millions of centrist Americans – atheists, agnostics, and believers; Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians; pro-life and pro-choice – who also hold our Constitution dear, and are rational enough in their thought processes to understand that fiscal policy, social agenda, and patriotism are separate and independent concepts, and that one can be (using myself as an example) fiscally conservative, extremely socially liberal, and still deeply love our country.  It is this group of people that are smart enough to realize that tyranny in any form — including Rush’s false-alternative “us against them” mentality and implications of armed, conservative insurrection – will be rejected when push comes to shove.  Unlike Mussolini, Rush should do well to realize that his rhetoric probably doesn’t enthrall as much of the populace as he might think.  Moreover, I’m not sure he realizes that many of us (regardless of the fact that we don’t ascribe to his neocon agenda) are just as armed to the teeth as the throng he’s trying to whip into a frenzy.

Rush clearly has a large base of listeners — but it’s hard to gauge how far they’re willing to follow him as his words continue sliding toward calls for outright insurrection.  In a time of drastic economic downturn and political turmoil, El Rushbo should do well to remember that it’s easier to wind up hanging from a meathook than he might think.



  1. Hey I love this blog. I can see the time and effort put into this.. Thanks!

  2. “We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be.”
    Old story.

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